Remember in January when all the go-getters released their “resolutions” into the Internet void: “lose weight,” “be more thankful,” “drink more water”? Sure, these are all well, good, and healthy, but what about having more sex?
A robust sex life with a committed partner has multiple health benefits, but research shows the average couple only has it once a week and it doesn’t last long. For life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, isn’t it time we paid more attention to our sex lives, or lack thereof?
Everybody Has Five Minutes
A study released last year, of 30,000 couples gathered over 40 years, published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, found sex about “once a week” was the magic number for a happy sex life, and increasing that number didn’t necessarily increase happiness, although lowering the number did (duh!).
Of course, not having sex can cause a range of issues for a couple, from low self-esteem, anger, and depression to resentment, stress, and the temptation to cheat. There are myriad reasons why couples don’t do it much. Could one of those be because the quality is less than stellar?
Brendan Zietsch, a psychologist from the University of Queensland, wanted to try to figure out how long couples had sex. When he examined the latest research he found, umm, penetration to you know what can last from 33 seconds to 44 minutes, but the median time was a whopping 5.4 minutes.
Of course, a five-minute romp in the sack could work for busy couples who put off sex for lack of time. I mean, who can’t squeeze five minutes in a closet somewhere? That said, it can take some women up to 20 minutes to, er, feel fantastic, so if your sex life has been waning, it may be due to the brevity and quality.
Sex Should Be an Important Part of Life
If sex is so good for us, why don’t we do it more? Or longer? Or okay, fine, I’ll say it: better? Sex can be quite complicated. Not the act per se, but as it relates to the whole of the human experience, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. Stress, work, hormones, rest, previous partners, and upbringing all play a role in how a person perceives sex.
On the other hand, many people, especially women, make sex too complicated. Due to the way women are wired—as multi-tasking beings with every thought relating to another—we can make up excuses to avoid sex because we want to avoid our significant other, we don’t feel good about ourselves, or we just would rather Netflix and chill. Remember the guy who was so frustrated with his sex life he kept track of his advances—and his wife’s pathetic refusals—on a spreadsheet? I couldn’t help but read her excuses and roll my eyes. However, perhaps he needed to step up his game, too.
Admittedly, I rest on the higher range of the scale for female libido. If I knew every time I had sex it was going to last a mere five minutes—heck, I take showers that last longer than that—I may not avoid it but I may not enter coital arrangement with excitement. Quickies are fun, but man cannot live on appetizers alone. One must taste a full-course dinner regularly and with enthusiasm, no?
Sex Can Be Mind Over Matter
Barring cases where a man or woman has been sexually abused, a woman has endured the emotional trauma of abortion, or if either experiences pain during sex, all of which should be addressed gently and regularly with proper medical care, much of sex is as much mental as it is physical, perhaps more, at least to start.
As I wrote last year, during The Federalist’s sex week:
In addition to the external pull of her husband, multiple battles rage within most women. There is her own biological and hormonal clock–for many approaching a woman near her premenstrual cycle is akin to doing a bomb sweep: You may come away clean and happy you’re alive, or you may suffer the consequences of the ticking device. Women don’t like this about themselves any more than guys do.
If quality of sex is what’s keeping women from wanting more, she must find a way to gently relay this to her man. By gently, I mean, pretend your husband’s ego is an atomic bomb and approach it with the same deftness and clarity, with togetherness and enjoyment as the goal, not blame. One female friend I know peruses library books to get ideas and proposes them to her husband, which accomplishes this goal without making him feel insulted.
Now men, instead of getting defensive, this is where you can embrace your full bravado, eschew the rags urging folks no sex is the new normal, learn those tips and tricks to self-control and pleasure zones until she’d rather spend an hour with you than with the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” because it’s just that much more delicious.
If the sexual experience between a couple is only lasting five minutes because she lies there like a sack of potatoes, women, embrace your inner vixen and do what is necessary beforehand to be ready to engage in fun, inhibition-free sex. Whether this is communicating throughout the day, wearing something sexy, or putting the kids to bed early, aren’t these small measures worth a more pleasurable—hopefully longer!—experience?
If we spend more time on social media or watching the game than pursuing a happy, healthy sexual relationship, it’s no wonder it only lasts five minutes once a week. But this doesn’t mean it has to stay this way, and at least you know working toward something better will, at the very least, be fun.