Do all the opinions on how much sex you should have take the focus away from what really matters?
Sex sex sex sex sex. It seems one can hardly go a day without being bombarded by notions of how much and what kind of sex we should have. Dr. Oz tells us that in a healthy relationship partners have sex three times a week, and it seems like Cosmo will never run out of new sex positions to offer us (I mean, seriously--how many can there be?). Then throw in 50 Shades of Grey, The Bachelor Born-Again Virgin, and it eventually becomes a FACT: sex is the only and most important barometer of a relationship.
Now, a new study from US News suggests that people who have more sex than their friends are happier. So instead of just hearing everyone in the media tell me how much sex to have, now I’m supposed to ask my friends too???
If you’re like me--two young kids, busy husband, and only beginning to transition back to sleeping in the same bed with him all night every night--then all the pressure about how much sex to have can feel overwhelming.
And, lets face it. Its hard to find a long-term relationship in which there hasn’t been a dry spell from time to time. After my son was born, round-the-clock breastfeeding combined with 12-hour work days made it so that the last thing I wanted was someone touching me. And when my husband was recently dealing with way too much work stress, we barely kissed--let alone asked our friends what their bedroom romp routine looked like.
More importantly, with all the emphasis on sex we can lose sight of what actually makes a relationship last for the long term. Now don’t get me wrong--I like sex as much as the next person (as long as the next person isn’t a Playboy Playmate without kids), but there are so many things that I value in my relationship that it short-changes my marriage to judge it on the frequency of sex alone.
If happiness is what you are looking for, then judging your marriage, happiness, wealth, children, or quality of sex life against someone else’s is a recipe for disaster. You can almost always find someone who you think is better looking, has a nicer house, or is more sexually satisfied than you are. And dissatisfaction with your life can lead to even lower libidos.
So instead of worrying or complaining about whether my sex life is as robust as Hugh Heffner’s, I’ve decided that I am in charge of my happiness and satisfaction. Many studies show that cultivating gratitude about what you do have in your life is a much surer road to bliss than comparing yourself to others. In my relationship, I am grateful for many things, and when I remember to consider them, I feel happy.