Other Free Encyclopedias » Marriage and Family Encyclopedia » Relationships » Marital Sex - Beliefs About Marital Sexuality, Sexual Frequency, The Decline Of Sexual Frequency Over Time, Sexual Practices And Preferences

Marital Sex - The Decline Of Sexual Frequency Over Time

family couples age month levels

The frequency with which couples engage in sex is affected both by the partners' ages and by the duration of their relationship. In general, older couples have sex less frequently than younger couples. For example, sociologist Vaughn Call and colleagues (1995) surveyed over six thousand married people living in the United States and reported that sexual activity was highest among the youngest respondents (those ranging in age from nineteen to twenty-nine, who had sex approximately ten to twelve times per month), became progressively lower in older age groups (e.g., four to seven times a month among forty- and fifty-yearolds), and reached its nadir among respondents in their seventies (who engaged in intercourse with their spouses less than twice a month). The majority of studies also find that the longer couples have been married, the less often they have sex (Rao and DeMaris 1995; Samson et al. 1991). This decline may be greatest during the first year or the first few years of the relationship. For example, William James (1981) analyzed diaries kept by newlywed couples over the course of their first year of marriage. Couples reported having sex on seventeen or more occasions during their first month of married life; however, by the end of the year, their rate of intercourse had declined to approximately eight times a month.

Because these two age-related factors are linked—as a relationship ages, so do the partners—it is difficult to know for certain whether it is chronological age that causes the decline in sexual frequency or habituation from being with the same sex partner year after year. Both factors probably play a role in producing lowered levels of sexual activity. For example, as men and women age, changes in their physical abilities, increased incidence of illness, and negative attitudes about sex in the elderly may contribute to a less active sex life. At the same time, the loss of novelty that results from having sexual intercourse with the same individual may reduce levels of activity.

Various events that occur during the course of a couple's relationship also are associated with changes in sexual frequency, including factors related to birth control and pregnancy (e.g., lack of interest during pregnancy), to children and child care (e.g., lack of privacy, fatigue), and to work (e.g., heavy work schedules, fatigue) (Greenblat 1983). All of these factors may play a role in limiting a couple's desire and opportunity for sex. Of course, some couples return to previous levels of sexual activity once they adjust to their circumstances or after the situation resolves itself. Other couples, however, become comfortable with the lowered levels of intercourse; they may cease to have sex altogether and/or they increasingly may engage in nonsexual forms of affection and contact.


Marital Sex - Sexual Practices And Preferences [next] [back] Marital Sex - Sexual Frequency

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

My wife and I have been married for 34 years, we are both 58. We make it a priority to stay in shape and eat right

We have sex approximately 3 times per week and really make love about 3-4 times per month.

It's the best it's ever been.

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

I am 71 and my wife is 70 and we have been married 46 years. We have sex now about 2-3 times a week. Cialis helps a bit. It is more difficult getting the wife to orgasm now. That may be both our faults. But we still enjoy the activity. We agree on a time, say around 9pm. Then I pop a Cialis an hour or two before.

Vote down Vote up

over 6 years ago

I married my wife when I was 21. She was 25. After two months of being married we were having sex on average about 3-4 times a months. After being married for 2 years, we were having sex less than once a month. 8 years later our 8th is a few weeks away. We still have sex on an average of once per month. It has been a very troublsome issue for me. She found that I had been looking at porn on the computer recently and our marriage is on the rocks because I "cheated" on her. Now, I am simply trying to explain to her how much I have had to endure... Which brings me to this page.

Vote down Vote up

almost 2 years ago

Hi I'm ruben.my wife and I we have been together for 15 years.our sex life used to be 2 to 3 times a week.but here lately it has change big time.now is only once every two weeks.she is on ww. Diet .can that be a factor.to her not to have desire for sex.plus she works full time and we have to kids.she told me no long ago that she is not sexually attractive to me.I don't think that's the problem.because anytime we have sex she only last about 5 minutes and done.I think is fatigue from our busy outrage.

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

My husbadn and I are nearly fifty and we rarely have sex. He always tells me he is too tired. I have had to resort to using a vibrator alone to satisifiy my urges. He is happy with having sex one every two months. So it's about six times a year. He is loving in lots of other ways, just not that interested in sex. When I look back at our relationship I realize I have usally been the initiator.

Vote down Vote up

almost 5 years ago

My husband and I have, besides the first months while dating and some sporadic vacation tima, always had intercourse once a month or every 2/3 months. Though I have always thought this was a problem since we used to leave far away I found myself a sort of justification blaming the distance/time factor.

In the last two years I moved in my husband's town and I hoped the situation could change. Unfortunately, the situation has worsened...we have intercourse every 3/4 months and it is not satisfying for me because I feel frustrated and I don't feel to be passionate and partecipative. This situation is becoming more and more frustrating and what's even worse is that my husband says that it is not a problem for him and that this is the way he lives sex life. He had two meetings with a psychologist and he decided that it was helpful enough in our relationship but it is not true.

I absolutely need to know if it is normal and, most of all, if this can be the cause of some of my physical problems (shoulder/back pain, sense of emptiness/sadness).

Thanks in advance for your help.

L

Vote down Vote up

over 6 years ago

My wife and I are both 75 and have been married 47 years. Our sexual frequency has pretty well remained flat throughout our marriage, two or three times a week. We solve the ED problem with a vacuum pump.

Vote down Vote up

over 7 years ago

I have always been sexually active. At age 53 I began my current 23 year relationship with my wife. I kept a record and for the first 6 years, we had intercourse an average of 5.8x per week. There was no significant decline during that period. Thereafter there was a gradual decrease. At age 76 we have relations about once a week. Erectile disfunction is the main reason.

Vote down Vote up

over 7 years ago

in my situation I am totaly at fault and the reason for our sexual decline is I htink because of more that a few outside relationships on my part, totaly physical and in most cases being far from home. I can see that there is and will always be a knd of, "Neverending Question" about those relationships with in my wife's mind. I love her and I am thankful that she has endured and wants to stay married to me, but at what cost to her and\or myself?

Vote down Vote up

about 3 years ago

Decline in women starts early an vary: from first time of sex to about 3-5 years they are active and it's pleasurable. it declines thereafter but can easily be aroused.

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

I really think the problem is simply biological. As awomen ages her chances of pregenancy and reproduction are deminished. Natuarly, her sex drive goes right out the window. However, we men can allways spread our DNA at any age!!! So, I dread to think the sexual frequency reported by other guys here is bogis or simply spousal rape!

Vote down Vote up

about 3 years ago

Decline in women starts early an vary: from first time of sex to about 3-5 years they are active and it's pleasurable. it declines thereafter but can easily be aroused.