Sunday, October 06, 2002

How much is enough?


The perennial question...how often is right? normal? You can think about frequency of sex as being something like a canary in a coal mine. Miners have canaries because they are more sensitive to toxic gases than the miners themselves, so that when the canary keels over they know that it's time to get out of there. We can be insensitive to many other indicators of the health of a relationship, but frequency is something that it's easier to quantify (unlike how exciting or stimulating sex is when you have it). A really low frequency in a relationship where both partners are healthy is a good indicator that something is serious wrong in the desire for intimacy, and a good sign that unless things change this relationship is not going to be around for the long-term. Couples can take an amazing long stretch without sex before deciding to call it quits....the longest I have heard of is five years, but three years, even a year is possible.
Maybe three weeks is the point at which you ought to start worrying, maybe even sooner. At any rate if one of you is already thinking that your sex is not frequent enough, you have a problem. Sex is like food - if you are not getting enough it gets distracting, because you start to fantasize about it. Not too many people would expect to go without eating for three weeks, but the same is not true about sex, unfortunately. Even if you decide to impose moral strictures on eating, many people eat at least once a day, sometime even three times, and even snack in between meals.
Is once a week enough? Probably not. If your frequency as couple is once a week, chances are that one or the other of you is feeling unsatisfied, and perhaps angry. Remember part of being a monogamous couple is that you agreed that the two of you are exclusive partners.That means that both of you have
a responsibility to make it work for both of you. Take a look at what is there that prevents you from having sex more often. After all, there are many things that you do daily as a matter of course....bathe, brush your
teeth, put on fresh clothes, eat your meals, read the newspaper, watch the television. Are these more important than expressing your affection for your devoted partner?
Do you feel like you are having too much sex? Look at what the issues are - they probably have nothing to do with sex, but rather with the unexpressed agenda that you and your partner have a hard time talking about. Why take it out on your sex life? Deal with the problem where it is, rather than pushing it over to a place where it doesn't belong.

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