Sex Resolutions and How Much Sex is Ideal?

As promised, this is the first in my Friday series called “Keeping the Sparks Alive!” in which you’ll receive links and suggestions from various experts on how to keep the sexual part of your marriage union in top-notch shape.

While it’s true every marriage has its ebbs and flows as far as sexual excitement (early parenthood being a recognized low for most couples), sexual intimacy should not be placed on the back burner for too long, or the marriage could be irreparably harmed. Remember that while many of the tasks you provide for your family can be outsourced, only spouses can (or should) satisfy sexual needs and desires. It’s a critical component of any marriage.

I’ll begin this series with some resolutions to consider for 2011 from sex and relationship expert Ian Kerner. Joy Behar on CNN interviewed him to ask for some sex resolutions to assist couples. He advised the following:

  1. Have sex once a week. (See note below regarding how to determine the ideal frequency for your marriage.) Make time for it, and get in the mood. Sometimes you have to put your body and mind through the motions before you feel in the mood. If you wait until the stars align and the laundry is complete, it may never happen.
  2. Have a positive relationship with positive interactions if you want to have a sexy marriage. Don’t call your partner names or complain about work, chores or the bills when you meet at the end of the day—then expect your partner to feel amorous.
  3. Invest in your relationship. Kerner says while many couples cut back on date nights and vacations last year due the recession, it’s time to put the investment back in these important activities. After all, he says, divorce is even more expensive.
  4. Cultivate intimacy outside the bedroom. A 30-second hug helps women raise their oxytocin levels (those feel-good hormones released during sex or breastfeeding). For men, it takes a 60-second hug to have this effect.

Those sound like realistic goals, no? Regarding the ideal sexual frequency for couples, author and marital therapist Michele Weiner-Davis says this is a common area of conflict for couples. She says in case you are wondering, the average American couple has sex 1.5 times per week. However, what works well for one couple doesn’t work well for another. The right frequency is whatever works for you both. The problem lies when one spouse has a much higher or lower sex drive than the other. What’s a couple to do?

The worst thing they do is argue about “who is right” and “who is wrong,” she says. Don’t debate it, but do discuss how you might meet in the middle and attempt to meet both people’s needs.  Maintain ongoing communication without being harsh to one another.

Interesting links this week:

I also promised more links this year to other posts. This one by Laura Munson at Huffington Post is a nice follow-up to my first happiness post. Laura found new freedom after letting go of suffering and choosing happiness. Read Laura’s article Living the New Year moment by moment.

Fox News featured Alisa Bowman’s 7 Ways to Fix a Marriage.

The Generous Husband generously posted a guest post by yours truly called 7 Ways a Man Truly Loves a Woman. He also had an interesting idea to come up with three things you each want to change about your marriage this year, one easy, one medium difficult and one that would take effort. Read it here.

Neuroscientists are discovering any time we feel safe, warm, loved, and cherished, we activate the release of small doses of oxytocin in the brain. And oxytocin is the brain’s direct and immediate antidote to cortisol (the stress hormone). If you’re interested in a scientific explanation of how oxytocin levels cancel out stress, check out this article The Neuroscience of Resilience. I especially liked the last few paragraphs.  

Photo credit: ©PhotoXpress.com

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6 responses to “Sex Resolutions and How Much Sex is Ideal?

  1. I feel like those tips might be listed out of order. #2-4 lead up to #1. Sure, you could “have sex” on the todo list for the week, but it won’t be enjoyable without the buildup that the other three provide.

  2. Agreed.

  3. Well I normally completely agree with you. This time I have to take exception. Men normally need sexual relief 3 times a week. Instead of going to the gym, engage in sex. Scientists say that you expend the same number of calories having sex as the time spent in the gym and is defintely better for your marriage. When a woman denies her husband sex, he feels dejected, unloved, unworthy and undervalued. These are not the feelings that you want your husband feeling because these feelings can lead him to cheating on his wife.

    If you had sex 4 times a week (and I can just hear all the women screaming there is no way that I would have sex that often) and the act takes a half hour, that is just two hours a week or 1% of your time and energy. If you can’t invest 1% of your time and energy into maintaining your marriage, your priorities are messed up.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • I don’t think we can say what is ideal for each couple. Some couples may need more intimacy that what you suggest, and others may need less. It is an individual matter that they need to communicate and work toward, and yes, prioritize. It should be done in a non-critical manner that aims to satisfy both partners’ needs.

  4. I wish my husband would have seen this before we separated. I spoke of date night and he thought it was stupid….hence the split.

  5. Thanks for the tips…..the anticipation of sex is also fun leading up to the night. Flirting, leaving messages..(yes text messages count) hints of lingerie all the things you did before you were married are fair game. This was fun to read Thanks a lot for giving this part of people’s life the spot light.

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