How often should a couple have sex?

I am just wondering how often middle aged married couples have sex? I’ve been married almost 25 years, have 7 kids, I home school and sex is just not the most important thing to me anymore. I am happy with once a week- could actually be fine with every two weeks. I think he would be happy with every day, he atleast would like it 2-3 times per week. This is really a problem !!! Because I am just not interested so frequently and it has nothing to do with a lack of love. The love is just changing for me but not for him. The more he stresses about how “wrong” something must be, the more of a turn off sex becomes. I am so frustrated !!! Last night he woke me up, out of the blue, at midnight, and said, “get up we need to talk about what is wrong in our relationship…why do we not have intimacy anymore”. We just had sex on Sunday and we have had a busy week that included each other, just not in a sexual way.

I really want to discover other facets of our relationship but the only thing he really wants to make enough time for is sex. We could go to the museum, participate in church activities, go for a walk etc… There is so much more in life that is fulfilling than sex. It is just that he does not want to make time for this if there is not time for sex. Time is limited, really limited at this stage in our life several little ones and bigger ones around.

Our marriage was founded on sex. For many years that was the main basis for our relationship. We didn;t have a clue about what a real marriage was when we got married. We have grown up together and in this area we are growing apart. I know there are times that I need to give in to his needs but I feel like there must be some underlying problem with him that he stresses out about this so bad and I am thinking about having him see a therapist. I feel like he establishes his self esteem and worth on sex. I am tired of him leaning on me this way. I cannot hold him up !

So, I really want to hear from a group of people who believe in the sanctity of marriage from a Catholic view. Obviously a priest cannot be an authority on this subject within marriage.

That’s a matter for the couple to answer together, not for one spouse to impose on the other. In a situation where one spouse wants intimacy once every week or two and the other is wanting every day, 2 to 3 times a week seems like a reasonable compromise.

It is a good thing that your husband is talking to you about what his needs are. You can let him know what your needs as far as museum visits, walks, and participation in church activities are too. It’s not like sex takes so long that it leaves no time for anything else. These things are not mutually exclusive.

If you can both learn to give of yourself, to willingly participate in these activities together with an open heart, knowing how much it means to the other, you will understand the deeper meaning of real love, which is sacrificial and other centered.

You might find that even when you are not in the mood, that thinking about your husband will make it more appealing for you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting going and changing gears, but I do think if you make the effort you will realize one day how blessed you are to have a loving physical relationship with your husband.

I don’t know that answer.

As for us, once a week and DH would love it to be 2-3 times per week.

We are late 30s , early 40s.


Men are just physical, that’s how they show love. I think what bothers us as women is that what if something happened, God forbid, like we get sick with a terminal illness and can’t take care of them…will they love us? I’ve asked my DH that before and it does give him some food for thought and I have found that he will try to make effort to be more emotional with me rather than physical.

Just talk to you husband… there’s always room to compromise, but the hardest part is trying not too feel that he is too selfish…believe me, I know that’s hard.

God bless.

My husband and I have been married over 30 years.

Believe it or not, we have actually kept track of how often we have sex. Call us weird, but we’ve done it for years. He used to have a notebook. Now it’s in his PDA. Our “list.” Fun. Try it. Someday I’ll write a novel about it, and it will get picked up and made into a screenplay and I’ll be rich. (Yeah, right.)

When we had small children, we were happy to have sex twice a month. It was a very tiring time in our lives, and neither of us felt much like making love. We wanted to, but we usually fell asleep before we could roll over and kiss each other.

When our children were teenagers, my husband became ill with clinical depression. It took him almost two years for the psychiatrist to find a med that worked. My husband also did two years of cognitive therapy with a psychologist.

These were difficult years for both of us, and since I didn’t know much about depression, I didn’t really help my husband very much. My priority was to stay mentally healthy myself, and to try to make up to our daughters what my husband couldn’t do for them. Needless to say, we didn’t have sex during those two years. He wasn’t interested, and some of the meds totally destroyed his libido or his ability to have an erection. And to be honest, I acted like a shrew. I was mad at my husband for being ill. I thought he should just suck it up and cheer up. No wonder he didn’t want sex with me.

But things got better and better. Now that we are in our 50s and our kids are out of the house, we have sex 2-3 times a week. .

Here is what I have learned in 30 years of marriage. I hope it helps you and others.

Most of the time, women do not feel like having sex. It’s a lot more work for a woman, and it’s messier. To put it bluntly, we drip and we smell like fish afterwards, which means that we usually have to take a shower or at least wash off. It’s not like movie sex, where the heroine jumps right up from the love bed and she and her lover chase the bad guy across town and her tight pants stay perfectly dry! How does that work anyway?!

Also for a woman, the “warmup” time for sex to become pleasurable is longer than for a man, and many women just don’t think it’s worth it. A man can become aroused in ten seconds. (Twenty if he’s over 40!). A woman takes longer. It’s hard work for her to forget about all the distractions, mainly the kids, but also the schedule, her work, the house, her appearance, her dinner, etc. She feels like she is wasting time having sex–she could be DOING something important. All that work just for a silly orgasm–golly, a piece of Dove chocolate is just as pleasurable as an orgasm!

So women tend to say, “No.” Often.

And they shouldn’t do that. What should they do? Read my next post–too many words in this one, and so I had to do two posts!

**Here’s the secret a lot of women need to discover–if they say “yes,” they will discover that they WILL become aroused within a reasonable time and they WILL enjoy the sex and they WILL please their husbands greatly and the marriage WILL be strengthened. **

And it will be better than the Dove chocolate, and the time won’t be wasted.

Women need to get OUT of the BAD HABIT of saying “No” to sex. That’s all it is–a habit.

The women thinks she’s too tired–but if a child gets sick, all of a sudden, the woman is wide awake and stays up all night with her child. What does this say to a husand? His child’s barfing can keep his wife awake, but his caresses put her to sleep? Lovely. That will really pump up a man and make him feel good about himself as a husband. Hey, I’m not as stimluating as barf.

Married men really really REALLY need sex! It’s a major part of who they are as a man. A wife must come to terms with this and accept it, not resist it and deny it. If men don’t get sex at home with their wives, they’ll find it somewhere.

It may just be hankering after a movie star on TV or in a magazine–harmless, for the most part, and decent men through the ages have enjoyed pictures of “pinup girls” and “It” girls. I don’t think Catholic wives should begrudge their husbands a “crush” on a pretty movie star. Laugh with them. Both my husband and I have crushes on movie stars–for me, it’s Robert Patrick, and his picture is all over my refrigerator. (Sigh!) For my husband, it’s Mariette Hartley (he loves the Eddie Z commercials!) and the Little Mermaid. He has Ariels all over his office, and we actually went to see Jodi Benson in person–I thought he was going to jump over the wall to get to her!

Some men turn to porn, because the women in those magazines and videos always say yes and they’re instantly aroused and they don’t demand anything from the man.

Some men, sadly, turn to flirtations and affairs. It starts out innocently–the woman says “hi” to the man, who is feeling lonely and rejected because his wife doesn’t seem interested in him anymore and keeps saying “No” to sex. He says “Hi,” back again. Next comes flirting and then conversation–the woman always seems to have time to talk forever, while at home, his wife is always too busy or pre-occupied with the children or tired. Then there’s a touch, maybe just on the arm or hand. Then a kiss, then eventually full-fledged sex. Meanwhile the wife is often clueless–all she knows is that her husband isn’t demanding sex anymore and she’s glad about it. How sad.

I’m NOT saying that all men who don’t get sex from their wives will have affairs. That’s not true at all. **Christian men especially should practice continence and self-control. ** But it’s so easy to fall into sin. As women, we need to have a realistic and sympathetic understanding of the very real pressure of sexual temptation on our husband, and we need to GO TO WAR to help our husbands not fall victim to sex sin!!! Our biggest and best weapon in that war is giving ourselves to our husbands and convincing him that sex at home with his wife is better than anything he’ll get elsewhere!

The Bible and the Church make it clear that a man is entitled to enjoy marital relations with his wife. He is NOT being unreasonable to ask for his conjugal rights.

Now I’m not saying that the marriage should become a sex marathon. A lot of the magazines and television shows are just plain silly when they imply that couples are having sex every night. Interestingly, last year, Glamour Magazine, that paragon of liberal sexuality and freedom, published results of a sex survey. Would you believe that the average American man who is sexually active only has sex 87 times a year?! My husband and I were jumping up and down and cheering when we read this, because according to our records, we had sex 126 times during the year! We’re cooler than the people in Glamour Magazine! Tee hee hee!

I personally think that when a household is filled with children, once a week sex is probably realistic for most marriages. It’s just hard to find a time when a child or teenager isn’t demanding some form of parental involvement! Once a week is better than never or seldom. You may have to plan for it, because if you don’t plan and put it in the schedules, once a week soon becomes once a month and then once every six months, and then years go by. Not a good marriage at all.

GOD made sex. He made it for marriage. It is a picture of Christ and His Church, a visual of the love between Jesus and His Bride. We should not disregard it. Women need to get out of the habit of saying, “No,” and instead, say “Yes” unless prevented by illness or injury. They will be very very very glad that they said “Yes.”

I hope this is helpful. It’s not what a lot of women want to hear, but I believe it’s the Christian and Catholic truth about sex in marriage.


As far as the time issue, if that really is the issue, think about this. You go to bed together every night and spend several hours together there. It’s pretty easy to work sex in, even if it is in the middle of the night. You will sleep much more soundly afterwards. Or first thing in the morning before you get up. Better than a cup of coffee and you were going to take a shower when you got up anyhow. So, if time is the real issue, there are solutions.

I appreciate your honesty and you are absolutely hilarious !!!

I’m not going to give you a recommended frequency. However, it sounds to me like your husband feels like he needs more. While you are not his slave, you should take him seriously and be kind. Your attitude toward his desire for sex is very dismissive. This is serious business to him.

Sex is the MAIN way men feel loved, accepted, and appreciated by their wives. If you have a problem with male wiring, bring it up with God, but don’t punish or put down your husband for it.

I recommend you read *The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands *by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She gets really into this aspect of how men feel and why they actually NEED sex. There’s a lot more to the book, but this is one big point in it.

It sounds like I am the bad guy. So often though there is a little one who will not go to sleep or who wakes when the time would be right. It always seems to be my fault when these things happen.

I still have a little one in a crib in my room with nowhere else to put her. ( We have 7 kids and a three bedroom house.)

You’re not the bad guy. You just need a slight attitude adjustment in that I think you don’t realize how serious this really is for your man.

And hey, even babies sleep sometimes. And there are other places than bed for intimacy. :wink:

Don’t get hung up on fault, worrying about it will never take you in the right direction. You said the thought that there was something “wrong” was a mood killer. Just toss that thought out of your head and don’t worry about it.

Have you discounted counselling by a priest because priests are not married? Some priests specialize in pre-Cana and Christ-centered marriage counselling and are well qualified to help a couple improve their marriage or get it back on track. Not every priest has the credentials, or the desire to counsel in this area. Ask your parish priest to help you find out who does in your diocese. A physician doesn’t need to have had the disease in order to help cure the patient. So it is with a priest who is celibate. You mentioned that you were thinking of sending your husband to a therapist, but you would reap the most benefit if you participated as a couple, each fully committted to seeking the best for one another.

I have spoke to a priest who I use in confession some and he says he feels like sex in marriage is not always going to be great and that he thinks that is probably normal. It is just that I think my husband thinks it always has to be this “out of this world” experience.

We never went through marriage preparation due to being married outside the Catholic Church. When we had our marriage validated we really did not do anything more than take a questionaire that revealed aspects of our relationship. I was flexibly seperated and he was rigidly seperated. I guess this revealed that we did not share the same views at all times. That is all the marriage prep we have had. I listen to couples who have had this preparation and I get jealous that they went into marriage knowing the truth or at least were told the way it should be.

So much is placed on sex. I have 7 kids and do not want anymore so that limits us to some “available” time if we want to be inline with church teaching. If abstinence is so wrong in my relationship as far as my man’s needs are concerned…why does the church recognize that there are some times that a couple must refrain if they feel that they should not have any more children? The church even honors couples who have chosen to be celibate for certain reasons.

There is a big difference between abstaining despite his needs and both of you abstaining from something that you desire for the greater good of your family. One is selfish and the other is not. Since you and your husband already abstain in order to avoid pregnancy, asking him to abstain “just because” is really asking a lot.

Sounds like you did miss out on something with the Pre Cana. Perhaps you could do marriage encounter.

Also, did your husband ever say to you that sex always has to always be this “out of this world” experience, or is that expectation something that you are adding as an extra burden on yourself?

He did not say those exact words, but he is let down. I guess I just need to fake it and get it over with

We have to realize that sex is better when the couple’s relationship out of bed is caring and loving. Some men simply don’t realize that being emotionally abusive to his wife during the day makes her sexually unreceptive at night. :rolleyes: If he wants more sex, he needs to work for it 24-7. :smiley:

Sorry for the feminist slant, but sometimes that perspective is relevant.

I’m going to make a suggestion which I hope will help.

You’re right, seven children is not conducive to the Playboy Mansion (the Catholic version, of course, with one wife and one husband!).

We had a hard time fitting in sex with two daughters, who both slept in their own bedrooms from the day they were born. (Yes, I breastfed, but not ecologically.)

First of all, this is all temporary. When my children were growing up, I, like most other parents, never dreamed that it would someday end, and that I would be 47, and they would both be gone, along with all their friends and boyfriends and school paraphernalia and extra cars in the driveway and extra groceries and all the expenses. I thought they would be be kids forever.

But one day in 2004, I said good bye to my younger daughter and turned my back on the childrearing years and walked away, not just back to my car, but through a door into an empty nest and middle age.

I couldn’t believe it had happened to me and my husband. We raised our kids, and they were gone.

It will happen to you, too. And yes, it’s sad, but it’s also very happy, because you are pleased with how your children turned out, and you and your husband have the house to yourself and you can spend your time doing anything you want or need to do!

THEN you can have sex as often as you wish!

But in the meantime, you have about 10-18 years to go before that day, and you really can’t put sex on hold or you will turn to that man living with you in that empty nest and say, “Who the heck are you and why are you telling me to get naked?”

SO…here’s my suggestion. Quickies.

Let your husband make love to you in ten minutes or less. You probably won’t have an orgasm, because it usually takes longer for a woman unless you’re ovulating and hot as a pistol and having orgasms at just the thought of having sex!

So you don’t have an orgasm. Big deal. Your husband will. And you can still enjoy the closeness and the warmth of lovemaking with him, and you can still give HIM a rollicking satisyfing good time during the “Quickie.” As long as he knows that you are really enjoying this quickie, he won’t feel deprived. Tell him that someday you’ll have more time to take it slow and easy (maybe on Saturday night), but in the meantime, give him something. You’ll both be more happy.

AS often as either one of you wants to do it, his body is yours now and vice versa, it is what is known as the marriage debt, what you promised to each other when you made your vows.

"As the slave is in the power of his master, so is one spouse in the power of the other (1 Corinthians 7:4). But a slave is bound by an obligation of precept to pay his master the debt of his service according to Romans 13:7, “Render . . . to all men their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due,” etc. Therefore husband and wife are mutually bound to the payment of the marriage debt.

Further, marriage is directed to the avoiding of fornication (1 Corinthians 7:2). But this could not be the effect of marriage, if the one were not bound to pay the debt to the other when the latter is troubled with concupiscence. Therefore the payment of the debt is an obligation of precept. "

This is a good suggestion, not only because of the closeness and the giving to your husband aspect, but also it will keep your husband “primed”, so to speak, to go the distance when you have the time for an out of this world experience. If you are having sex infrequently, it is totally unfair to expect a great performance. It would be like keeping a runner chained in a closet, then expecting him to be able to go out and win a marathon. Not going to happen. Quickies are a great way to keep you close and keep everything in top working order.

There is a world of difference between (1) desperately wanting to “take care” of your husband but not being able to due to a tragic accident or illness, and (2) being fully capable of being able to take care of your husband, but just not really caring enough to actually do so.

BTW, in the above, “you” = generic wife, not “you” = you specifically.