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How Often Do Couples Really Have Sex Based on Science?

Sophie Simons
January 26, 2024

Sex is often a vital component of many of our romantic relationships, and many people can’t go without being intimate with their partner. But how often are people and their significant others getting under the covers? There’s plenty of research that has gone into crunching the numbers on one of humanity’s most practiced pastimes.

20's

As the youngest age group, it’s no wonder that those in their 20s are having the most sex. Men and women in their 20s are having the most frequent sex compared to other age groups, averaging 80 times a year or about twice a week.

However, the difference between those in their early 20s and their late 20s is quite noticeable. Around 55% of men and women younger than 25 reported having sex within the month, as opposed to 62% for those 25 and up.

Interestingly enough, this age bracket is also the one with the most greenhorns, with 25% of young people having no sexual exploits before age 24.

30's

Even well into their 30s, most people have no problem with getting some action. About 63% of women reported having sex within the past month, as compared to 71% of men. This age group will average about 86 times a year in terms of sexual activity.

Though not as impressive as people in their 20s, arguably, this population is the one that has already begun to settle down with a stable job and a family of their own, making them more busy and less available to fool around.

40's

The golden age of 40 is still one of intimacy and exploration for this population, with individuals going at it around 69 times a year. On average, there were 55% of women and 60% of men still reporting sex within the month. While it’s a bit of a dip from the 30s group, nonetheless, people are slowing down but definitely not stopping.

50's

Starting at the age of 50, the importance given to sex and how often it's done begins to visibly decline. In fact, the largest declines are found in this age bracket, with only 40% of men and women reporting sex in a month.

In research conducted with individuals aged 50 to 90 years, those who neither had a current sexual partner nor believed they would have another partner in their lifetimes stated that they placed ‘very little’ to ‘no importance’ towards sex.

In contrast, respondents who had a current sexual partner rated sex to be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. Those with health problems or who had been widowed were also less likely to place importance on sexual activity.

It was also easier for the older populations to give aging as the reason for their declining libido and interest, giving them a way to cope with the changes happening as they aged.

60's

If you’re a part of the younger generation, it may never have crossed your mind that your elders might still be getting some action. After a survey, they found that those in their 60s were still getting busy 20 times a year on average, which is 40% of men and 30% of women having sex within the past month.

70's

The silent generation that was born in the 1930s actually reported having the most frequent sex when they were still young and active. Studies found that people nowadays don’t have as much sexual curiosity as their grandparents did, though you wouldn’t really believe it, considering how topics like sex are more out in the open in the modern era.

Back then, it was difficult to find contraception, so this generation often had many children. You’ll probably know a grandparent or two who had several offspring and even more grandkids. However, nowadays, only 40% of men and half the amount of women are reporting having had any sexual activity in a whole year.

Newlyweds

We would think of newlyweds as getting the most action in the bedroom, considering all the excitement and romance of a fresh marriage. And we would be right, as newlywed couples are one of the populations having the highest rates of sex. It’s almost important to note that just like how sex declines over the years, so does sex decline as the marriage continues to mature over time in both frequency and quality. 

Researchers have found that the frequency of sex among married couples can depend on different factors from before they were married. For example, the longer that couples cohabitated and the longer their courtship periods were before marriage, the less frequent their sexual activity was at the beginning stages of marriage.

In terms of declining sex over time, having children together before marriage, as well as having longer courtship periods, correlated to a more leveled and less sudden decline in sex.

How often couples have sex across all age brackets

In trends that may shock a lot of people, it was found that Americans were having less sex within recent decades compared to the older generations. Compared to the late 1990s, people in the US were having 9 times less sex in the 2010s, and the trend was expected to keep going down over time.

In 2002, the average American was doing the horizontal tango about 64 times a year on average. But the number dropped to 53 in 2014. That’s only once a week! After they checked the factors, they found that it was mainly due to how fewer people these days were getting married or had steady, committed partnerships.

It didn’t have any relation to how much porn people were watching or how busy they were at work if you’re wondering. Overall, sexual frequency is at an all-time low for all ages and generations and may continue in a slow descent.

Does being married make a difference? Do you have more or less sex?

In general, being married does seem to indicate you’d be having more sex than unmarried people. While you’d think people without the commitment would be able to sleep around a lot more, you’d be mistaken. Records show that about 47% of American couples have sex less than once a week.

So, it wasn’t necessarily because married people were having more sex frequently; it was that they were staying together for longer. Unpartnered people were having more sex but often didn’t stay together long enough to beat the average for married or partnered couples.

Additionally, the frequency of your sexual activities doesn’t influence your happiness in marriage. Scientists found that couples having more sex on average and less were equal in levels of happiness overall.

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Sophie Simons

Sophie Simons is a leading psychologist with a passion for enriching relationships. Through empathetic counseling and insightful guidance, she empowers couples and individuals to foster deeper connections, resolve conflicts, and create lasting harmony. Sophie's expertise in relationship advice has touched countless lives, making her a trusted source for building fulfilling partnerships.

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