This Is How Often Married Couples Are Really Having Sex


The results are in!

by Jareesa Tucker McClure, Writing Fellow

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Throughout the course of a long-term relationship, there are so many moments that will give you pause and have you wondering, “Are we doing this the way everyone else is doing it? Is what we’re doing… normal? Is it okay?” Whether you’re wondering if other people your age have money in the bank, or if they’ve moved up the career ladder the same way you have, or if you’re running behind on having kids or… whether or not your sex life is as active as it “should” be, there’s an awful lot of room for wondering, or imagining what other people’s reality is. And really, a lot of that can stress you out. After all, it’s not really fun to spend time you could be having sex wondering if you’re having enough sex in the first place, right?

So recently we asked y’all to share the details about your sex lives via an anonymous survey (and whoa, thank you! to the 1,800 or so of you that gave us your nitty-gritty details). The idea to poll APW readers and ask how often they’re having sex with their partners was borne out of wanting to normalize questions about sex in general. Since data analysis is one of my secret superpowers, I volunteered to dig into this one for the APW team.

What really jumped out to me is the part that 254 of you dove into—the short answer to “How has your sex life changed throughout your relationship?” Because really? Whenever I’ve wondered if our sex life is what it should be, that’s the question I’m really asking—how does sex change over the years of a relationship? Y’all… let’s start with the charts, shall we?

Question 1: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER?

 

Question 2: do you have kids?

question 2

Question 3: if you have kids, how many do you have?

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Question 4: how often do you have sex?

question 4

Question 5: are you satisfied with your sex life?

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The “Are you satisfied with your sex life?” question is where things get… interesting. There were three options for responses: yes, no, or a blank text box. A lot of you decided that you needed to write in a response, which is awesome to learn more about you… but was hard to quantify. So I took a stab at bucketing the responses (which means that I read every single one), and I quickly picked up on some themes. A large number of the write in responses were caveats—either a “yes, but…” or “no, but…” response to explain why you felt the way you did. A smaller subset of responses were either in the middle or simply designated as “other” for ease of data analysis.

Question 6: how has your sex life changed throughout your relationship?

A lot of you recognize that we could be having more sex, but life gets in the way—opposing work schedules, new babies, etc. Lots of respondents also wondered if they should want to want more sex, which had us asking ourselves does that come from society pushing an idea that a happy relationship means constant sex? No matter the source, many of you feel satisfied with your sex life but you wonder if you should still want more from it. It sounds like many of us have a mismatched libido from our partner—no matter who has the higher or lower libido, it’s a challenge. Several responses noted being satisfied with the amount of sex, but knowing that your partner isn’t, and thus you aren’t satisfied either. Some of you are really happy with your sex life, and told us how you worked at your sex life with your partner, and have come to a place where you’re both satisfied and excited.

A common theme through the responses was simply saying, “I want more sex.” We’re happy with the quality of sex we’re having with our partners, but the frequency is lacking. Family planning is affecting your sex life—whether it’s birth control that has affected your libido, or trying to conceive sucking the fun out of lovemaking, it’s having a negative effect on your sex life.

Despite your challenges with sex, so many of the responses talked about dealing with your new normal when it comes to physical intimacy with your partner. Many of you talked about your strategies, whether it was scheduling a sex date, or at least taking time to cuddle and connect. Almost all of the parent responses noted how hard it is to have regular sex while pregnant or with an infant in the house. Even when discussing issues with libido or other health problems, the comments noted how you’re still making it work with your partners, in whatever capacity you can. And for those of you who have the lower libidos, it was clear that you really want to satisfy your partners as much as possible:

It’s slowed down a lot since about maybe a year before marriage (we were living together for about two years before the wedding, and had been dating long distance for two years before that). I made jokes about Lesbian Bed Death. We are in an open relationship and both had satisfactory sexual encounters with others during this time (about once a week for me when I was seeing a secondary partner for about a year and a half). I’m starting to reevaluate my bisexuality as maybe demisexuality… I’m not that interested in sex overall and need physical closeness and comfort much more than sex. Could be age; could be hormones—I remember being much more sexually motivated ten to fifteen years ago.

We used to make out really intensely and awkwardly and frequently in college (we didn’t have sex until we were married). It took a little bit of time to get the sex going while we were married, but now we have a decent routine going which I’m pretty happy with. I think my husband would probably like to have sex more—but if he wants that to happen, he also needs to be willing to have evening/going to bed sex, which seems like the most practical kind to me, especially to work in on a weekday, but which we never have because he falls asleep instantly. We also use condoms and natural family planning for birth control, so we don’t have (PIV) sex for a good week or so a month because we are extra cautious (although we do other things). Since we mostly have sex on weekends, combining that with no period sex means that depending on the month, we could only have (PIV) sex two times, if those sex-blackout times fall during a weekend.

We were very sexually active when we began dating, but my husband has an anxiety disorder and depression that became quite serious a year after we got together and require medication. Between the depression and the side effects of the various medications my husband has been on, we go through periods where we don’t have much sex at all because he isn’t interested or has trouble completing the act (which stresses him out and makes him less interested). Add pregnancy and now a new baby to that and we’re definitely not getting busy the way we once did, but we have sex when we can and cuddle and kiss a lot to keep some intimacy alive.

We lived in the same city, each of us living with our parents during college when we started dating, and had extremely chill parents that were cool with us sleeping over at each others’ houses; that probably allowed us one to two times a week of sexy times. Then we were long distance for three and a half years, so almost any time we saw each other or visited each other we had sex during that time (short week-long trips every four to six months). We’ve now lived together for eight months and it’s a mostly-on-the-weekends thing (lots of late work nights during the week). The quality continues to get better and better; we were extremely young and inexperienced when we first got together (less than ten total partners between the two of us) and really grew up and matured as adults together.

I am looking forward to developing a sex life after the wedding, so it will be changing very soon. I am thrilled to have found a partner who loves and respects me, but also shares my desire to wait to have sex until after the wedding. The self-control required to achieve this goal has only shown me more of his strength. It definitely hasn’t always been easy. And, even though we may be new at this after our wedding (and fumble and make mistakes at first), I know I have chosen a partner who will work to develop a great sex life through communication and a desire for self-improvement. Since the beginning of our dating relationship until now, with forty-two days to go, we have definitely become very open about talking about sex and our associated desires, fears, etc., to make the transition into married life a smooth one.

Very little! We felt magnetic and deeply attracted to each other from the get-go and that hasn’t changed at all over the past eight years. We love making each other feel good and being so connected through sex, and sex still makes us feel like those giggly lovers who first hooked up. It’s so special.

We’ve been married almost six years, and we’ve had less sex the longer we’ve been married. My husband and I read the book The Five Love Languages and found that he was more affected by our lack of sex than I was. We’re working on it, but it’s hard because we have different needs, plus my birth control affects my sex drive, plus both of us have fairly stressful jobs.

There’s been a huge decrease in frequency as both of our jobs have become more demanding. When we first got together, in graduate school, we’d work from home, writing in the mornings and evenings but usually spending the afternoons in bed together. That sometimes still happens on holidays (the desire hasn’t changed), but too often we just have a monstrously long list of chores and deadlines.

Early on we had sex all the time! Like, two to four times a day, but we were also in our very early twenties. We are way too tired for that level of enthusiasm now, but are also thirty with a six-month-old baby. We didn’t have sex much at all while I was pregnant but are back to having sex a bit more frequently than we had been the past few years, which is nice!

We’ve been married for almost six years but together for twelve, and it’s definitely changed. We used to have sex at least once a week. Now it’s only once a month sometimes. Mainly my doing—the more stress I’m under, the less I want to have sex or I lose my sex drive. Also, having two kids has taken a toll on my body, and I was having some pain during sex and my sex drive has been at zero lately. And I really can’t blame the physical children now that they sleep well; I think it’s hormones and stuff that make me just not want sex as much. Hoping this changes though, because I miss the physical intimacy that me and my husband had, and the frequency.

Early on: multiple times a day, pretty much every day. Lots of oral sex for him. I didn’t like receiving oral (from him specifically—the mechanics were just not working and I didn’t care to “train” him), so less for me. Some novelty locations (outside, cars, etc.).

After a year or so: no more novelty locations, and we have sex maybe four to six times a week (there’s less oral sex for him too).

For a few in-between years: sex two to four times a week. Learning about this “maintenance sex” thing. Quality sometimes not great.

Last couple of years: quality and frequency increasing again, and we had some real conversations about our preferences (mostly training partner in improved oral techniques, and educating him on the real importance of foreplay, etc., and… sex is better than ever). A little more spontaneous again, though not as much as it was when we started out, but maintenance sex is okay, too. It’s really nice to have a(n increasingly complete) sexual vocabulary and menu (from tender and intimate, to “I am a motherfucking goddess” spirituality, to whatever level of kink you’re comfortable with, to the occasional conflicted feelings “I will tolerate or do this (totally normal thing) for you now because sometimes we do things just for the other person and that sometimes the thing to do is sex,” to “We should just do this because we know our lives are better when we do, and if it goes too long we get cranky, whereas, if we just do it, it has it’s own virtuous cycle, which always leaves me wanting more, more often…”).

Also amazing: sex toys, and making your own videos at home, and then watching them together. Convincing your partner to try a tenga egg (fun!)… so many delights.

Also life changing: Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski.

Always peaks and valleys over the years, depending on what else is going on with our lives. But quality has been better since we’re done having kids; I think trying to get pregnant/having a newborn made my husband uncomfortable. Now we’re at peace with periodic dry spells (with two little kids, sometimes there’s just not time!), we know what each other likes, and we are more apt to just say “fuck it, it’s been a while, we need to Do It” (which is not spontaneous but still a lot of fun!).

My wife and I have been married for going on three years and together for just over eleven. We first got together when we were nineteen and had sex every day, sometimes more than once a day. Holy shit. I cannot even imagine where we got the energy. We’ve obviously mellowed out since then and how often we have sex varies, but we usually average out to one to two times a week. Recently it’s been less, maybe once every ten days or so? I don’t really keep track until I realize it’s been a while. But between the Trump presidency, trying to make a baby, a new job, and mental health stuff, it just hasn’t been a priority recently. Which sucks, but we always come back to each other and get back into the rhythm (ew, sorry) again.

did you take the survey? are you surprised by any of the results? are you happy with how your sex life has changed over the years, or do you wish it were different?

Jareesa Tucker McClure

Jareesa Tucker McClure is a thirty-something newlywed in the Twin Cities. She’s a chemist turned supply chain project manager (and part-time writer) who spends her time knitting and running a Twin Cities Black professionals organization. Follow her rants on Twitter at @Jubilance1922 or on her blog, Black Girl Unlost.

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  • Old married lady

    Would you feel comfortable doing some cross tabs? I know it’s a small sample, but it would be interesting to see frequency by length in relationship and number of kids. That might help further normalize too.

    • Hi! Great call and it’s on my to-do list. The team wanted to run this one quickly and so I did a first pass with the data so we could provide you guys with something. I agree that crosstabs would provide a lot of useful information.

      • ann

        The cross-tabs seem like they’ll be the most informative part, so I look forward to seeing what you find!

    • Mary Jo TC

      I was about to ask something similar. Are there any trends in the data? Like, more frequency or satisfaction in younger vs older relationships, or in couples with and without kids?

  • anonymous

    In my survey, I mentioned frequently wanting to have sex, but not wanting to put in the effort. Or even, wanting to *want to* have sex… but just not wanting to because I’m just too exhausted and would rather go to bed instead. Sometimes I remind myself of that Miranda scene from maybe the first Sex and the City movie: “He went to change positions and I said ‘can we just get it over with!!?'” It’s not that I don’t enjoy sex with my partner; it’s that, oftentimes, by the time we’re both in bed and at a point where we could and would get into it, we’re exhausted, and know we have to be up in six, seven hours. We’ve even acknowledged out loud that we would both like to do it that night, if it didn’t involve so much work and losing even fifteen or twenty minutes of sleep.We’re satisfied when we make it happen, but recently, the making it happen without sacrificing precious time is the hard part. From the results above, it looks like a lot of others might share the same sentiment. How do you make more room for sexual intimacy when you’re so g-d tired and pressed for every minute of your time?

    • Anon

      Mornings, weekend afternoons, going to bed earlier, cutting other things out of the daily routine, having sex when you first get home from work instead of after dinner.

      • Yeah, being creative with timing has been our saving grace – if we wait until the end of the night, we’re both so tired that it won’t happen. Why begs the question: why does media present sex as something you do at the end of the day, at night, in bed?

        • Anonymous

          This, for me, has been the hardest part about keeping up a great sex life with kids. I loved morning sex, afternoon sex, basically anything before bedtime when I’m too exhausted. But that is basically the only time that works now, logistically, unless we get a weekend away or both get home from work before the kids have to be picked up (which is awesome, but rare). Would love to hear advice from anyone who has conquered this issue!

        • sexfirst

          I agree! On our date nights I prefer to have sex first and then go out to dinner and probably have drinks and dessert (read: body begins feeling a bit bloated and not as interested in sex).

          • anonnow

            Yes. This reminds me of a classic Simpsons episode where Marge and Homer go out to eat, and when dessert is suggested, they say, dessert or sex? We can totally do both! And then fast forward to them lying groggy and full on the bed, and sex is definitely not happening.

    • RNLindsay

      I think of that SatC quote a lot! Part of my problem is my brain is just too practical – there’s a constant calendar/to do list/time clock running at all times so I, too, am always worried about the time lost (and I love sleep!) I really have to put that mental business on hold in order to enjoy sex. We found weekend afternoons to be the best times because theres less of that going on

      • Belle11

        Yes! I always feel my brain’s too practical. I’m constantly thinking about my to-do list, or how this means getting to sleep at 11 instead of 10:30 or that the baby will be up any minute…. I can’t turn it off and it makes enjoying sex, or responding to spontaneous come-ons, very challenging.

    • Anon

      Mutual masturbation! Takes under 5 minutes. All the fun and none of the work.

      • I feel like “try something non-PIV” can be the answer to so many bedroom dilemmas.

    • mimi

      As soon as the kids are in bed (or you know they’re asleep, depending on the age). Our daughter is 20 months and still sleeps in a crib, so once she’s in her crib, we get our “free” time.

  • Anon for this

    I feel a bit ripped off with pregnancy because I never got that *crazy* libido everyone talks about. In fact, my libido has plummeted for the most part–primarily because sex was impossible when I was extremely nauseous all the time and is currently just a lot of work/effort now that my body is getting much bigger and much more awkward.

    We still manage about once or twice a week but it hasn’t been the silver lining of pregnancy I hoped for; even my orgasms are kind of a bummer compared to normal. It’s totally the opposite of what most of my friends have experienced and I’ll admit – I’m disappointed. And hoping it’s temporary!

    • AC

      Same! I kept waiting for the boost during my first pregnancy, but found my lust level to range only from meh to average.

      Bigger shock was how my libido DISAPPEARED after giving birth. I mean, gone. We didn’t have sex for nine months. Nine months is SO LONG! I felt awful and would try to do things for my husband and he’d always end up asking AC, do you really feel like doing this?’ and I’d collapse into tears and say no. Lo and behold, period came back about 9 months postpartum and so did the ole sex drive.

      I had a great birth experience, a great newborn, no PPD…it was just something that happened, and was obviously hormonal. Nursing, work, pumping…all factors, for sure.

      I’m at the end of pregnancy #2 and, go figure, have been crazy horny the whole time. Husband has jokes that he’s gearing up for another 9-month drought, but I already feel it’s going to be different this time.

      Good luck to you!!

      • Sarah

        Agreed. Mine came back after first PP period 4 months) and even more when I stopped nursing (10.5 months). Interestingly now that I’m dieting it’s kinda low. Bummed.

      • Sherry

        Estrogen is lower during breastfeeding and that causes lower libido.

      • anonforthis

        Yup, me exactly. No sex drive after 1st baby. Breastfeeding hormones were Out Of Control. It came back gradually as breastfeeding decreased, but it took a long time. 2nd baby the effect was greatly reduced.

        • AC

          That’s nice to hear that it was a little less intense the second time around! I definitely had the same curve as breastfeeding dropped off.

      • Belle11

        I am really hoping my libido comes back – either with my period or with weaning. It’s basically been non-existent this entire time (baby is six months old). My libido dropped while I was pregnant – couple that with decreased sensation down there during pregnancy and I haven’t really wanted sex for a good 15 months. It’s caused quite an argument between husband and I because I just don’t want it – I don’t even think about it. His libido is fine though, of course, so he finds our lack of sex very disheartening. We’ve talked about it, but nothing I have said has reassured him that this is temporary. I’m just trying to do enough to keep the peace. (I literally have a discreet reminder on my phone to perform a little manual task every few days.)

        • AC

          Oh totally with you on not even thinking about it…like I just forgot it existed. And I’ve always enjoyed my sex life! Good on your for setting a reminder on your phone…I would just realize my husband was masturbating in the shower and be like “oh, right…he’s still thinking about that”. :P

          I think it can be hard for significant others to conceptualize just how much our bodies are being run by hormones during this stage. And I think partners are prepared for that during pregnancy, since the narrative of crazy pregnancy mood swings, etc. is so prevalent, but might expect things to return to “normal” soon after baby is born. I felt like postpartum and breastfeeding hormones were stronger than pregnancy.

          • Belle11

            Agreed. Anecdotally, my husband was awesome during my pregnancy (I realized in retrospect). He obviously jumped at the chance whenever I was in the mood, but he never pushed or made me feel that it wasn’t enough. However, literally two months after giving birth, we were already having our first big fight over it because we’d *only* had sex twice. I thought we were doing so good! He was utterly disappointed. He keeps bringing the topic up every month or so, so it’s been a long road there. I know it has to be challenging for him because I physically look like I’ve bounced back, more or less. He knows I’m breastfeeding, but he has a very hard time remembering that hormones still rule the roost around here – even though I don’t have the ginormous belly or mood swings of the early post-partum days.

    • Christina McPants

      Sex was pretty uncomfortable during pregnancy for me. Not position, but fatigue and that my breasts were very tender during the whole thing. It sucked and my libido didn’t even come back until I weaned.

    • anonforthis

      Don’t lose hope for possible future pregnancies!
      My first pregnancy I had no libido and a major flare-up of a pelvic pain issue that I thought had been resolved. Result=no sex for the duration!
      Pregnancy #2 was the complete opposite. I was aroused literally all the time starting from about halfway through the pregnancy. Like, to the point of serious physical discomfort. I learned something about what a lot of teenage boys must go through.

    • Anon

      Not only did my libido plummet, sex was also painful for me while I was pregnant. I think we only had sex 2 times the whole time, the last of which was a miserable, desperate attempt to stimulate labor, haha. Lots of mutual masturbation though. Sex ebbs and flows so much through a lifetime.

    • mimi

      Yeah I am pregnant with my second and haven’t found the sex to be particularly great either time. My libido is up a little, but the positions are just difficult and awkward and it’s harder to orgasm than it is when I’m not pregnant. I definitely got back to normal between pregnancies though, eventually (although I think it took a few months after our daughter was born to even try it again).

    • Ros

      well, then there’s the alternative…

      My libido shot up right around the time morning (aka: all day) sickness tapered off, and that’s about when my husband decided that sex with a pregnant woman was too awkward, so I’d just basically wind up getting turned down (…every day…) while getting larger for 5 months. Hell of a self-esteem boost while pregnant, seriously.

      Honestly… I’m 2 months past pregnancy and I’m still not over that. It sucked.

      • TheOtherLiz

        WTF

  • Anon

    It just makes me so sad to hear people are abstaining from sex during their ovulation window because they don’t trust condoms or other methods of barrier birth control and don’t want to take hormonal birth control. Condoms really do work well. I hate that the constant drum beat of abstinence only education, natural family planning, and unscientific attacks on birth control is resulting in couples who could be having sex and who want to be having sex not having sex during the fertile window. To me, it is the essence of how natural family planning is anti-women. Abstaining during the week in which you ovulate, but oh look that just coincidentally happens to be the week in which many women most desire and enjoy sex? No.

    • ruth

      THIS! I had a great conversation about this once with a nurse practitioner at a Planned Parenthood, who explained the variations between “perfect use” and “typical use” in barrier method effectiveness statistics to me. Apparently those stats count couples who only use condoms “some of the time” (and at other times use absolutely no form of contraception at all) under “typical use” – which really throws off the statistic. Also, various lifestyle factors affect condom efficacy, such as not being intoxicated at the time you have sex, your age, and the length of time you’ve been with your partner. If you fall into the category my hubby and I did (both of us over 25, together several years, sober during sex etc…) the condom effectiveness rating is over 98%, which is as effective as hormonal birth control.

      • JLC

        Ha, my sister once told a PP nurse that she relied on condoms for birth control, and she got a shocked faced and a “we HAVE to get you on birth control, ASAP” in response, so I guess there’s still a wide range of information out there.
        Personally, I never felt that my libido was changing that much during my cycle, and in fact some of our best times have come in the past few month, despite the fact that my fertility hasn’t come back yet post-partum, so the whole “ovulation sex is the best!!” concept doesn’t have much weight for me.

        • Anon

          Or that was good advice for her. Condoms can be a terrible method of birth control. But they aren’t inherently ineffective.

          Ovulation sex isn’t the best for everyone. But it is better for a large number of women. And I’m in general anti methods of birth control that rely on the suppression of female desire.

          • ruth

            Exactly. I should have included that the second part of that conversation was “the best method…is the method that works best for you and the realities of your relationship.” That can be a VERY different answer for different people

          • Sarah

            The pill suppresses female desire.

          • Violet

            Like everything, this varies from person to person, but it sure did suppress mine. People are down about condoms because they affect the feeling (mainly for the dude, though some women say they can feel a difference; I can’t). But I’d rather have sex that feels slightly different than no sex at all, which is what we had when I was on hormonal BC. Again, the calculus will vary for every couple, but it still surprises me how condoms are generally overlooked as having a place in a committed relationship as an easy, cheap, low side-effect, and effective way to prevent pregnancy.

      • nutbrownrose

        I didn’t realize typical use included those who only use them some of the time! But I’m not about to go down to one form of BC, because babies are totally NOT an option until at least after the wedding ( I like to say that any babies that appear right now would be an act of God). But the plan is to ditch the condoms on the honeymoon and trust the IUD that’s not messing with me atm.

    • It’s not just abstinence only/NFP though — I know several people who went through comprehensive who don’t feel secure with just condoms, and think that unless they are also on HBC they are falling way short of best practices. Also, would you consider the pill anti-women? It stops ovulation entirely which also takes ovulation sex off the table, and for many women it suppresses their sexual desire.

      That said, yeah, condoms are very effective. And I do personally like barrier methods precisely because they are non-intrusive for my sex drive and don’t place all responsibility for birth-control on me.

      • Violet

        I’m with you. When you use condoms properly, they work as well as hormonal BC. And I still get to ovulate (hormonal BC suppressed my libido big time), and I like that the responsibility of avoiding pregnancy is equally shared between me and my partner.

    • Lmba

      Wow, I *never* considered NFP anti-women. That method relies entirely on women becoming intimately informed about how their own bodies work and where they are in their cycle to a FAR greater extent than any Sex Ed class I’ve ever heard of. Most women never get that information unless they research NFP. I know that some women who practice NFP do so because of religious opposition to artificial birth control methods – so, yeah, those women won’t be using condoms during fertile times. But I’m also sure that loads of women use NFP alongside condoms during the fertile window, or have non-PIV sex on those days. Which… makes a lot of sense, I think? Not everyone wants or is able to use other available birth control methods.

      • Anon

        Yeah I always have. It’s like look, science has actually come up with some pretty great options for me to have sex whenever I want. Oh but look, a bunch of old celibate men are pushing aggressively a method that is less effective and relies on me denying myself sex when I want to have it. If you’re using it by only using condoms when you are fertile, I guess, but the whole concept of it is, to me, deeply anti-woman and an attempt to control our sexual freedom.

        It’s one of those things that in an individual case can be great, and absolutely better than nothing if you can’t use other methods, but as a method as it is currently preached, nope.

        • Lilttlegoat

          I think you are painting with too broad a stroke about NTP. I’m not religious nor conservative, I just prefer the cycle method because 1. I have a regular cycle, 2. I hate how the birth control hormones make me feel and I don’t want to install Paraguard if I’m going to try for kids in the next few years 3. My husband doesn’t like the feel of condoms

          The method is actually very reliable ( been using it for the past 5 years) for the right couple.

        • maria

          Hi, I never posted anything here before. Many people I know in Germany use it without any religious background. They don’t want to be on the pill, they want to understand their cycle, and they don’t want to use condoms all the time. So for them it’s a good opportunity to get a few days without having to use condoms. I don’t do it myself, so I don’t know how it compares to the pill, but I’ve heard good things about it. Many people also use the knowledge later on to actually get pregnant.

          So for me it is actually very much pro-women. I’m surprised to hear the whole religious background and agree that that is deeply anti-woman, but I guess you can make anything pro- or anti- depending on how you use it and why.

          • Violet

            Knowing your cycle is not the same as NFP. What you’re referring to is women just knowing their cycle. NFP says no methods of birth control other than trying to avoid penetrative sex on fertile days. So women in Germany who are using condoms is not the same as the women in religions that tell them they cannot use condoms to avoid pregnancy.

          • maria

            Well, it is called NFP by everyone and it does explicitly not forbid condoms. And yes, it is exactly my point that it is different if you manipulate the method for the sake of religion. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it also in a positive way

      • Violet

        I think as soon as you start using condoms, you can’t really say you’re practicing NFP anymore. At that point, you’re just a woman who understands her cycle. Which, sure, is empowering and being informed, but that’s not what the religions that advocate tracking your cycle are talking about. They’re talking about relying on a fair amount of chance, asking women to be okay with carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, and avoiding sex when it’s most enjoyable for women (on average, obviously there are exceptions to everything). That’s certainly not a PRO-women message….

  • Vanessa

    I don’t remember how I handled this during the survey, but it seems like there are some holes & redundancies in the first chart? There is a together 1-5 and a together 10-15 but no together 5-10? Also, you could be together 2-5 AND engaged, or together 10-15 AND married 2-5. I’m confused about the breakdown.

    • stephanie

      When we put the survey up, people asked us to clarify that question so that it wasn’t tailored ONLY to those who are married. We tried to do our best!

      • Vanessa

        I’m not trying to be critical! Just confused :)

      • TheOtherLiz

        I was thinking, what a puzzle to categorize this! They aren’t mutually exclusive categories, like people who are “engaged” have also most likely been together for some amount of time. To get really exact you’d need two separate questions, one about relationship status and length of it, and one about length of relationship total. But outside of the crosstabs, those two piecharts wouldn’t be super interesting, so I see why you guys did it this way!

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  • Anna

    The bit about “if he wants that to happen, he also needs to be willing to have evening/going to bed sex, which seems like the most practical kind to me, especially to work in on a weekday, but which we never have because he falls asleep instantly.” in one of the answers someone put is something fiance has said to me almost word for word… but like… I can’t control how my sleep cycle works, at least not without very disruptive life changes. Good sleep hygiene, for me, requires that the bed be almost exclusively a sleeping location, at least around bedtime. I think part of what has made this a sticking point for us has been that fiance refuses to believe that changing my sleep habits would be as disruptive as it actually is, so he’s not willing to make other changes (e.g., willingness to have sex in the middle of the day on weekends, during what would otherwise be prime video game playing time) because he thinks they’d be more disruptive than me changing how I sleep…

    • I’m the same with sleep. I’m “good” at sleeping but anything energizing in bed, right before sleep, is almost always a no-go for me. Fortunately my husband is chill with that, but yeah, sleep patterns are a thing!

      • joanna b.n.

        I’m glad to hear this perspective, because it is helping me realize that my husband’s preferences are pretty common, and realistic. I have not been fully compassionate about this, as my desired state is to jump in bed, talk for 20 minutes, do it, and then sleep. Which is… his nightmare? Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I think I’ll try to be more respectful of his reality!

    • Anonny moose

      Hey so that was from me. I’m perfectly fine not having sec in weekdays and only having it once a week on weekends during the day or in the morning. But sex before sleep actually helps me sleep (Which is something I’m horrible at already) so if we are going to be adding in more, is rather it be at the time I choose ( also…mI’m too hungry to not eat dinner right after I walk the dog after work and then I just ate so I don’t want sex, so it seems like the best time logistically for weekday sex)

      • Anna

        So, obviously I don’t know your situation, but this is also something fiance has often said (too hungry to not eat right away, then too full for sex until bedtime), and he was pretty resistant to the idea that there’s any way to change that… but like. Snacks before leaving work are a thing (at least for him; I don’t know what your workplace is like). Having a snack then, and maybe a slightly smaller dinner later – possibly just a day or two out of the week – strikes me as a way less disruptive change than asking someone to change how they sleep.

        (This part we’ve actually largely resolved; the next obstacle to us having non-bedtime weekday sex is that he wants dinner to be ASAP after I get home from work – he gets home earlier than I do – and that generally means that when he’s cooking, dinner is already in flight by the time I get home, and when it’s my turn, he really wants me to start dinner as soon as I walk in the door. This bothers me for more reasons than just sex; I’d rather get home, make myself a drink, wind down, and eat at 7:30 or even 8 if that’s how it goes, but as long as I’ve known him, he’s been super adamant that 6 PM is dinner time, 6:30 at the latest…)

        • Anonny moose

          Yeah, I can’t really snack at my work since I can’t have food (or technically drinks) at my desk/lab bench, although I could snack when I get home, I suppose. I think we might get home later than you, though, because usually by the time I’ve gotten home and walked the dog (which I need to do right away) it’s usually 7 at the earliest and often later (and my husband comes home even later than I do, which is why I walk the dog).

          It also really doesn’t bother me much because I’m perfectly happy having sex once a week or so on weekends and just snuggling the rest of the week on the couch or whatever. I’d also be cool with snuff like after 30 minutes or so of dinner, but I’m not going to initiate or plan for weekday sex since I don’t care if it happens. That’s on him, I think.

          But also, he has literally offered none of these alternatives besides “I would like sex more” comments with no efforts to plan how to make it happen. I’d be willing to go along (or at least try) but I’m not going to put this on my planning task lists.

    • anonforthis

      Ok, so 9 times out of 10 I am TOTALLY unable to sleep after sex. For hours. My partner is the opposite, and it is like a sleeping pill for him. And I’m the one who prefers to go to bed earlier, AND the one who needs more sleep, AND the one who often has to get up with children. So evening sessions have been hard to sort out for us. The best time is on a weekend if we don’t have something on right away the next morning and it doesn’t matter so much if I stay up late. Otherwise, we try to do it earlier in the evening or, if it’s late, do something quick that is more for him than it is for me, so I don’t get too riled up (ha). It’s tough with young kiddos though, since we don’t often have an opportunity until they are in bed for the night.

  • emmers

    I find this really interesting: “No matter the source, many of you feel satisfied with your sex life but you wonder if you should still want more from it.”

    It’s kind of like– if we’re satisfied, maybe we should just be satisfied and recognize that’s a good thing? I get that not everyone is satisfied with their status quo, but it’s interesting to hear that so many people were generally happy but wondering if they were normal.

    • joanna b.n.

      This has been my number one challenge as a married woman regarding sex. Ridiculous, really.

      ETA: I think there is that HUGE stereotype that sex will dwindle and die in a marriage, which will lead to infidelity, and so…. we worry.

  • Clay

    I have to make one more plug for the book Come As You Are! It address so many things mentioned here and was particularly helpful for me when thinking about the right context and expectations. Best line: “women are not less sexual versions of men, we’re women.”