Why Sex Twice A Week Won't Save Your Marriage

Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy go hand in hand.

Last updated on Jun 01, 2024

PG intimacy in marriage Jacob Lund | Canva

Can having sex more each week "save" your marriage and transform it from so-so to sensational? Conventional wisdom says doing it twice a week is the magic number. I'm not so sure. 

Though research does suggest that happy couples are intimate two or three times a week, I believe that putting an unhappy couple (especially one with different libidos) on a set schedule is potentially a recipe for disaster. When I work with clients who are unhappy in their relationships, intimacy in marriage is always one of the topics that always comes up. Either he wants it too often, or she complains he isn't interested enough (it's not just men who want more of it!).  


Mismatched libidos cause stress in a relationship, but that stress isn't relieved by pressuring the couple into having sex several times a week. In fact, bowing to an outside arbitrary number just adds more strain and disconnect. Because the truth is, there's no one way to answer, "How much intimacy is normal in a healthy marriage?" Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong believer in frequent intimacy! But who's to say that you can't have gourmet intimacy once a month and feel happy? 

Why having sex twice a week won't save your marriage, and what to do instead.

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When I work with a client who's not satisfied with their love life, we usually dig into the "why" behind the issue before digging into the frequency of intercourse. First and foremost, let's be honest here: When we are intimate, we are satisfying the primal needs of human connection. Now, I know that gender differences aren't always exact, but let me share some general observations based on my own personal experience, my research, and the work I do with my clients. I also know that when an emotional topic, like intimacy, is on the table, it helps to step back and apply some logic to the situation.

@innerwarriorcoaching And being best friends with your spouse is so important, but with no intimacy is not that much fun.Drop a comment if you agree.👇 . . #marriage #partners #husbandwife #intimacy @Ed Mylett #friendship #fyp #quote #explorepage #tiktok ♬ original sound - Innerwarriorcoaching

Here's the truth — Men "need" physical intimacy to feel. In society, men are regularly told that "boys don't cry", "real men are strong," and "real men control their emotions." 

Historically, men shoulder the task of going out into the wild to provide food and shelter for their families. Men go into battle to defend the kingdom. "The Job" for men is to protect and provide, and to do this effectively, they need to shut down emotions and feelings. When a man is intimate, he is able to feel something positive again. He is able to open his heart and feel emotions and he's able to connect to his own humanity, so to speak.

What men are often unable to say is that cuddling next to you — both before and after doing it — allows them a moment's freedom from being the strong man society expects. He recharges his strength and comfort from the feel of your body against him. He finally lets down his inhibitions. He can surrender. Though during the act of intercourse, a man is hard and strong, entering a woman allows him to experience not only her warmth and softness, but his own. 


Intimacy allows a man to feel loved, accepted, supported, and masculine. Women "need" safety and connection to open up intimately.

RELATED: 10 Intimacy Tips Every Woman Should Know After 10 Years Of Marriage

Though women more easily access feelings and emotions (by talking, writing, and reading), even strong women feel more secure in a relationship when she is able to safely express her vulnerability. Women usually want to communicate and connect on an emotional level before they're "ready" to connect on a physical level. Doing so allows them to test the soundness of their safety with you at that moment. As a result, it's not unusual for a woman to "withhold" intimacy from her partner if she isn't feeling emotionally connected.

And don't think I don't get it! When a couple is intimate, the woman is physically open, and all entrance into her body (her temple). A man hungers for it, because he wants to reconnect and share love. Women hunger for it, too … but often they want emotional fulfillment and communication before they willingly surrender to the physical aspects of intimacy. So, falling into a cycle of no intimacy can happen easily. I will never tell you that you should be intimate when you don't want to — I would, however, ask you to ponder if you use it as a part of control in your relationship.

Surprised? There is a lot of power in intimacy, and being the person who says "yes" or "no" wields tremendous power in your relationship. But, are you using that power for the good of everyone involved — including your own physical and mental health (and your partner's)? Or are you using intimacy to keep him in line? Are you using physical intimacy to punish or reward her for meeting your expectations? (Often, expectations you've never even discussed).


RELATED: 5 Tiny Ways To Reignite Your Marriage When The Intimacy Is Gone

I'll tell you from personal experience that withholding it on either partner's part as a way to "punish" the other partner ultimately leads to the demise of your relationship. Withholding intimacy breaks the bond of trust and intimacy between people ... and without trust, your relationship is without a foundation. So, what's the solution when a couple is struggling with mismatched libidos or even an intimacy-less marriage? Throw out the idea that doing it twice a week will magically "fix" your relationship. Instead, what if you experimented for the next 30 days with intimacy?

What if you open yourself to the real possibility of intimacy any time your partner makes advances of any sort? What if you initiate it on occasion? What if you open yourself up to being genuinely kinder to your partner? What if, instead of trying to maintain control, you allow yourself to lose control and receive love and pleasure from your partner? 

If the 'frequency of intimacy' issues is already a stressor in your relationship, I know that my 3-day suggestion likely makes you feel all kinds of vulnerable. But within vulnerability, we can reach our greatest potential for true intimacy, authentic connection, and deeper happiness.


RELATED: 11 Simple Habits That Create Deep Intimacy With The Person You Love Most

Debra Smouse is a life coach and author whose work has been published in TIME, Huffington Post, MSN, Psychology Today, and more.