In your early 20s, you've got the highest levels of testosterone pulsing through your veins. That means you've probably got a higher sex drive and are having more sex.
But, how much sex you have also depends on so many different factors like your relationship status, your age, your health and how stressed you are.
A study conducted in 2019 showed that married couples have more frequent sex than single people and other research has shown that the frequency of sex decreases with age . But, there is no 'normal' amount of sex you should be having — it really depends on the individual person or the relationship you're in.
In case you're wondering where you fit into the equation, we're doing a deep dive into all things average sex life, breaking it down by age, why people, in general, are having less sex on average and what to do if you want to improve your sex life.
How often do couples have sex?
There isn't really a right answer for how much sex people should be having. There are a lot of factors that go into sexual frequency and sexual intimacy. But, a 2017 study conducted with 26,000 people from 1989 to 2014 found that the average amount of sex was 54 times per year which is about once a week .
Another study conducted found that 31% of couples have sex a few times per week, 28% of couples have sex a few times per month and 8% of couples have sex once per month. 33% of couples either never have sex or rarely have sex .
So, there's a huge spectrum of responses to this question (and no single clear answer either).
Breaking down the frequency of sex by age
It can be interesting to dive into how much sex people are having based on their life stage and age.
The average amount of sex people have in part depends on age group. Data from the Kinsey Institute research team found that American adults in the 18-29 age group have sex 112 times per year. In the 30-39 age group, couples have sex about 86 times per year and over 28% of 45-year-olds have sex once per week .
For men, testosterone levels are highest in their 20s so your sex drive is the highest. Over time, testosterone levels drop and this can lower your sexual desire and therefore impact your sexual frequency .
In your 30s, testosterone levels drop by about 10%, which can lower your libido and your sex drive tends to drop 1% per year until your 40s .
On the flip side, for women in their 30s, their sex drive reaches its peak, which can cause issues in a couple's sex life . On top of that, men in their 40s tend to start reporting issues with erectile dysfunction.
For men in their 50s, 60s and 70s, sexual activity drops a lot more because of a bunch of changes happening to their bodies where men experience poorer quality erections, reduced ejaculate volume and lowered sexual functioning in general .
But while these stats can be a handy benchmark, there's no hard and fast rule to how much sex you should have.
Why are people having less sex?
There are so many different factors as to why people are having less frequent sex from age to sexual dysfunction, relationship problems and more.
Research shows that people are overall having less sex amongst every age. All forms of sexual activity have decreased from 2009 to 2018. Young people reporting no sexual activity increased to 44.2% from 28.8% for young men and 49.5% from 74% for young women .
Sexual frequency and activity involve lots of physical and mental processes and sometimes life stressors and other factors can get in the way of sexual intimacy. Some common reasons why people have less sex include:
- Life stress or relationship stressors
- Mental health issues like anxiety and depression
- Being busy with work, kids and other personal and professional commitments
- Personal health issues or your partner's health
- Lack of communication between you and your partner
- Sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
The key is to do what feels right for you and understand what factors might be at play and preventing you from reaching a certain level of sexual frequency.
Should you be planning sex?
Sometimes your lifestyle can get in the way of sexual frequency and there seems to be no time to have sex with your sexual partner.
Research shows that the more sex couples have, the happier they are. A 2015 study found that happiness and well-being among couples are positive when they have sex once a week .
We aren't telling you to have sex daily. But, based on research, having sex once a week can be great for your overall well-being. Sometimes, you've got to plan your sexual intimacy which can take the pressure off you and your partner about whether you're having enough sex.
In order to schedule sex, you've got to have a clear line of communication with your partner and come to a mutual understanding of how much sex you want to have.
Spontaneous sex can be a lot of fun. But if you're looking to increase your sexual satisfaction, there's no harm in being proactive about it either.
What should you do if you're not happy with how often you have sex?
Many couples and married couples start off having more sex at the start of their relationship.
But, after a while, sex frequency drops off because life gets in the way. If you and your partner are both unhappy with how much sex you're having, here are some options to consider.
Talk about it with your partner
If you're unhappy with your current sex life, the best thing you can do is talk about it with your partner. Once you've got a clear line of communication and you're on the same page you can try scheduling sex and other things that you're both comfortable with.
Get to the root cause
If you've got a lowered sex drive or you're not as sexually active as you'd like to be, understanding why you're not having as much sex as you'd like can help fix the issue.
Sometimes, it could be life stressors, mental health issues, certain medications or maybe you're suffering from erectile dysfunction and you're a little embarrassed to talk about it.
If erectile dysfunction is responsible for your lowered sexual frequency, medication is one of the best treatments, using the enzyme responsible for the contraction of blood vessels to the penis. This can help improve blood flow and maintain an erection throughout sexual activity.
Pilot's erectile dysfunction treatment offers both on-demand and daily prescription medications for whatever your needs are when you need to treat erectile dysfunction. With treatment, 78% of men achieve long-lasting erections.
Pilot's premature ejaculation treatment is great for those suffering from premature ejaculation, giving you the option of using medication to target the issue, which sees a 74% improvement in patients.
If you prefer a different route, Pilot also offers treatment via a 4-week training program and control device developed by sexual health experts, improving premature ejaculation for 65% of patients .
We know it can be embarrassing to seek treatment for sexual function, which is why Pilot offers online consultations with an Aussie practitioner to take the judgement out of seeking treatment. Plus, we offer discreet shipping making it less stressful to reach out and get help.
See a sex therapist
If you've tried communication with your partner but nothing seems to work, it might be worth seeing a sex therapist.
Sex therapy is a form of counselling focused on sexual issues and many couples see sex therapists to increase and improve their sex life and sexual satisfaction as well as work through relationship issues.
Ultimately, there is no right answer for how much sex you should have. It really all depends on your own subjective experience of your sexual activity and whether or not you and your partner want to be having more sex.
If you do want to be more sexually active, getting to the root cause of your sex life and communicating openly can make a massive difference and make sure you're both on the same page.
Image credit: Getty images