“Is that normal?”
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What’s normal in a relationship-- and what’s not-- is the subject of a new book called The Normal Bar by Chrisana Northrup, Pepper Schwartz and James Witte. It’s filled with advice and trends among couples on a variety of topics... including how often they have sex.
According to The Normal Bar’s authors, 40 percent of couples surveyed say they have sex three or four times a week. When you read a statistic like this, it might elicit a strong response. If you and your partner fall in that range, you probably feel reassured. If you two don’t have sex that often, then maybe you start to worry. If you have sex more than three or four times a week, maybe you feel proud and grateful or possibly you are concerned and ask yourself...
“Are we normal?!”
No matter how alternative each of us thinks we are, to fall outside what is said to be the “norm” can cause concern. The underlying question of “Is that normal?” is “What’s gone wrong?”
There is an assumption that if your sex life does not fall in the “normal” range, there is something potentially dangerous going on. Having less frequent sex “has” to mean that there isn’t attraction, that you and your partner have drifted apart or that one of you is having an affair, doesn’t it?!
We don’t think the authors of this book are trying to make anyone wrong! In fact, their stated intention is to help people improve their relationship and be happier.
It’s important to recognize when you’re comparing yourself and your relationship to others and making a pronouncement that either things are “good” or “bad” because of what you think you see. This is not a healthy or helpful habit if you want more connection and intimacy in your own relationship.
When you compare, it’s likely that you’re going to perceive another person’s relationship or even what’s “normal” incorrectly. There’s a lot of the picture that you’re not getting!
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Studies sometimes reflect what’s going on for only a small slice of a particular population. Circumstances might be very different for those surveyed than what is going on in your life. When you see a “blissfully in love” couple walking down the street and deem your relationship to be lacking in comparison, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and pain. Who knows what is true for this couple most of the time.
Honor what’s “normal” for you.