We Have Sex Once A Week. Is That Normal? [Mailbag]
According to Contemporary Sexuality magazine there are an estimated 10 million men in sexless, heterosexual marriages. And according to the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, it used to be more common for women to be the low desire partner. But now they estimate that in 55% of the marriages, it’s the man who is just not that into it. The increase in men with low desire could be from the fact that more than ever, men are more willing to admit and seek help.
In 2008, Bob Berkowitz and Susan Yager-Berkowitz published the results of their survey of over 1,300 men who identified as no longer having sex with their spouses. The respondents listed several reasons for their loss of interest in sex, some of which included emotional struggles with things like depression and anger. Others reported they began avoiding sex because of problems with sexual functioning (e.g., erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, or rapid ejaculation) and eventually lost interest in sex altogether. And while many men initially suspect their loss of libido might be a result of low testosterone, research findings, such as those reported by Sari van Anders in the May, 2012 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, continue to suggest this is more often not the case.” — Contemporary Sexuality September-October 2012 Vol. 46, No.8
Dr. Dr. Patti,
I am 31 years old and my husband is soon to be 35. We have sex about once a week if that. Is that normal? Do you usually see that in couples?
When I try to talk to him about it he says he’s tired, or it might be his depression and he has diabetes too. It just seems every time I go to talk to him about it he has some excuse.
I was just wondering if this was normal in a marriage or if you hear about this? We have been together 4 1/2 years.
Thanks so much.
Thanks for writing.
I must tell you there is no normal when it comes to things like this.
What strikes me about your letter as unusual however, is that your husband has two medical conditions. Please check with your medical care provider to see that his abilities to get erections and optimize libido are considered. Sometimes new medications, or a change in medications, can be very helpful in restoring sex drive for a man when this is the case.
Sex once a week for someone who is struggling with these things might actually reveal how much he cares for you in the face of how tired or even sick he might feel (not sure how serious his depression or diabetes is?). See what you can do to help him feel better, if you can. While medical options are explored, some empathy for his condition may also go a long way in relieving some of his possible performance anxiety and help generate the intimacy that leads to sensuality. Often that is gratifying in itself, and often, that leads to sexuality. I always say the best goals are pleasure and connection, and out of that all kinds of fun things can arise.
While I wrote Seduction Trilogy for men to use with women, I think the information in there would work very well for you too, woman to man. Things I talk about include Small offers, Vulnerability (which includes safe ways to talk about things like this), and Attention and good judgment (noticing his moods to pick the right times and places (women are great at this kind of thing)). This seduction energy is catchy as well as gratifying and he might like it so much he’ll turn around and want to learn how to use my four Keys to Seduction on you. Medical conditions and all. How cool would that be?
Best of luck,