Sex is an extremely intimate experience, and yet there is often this pressure — from the media, from the experiences of our friends, from ourselves — to have a specific type of sex life. It’s difficult to know whether our experiences are singular, and that can lead to feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and depression.
Here at The Everygirl, we are committed to creating a safe space for women to share, because it can be not only therapeutic to address our own situations, but also so comforting to know that other women’s lives are not “perfect” and that we are all working through our circumstances. The same applies to sex — there is no one way to have sex, no magic number of times you should be having sex with your partner, no specific way sex has to look or work for you. We asked you — our readers — to share how sex impacts your relationship, how it may be working for you, and the issues you may be dealing with when it comes to sex with your partner. Thank you so much for sharing a slice of your lives with us.
On feeling pressure to have a certain type of sex life
We have sex on average once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. If we haven’t had sex all week, we both usually notice, and one of us will make a joke that we need to knock the dust off 😜 .
I feel guilty that we don’t have sex “enough” — like we should be more passionate about sex like we used to be. It’s not that I feel apathetic about him or our sex life (it’s good sex), but we both have busy, stressful corporate jobs. We’re just tired sometimes. We don’t have kids yet, which makes me feel even more guilty and worry that when we have kids we won’t have sex ever again. We talk about wanting to have sex more, but we fall back into our comfortable ways. I’m pretty sure we’re both content with the amount of sex we have, but we feel pressured that we should be having more.
—29, Married for 6 Months, Together for 7.5 Years
The vast majority of the time, we have sex once a week… sometimes even less. And to be honest, besides me battling thoughts of guilt and “whats wrong with my libido” scenarios in my head, our relationship is fine. We are very touchy feel-y, make lots of sex jokes… we just don’t actually do the deed that often. I assume it works in our relationship because we’re both on the same page. I don’t have much of a libido and he is older and works long hours at a hard manual job, leading him to be quite literally “too tired” more often than not.
However, that is not to say that I don’t struggle with guilt on a regular basis — as a healthy, active young female who is very attracted to my partner, I struggle to understand why I often just don’t feel like sex even if all signs and signals are a GO.
— 23, Together for 3 Years
After that honeymoon phase wore off for my husband and me, reality hit, grad school started back up, and I sank into anxious habits. A side effect of that anxiety that I wasn’t used to dealing with previously was a seriously low sex drive. For a long time, I denied it, but I knew the truth at the back of my mind. Sex was still so new to us that I was embarrassed to admit it to my husband. I recoiled when he touched my side, I dreaded when he would come over to cuddle with me because I knew where it would lead, and I didn’t understand why. However, once we started to have sex, I really enjoyed it. I felt guilt and shame because I thought I was the only woman to not want to have sex. I was a newlywed and felt like I wasn’t fulfilling this necessary role as a wife.
My anxiety turned into a season of depression and none of this changed. We were probably having sex once a week. Sometimes not at all during a week. I finally admitted this to my husband, but it remained a really sensitive subject for both of us.
My therapist has helped me work through this depression and introduced me to the concept of receptive desire. Sometimes people are not eager to initiate sex, but once their partner has triggered their desire, they begin to enjoy it, but that may not be until one minute, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes in. It was so helpful for me to discuss this with my husband. I found so much freedom in knowing that I am not alone.
— 24, Married 1.5 Years
On making sex work for you
My fiance is a mechanic and I’m a teacher, so our days (like most working humans) are full and exhausting. We commit to having sex 2-3 times a week no matter what our schedules look like. Sex is a way for us to connect and deepen our intimacy. Sometimes, we’ll decide the morning before we leave for work that we’re going to have sex that night. It sounds lame to “schedule” it, but it also gives us something to look forward to.
—32, Together for 2 Years
Our goal is to have sex every night, but depending on how late we stayed out or how tired we are, that varies. Realistically, we probably have sex 4-5 times a week!
Sex definitely impacts our relationship in a positive way. We weren’t having sex until we got married, so it introduced a whole new element to our relationship. I think if we’ve gone more than two days without sex, we start to feel the negative effects of it, not feeling as connected or feeling more easily agitated.
Initially, we were having sex without any products/toys apart from a little lube, which was great, but it was also really difficult for me to climax and would take a really long time to the point that I was super self-conscious and frustrated. Then about two months into our marriage, I decided to get a vibrator to use as external stimulation while we had sex, and it completely changed our sex life! Now we both are able to finish around the same time and neither of us feels like we’re underperforming.
— 25, Married for 6 Months, Together for 2
We have sex almost every day, often multiple times a day. Longest in between is maybe two days. I have a higher sex drive than my partner, but he doesn’t mind accommodating it. Being fun and playful about it and sneaking up when he doesn’t expect it keeps our relationship passionate.
— 24, Together for 1 Year
On getting through a rough patch
We have sex between 2-3 times a week depending on how busy we are. The past two years, we had a very rough patch in our relationship, but we never wanted to quit fighting to get the relationship back on track — which, thankfully, it is now. Sex is a big check-in moment for us emotionally and definitely has been a big part of getting us more connected and back in a good place in our relationship. We both value that time together for different reasons because our love languages are different, but can both agree it is almost an instant relationship boost for us.
— 28, Married for 5 Years, Together for 14
Our sex life started rocky. We both had some pretty bad sexual experiences in previous relationships, and that left us with a lot of baggage to sort through. We both felt like sex was supposed to be something we had all the time and it was supposed to be perfect, and yet, even three years into our relationship, we were good at physically doing it, but the emotion just wasn’t there. We have been in love since day one, and still, it was so awkward for us to be intimate.
We decided to set a new standard that our relationship quality would not be based on the amount of sex we had. Really, we just got adventurous. We pushed boundaries and made sex new again. We were intimate and closer than ever.
So, as far as how much we have sex, it used to be (for way too long) maybe 1-3 times a month. Now though, 2-3 times a week. On a particularly good week (as in our libidos are on the same page) we’re ridiculous fiends, but like everything else in the world, sex has its ups and downs. We all go through seasons of being horny and not being horny. Sometimes you’re in sync and sometimes you’re way off, so don’t stress it!
— 24, Married for 3 Years, Together for 4
On feeling good about your sex life and your sex drive
I’d love to be able to say we always have sex three times a week. But to be honest, it’s super variable. It changes depending on what’s going on in our lives and our jobs. There are days (hello Saturday/Sunday) when we might have sex twice in one day. But there are also times when we go two weeks without having sex. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say at this point in our lives we have sex about once a week.
It feels odd to admit this, but I’m totally okay with this number. Maybe the number will go up as we’re able to work less or hire help around the house, but until then, I’m not in the mood to be sexy when there are dirty dishes in the sink and garbage to be taken out. And that is totally okay!
— 28, Together for 5 Years
My boyfriend and I have sex around 1-3 times a week. We go to college together, so I think this amount works for us because we both have busy schedules during our hectic school week and save the weekends for each other. I think having sex a few times a week allows us to miss each other on the days we aren’t intimate, so it’s just as exciting when we get to have sex again.
— 20, Together for 2 Years
On sex after a major life event
My husband and I have sex about twice a month. Ever since our daughter was born, 18 months ago, my sex drive has been about 0%. When we were first together, I was more of the initiator when it came to sex, but it has slowly swung the other way and some days I feel like another married couple statistic.
It affects our relationship in that he doesn’t feel connected and loved sometimes and we talk about our sex life (or lack thereof) frequently. I express that my lack of desire to have sex is no reflection of my feelings for him, and he respects that. He is a wonderful husband and father and I truly love him more than ever — I just don’t want to have sex with him or anyone (including myself) these days. It’s a constant conversation and something that I wish was different and actively work to change.
— 27, Married for 3 Years
I have endometriosis. I was diagnosed a few years ago, and since then have had two surgeries, been through six different doctors and specialists, a year of pelvic floor physical therapy, a number of ER visits, etc.
It’s a difficult balance to establish a healthy sex life between chronic pain, unexpected bleeding, medication side effects, and hormone imbalances. But my husband has been a saint through it all. We’ve worked hard to be as flexible (literally and figuratively) as possible in order to even have a sex life. But frankly, with endometriosis pushing us to explore things we may not have otherwise explored, it has been, in some cases, a great experience.
Then there is the part of this that I think people just don’t talk about. How do you go from doctor to doctor treating this part of your body as just another day, to feeling sexy about the same part of your body? It’s been an incredible and constant learning experience I’ve endured very privately.
— Married for 1 Year, Together for 4
On the struggle to make sex work with your partner
We have sex once a week, MAYBE twice when I’m lucky. I’m the type that attaches my feelings of self-confidence and esteem to my sexuality, despite not wanting to be that way. My ability to receive love is strongly correlated to feeling physically desired. My husband, even while we were just dating, has always had a lower libido than me. His sense of intimacy is tied more to mental connection. So we struggled through that. And we still struggle through that.
He knows and has acknowledged that he has to pursue me and remind me how physically desirable I am to him, but he can get too tired or lazy to act on it. Our disconnect makes me shy and unwilling to ask for what I need and want.
He’s also less adventurous than I am. My exploratory tendencies are often left by the wayside or unfulfilled because I am too shy to ask and make it seem a burden.
— 30, Together 5 Years
We have sex rarely, like once every 2 weeks TOPS. He is not a very sexual person, I swear he could go years without it (before me, it was a few years since his last relationship). I think it impacts our relationship a lot; I wouldn’t complain if we had sex every other day. It makes me feel almost insecure, like I’m not enough for him or he isn’t attracted to me.
Other than our sex life, everything is amazing. But unfortunately, it’s affecting everything.
— 29, Together 2.5 Years
We have sex about 4-5 times a week. 95% of the time it’s initiated by me. I get quite sensitive sometimes that I have a stronger libido than he does and feels like I’m the only one that initiates it/wants it.
— 27, Together 2 Years