Sexual intimacy changes over time and in the heat of an early relationship, sex can occur daily or at least several times a week, but over time passions cool and sex happens a lot less often.  According to a study of more than 25,000 people published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, two-thirds of them either married or in a long-term romantic relationship, on average, benefits maxed out at sex about once a week.  Some couples enjoy intercourse more often, others much less so, and men and women can differ greatly in what they want in terms of frequency, but on average, once a week seems to max out the amount of happiness couples derive from sex.

“Once a week is maybe a more realistic goal to set than thinking you have to have sex every day and that feels overwhelming and you avoid it.”

However, Muise highlighted that once per week is an average  – couples enjoying sex more frequently should not cut down on the amount of sex they’re having, but do whatever feels right for them.

“Certainly there are couples for whom having sex less frequently will be fine for their happiness, and there are couples who will get increases in happiness if they have sex more than once a week,” she said.

It’s also true that this once a week may simply be a compromise between the usually higher testosterone driven man wanting to do it more often and the woman want it less often, so once a week is what turns out to be a livable compromise between the two.  Frequency varies for gay relationships, in which previous studies showed that gay men have more sex than others and gay women less so, supporting this sense of compromise for heterosexual couples.

The study is published in full in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.