For many women, the area "down there" is a bit of a mystery, and a big reason is that our most personal questions can be hard -- or just too embarrassing -- to ask our doctors. In her new book, Ask Dr. Marie: Straight Talk & Reassuring Answers to Your Most Private Questions, Marie Savard, M.D., ABC News Medical Contributor, explains what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to women's health.
Read the excerpt below to see Dr. Marie’s answers to the private questions you've always wanted to ask.
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How Often is Often Enough?
Most people think other people are having more sex than they are. In truth, the only people having a whole lot of sex are those in that dizzying first phase of romantic love when you are literally drugged by your own hormones and just can’t keep your hands off each other. There’s an old saying that goes, "Before you get married, put a bead in a big jar every time you have sex. Soon you will fill the jar. After you get married, take out a bead every time you have sex. You will never empty that jar." Scientifically, the reason this is true is that when you move from the giddy throes of falling in love to the comfy Sunday-morning-with-pancakes-and-the-paper stage of a relationship, a different hormone takes over. You don’t get a rush of adrenaline and other inner opiates that makes you crave a sexual encounter anymore. What you do get is a steady stream of the bonding hormone oxytocin. (It’s the same one that pumps copiously when a woman is in labor or breastfeeding.) In other words, the neighbors probably aren’t doing it any more than you are if you’ve been together for a while -- and that’s just fine.
Here is some hard data about the frequency of sexual encounters. According to a University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center General Survey in 2005, the number of reported episodes of intercourse go down with each decade of life:
Ages 18–29: a mean of 84 episodes per year
Ages 30–39: a mean of 80 episodes per year
Ages 40–49: a mean of 63.5 episodes per year
Ages 50–59: a mean of 45.8 episodes per year
Ages 60–69: a mean of 27.1 episodes per year
Ages 70 and older: a mean of 10.4 episodes per year
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