Regardless of your relationship status, sex stays a confused, and regularly delicate, subject. Albeit nobody needs to let it out, people all over the world are investing less energy in the sack.

According to a 2019 investigation of British grown-ups and teenagers, for couples who live together, wedded couples, and older people in general, the decrease in how much sex they have is significantly more staggering.

So, how many times a week should couples have sex? Research has demonstrated that couples who engage in sexual relations at least once a week are more joyful than their less-bedded counterparts. (A caveat: Happiness levels don’t ascend based on the amount of time spent under the sheets.)

However, that number doesn’t exactly apply for everybody. Also, at last, experts state how much sex a couple ought to have relies upon the couple itself.

How much sex should a couple have?

Once a week is a common pattern according to experts. That number relies on the age range: 40- and 50-year-olds tend to fall around that baseline, while 20- to 30-year olds tend to average around twice a week.

However, Dr. Peter Kanaris, New York-based clinical psychologist and sex therapist cautions that couples shouldn’t rely on the average as a metric for their own sexual experiences. He’s seen couples on all aspects of the sex range, from those who have almost no sex to couples who have intercourse 12 to 14 times each week.

“What’s actually more important than for couples to get caught up in some statistical norm to match themselves to that is to look at this from a perspective of sexual satisfaction,” Dr. Kanatis disclosed to USA TODAY. In the event that a couple is explicitly fulfilled, at that point that is the goal.

Sharing the same opinion with Dr. Linda Dr. Kanatis, De Villers, a sex therapist and an adjunct professor of psychology and education at Pepperdine, told USA TODAY: “There’s a certain amount of motivation to feel normal, whatever that means. You should be sexual as often as both you and your partner feel good … If you can say it was satisfying and fulfilling, that’s how often you should be sexual.”

Should I be planning sex?

Regardless of the predominant thought that sex is spontaneous and fueled by sudden desire, sex should be planned, De Villers says. She also share that when people have kids or commitments, it’s really helpful to proactively plan some sex. If not, they are more prone to have no sex at all.

Furthermore, she brings up, most sex is arranged anyhow. For example, she says, before heading out for a date, you are more likely pull out all the stops to make yourself presentable for a prospective partner. It means you actually had planned sex. Jokingly De Villers says: “The evening usually culminates at a certain point, and you knew damn well it would”.

What if one person wants sex more than the other?

That’s one of the most common problems Kanaris encounters in his profession. That issue torments even the best couples, he says. Low desire of a sexual partner may be a hit to confidence and the sense of self of the other.

More awful, he says, the other partner may “fill in the blank” as to to what’s causing the absence of sexual desire in the worst ways, enhancing their own insecurities and possibly further inhibit communicating.

According to Kanaris, couples should engage in honest, transparent “intimate communication” about their sex lives if they’re not feeling satisfied. Sharing with USA TODAY, he states that in his experience, many couples communicate really well about paying the mortgage, taking care of the kids and other issues, but may (have) very poor or absent communication in issues of closeness or sexuality.

De Villers also says the key is being informative and expressive about what you want sexually. It is really important to learn how to be sexually assertive and have sexual agency.

How else can I satisfy my partner?

De Villers points out that there are a lot of different approaches to engage in sexual relations without, well, going all the way.

Non-penetrative sexual activities, she says, are bound to be pleasurable for both partners, especially for those who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s. This is also true for LGBTQ couples, who have a tendency to practice more non-penetrative sexual activities than their hetero counterparts, De Villers notes. 

What factors could be contributing to a reduced sex drive?

According to the British study, one of the reasons couples are having less sex is the “sheer pace of modern life”. The stress of modern life, simply the day-to-day of how we live our lives, has a negative effect on sexual desire. In our modern age, life moves so much faster than 20, 25 years ago.

Besides, Kanaris and De Villesr also think there may also be individual and couple-specific factors that will in general be ignored when couples assess their sexual experiences.

Medications, like antidepressants, can reduce libido. Another factor is “environmental comfort”. A bedroom too close to the kids’ bedroom, or one not designed to facilitate intimacy, may contribute to your partner not having any desire to do it.

Technology may also play a factor. According to De Villers, using your phone while you’re with your partner detracts from your interactions, and makes for a worse sexual experience.

When should you go to an expert?

This discussion can be very hard to have. In cases where one-on-one exchange is ineffective, looking for an outsider expert, for example, a couples’ specialist or a sex advisor, may be beneficial.

If you think that the emotions are too strong, and there’s defensiveness, and paradoxically, rather than with your partner, it’s simpler to talk with a stranger. And it can actually make all the difference.

What are the health benefits of regular sex?

Having regular sex offers both physical and psychological benefits.

According to a study in 2010, regular sex helps sleep and has cardiovascular benefits as men with active sex lives are less likely to develop heart disease, and it has benefits for the prostate, says Kanaris.

Sex releases endorphins and makes a sentiment of closeness between you and your partner, says Mary Andres, a University of Southern California professor in marriage and family therapy.

Kanaris also shares that sexual intimacy does not only foster a feeling of well-being, it also benefits the immune system.