Updated: Apr 4
A recent article in NYT, "Setting Couples on the Path to a Richer Sex Life" by Alix Strauss, set me on a path of searching through multiple resources published online, talking to friends, and sifting through a lot of statistics.
I was looking for an answer to a simple question: How much sex should I have in midlife? What is too often, and what is not often enough? What is the healthy amount?
The most common scenario was anywhere between 1 to 5 times per week. That’s a big spread.
I tried to narrow it down. It appears that middle-aged men think about having sex 5-7 times per week and would be satisfied with having one about 3-5 times per week. Middle-aged women think about sex 3-5 times per week and would be happy with having sex 3-5 times per week.
"There is a big difference between sex and intimacy," said Cyndi Darnell, a sex therapist interviewed in the article mentioned above. "Not everyone wants sex with intimacy or intimacy with sex." She further commented on other misconceptions about intimacy and sex: “That good sex is spontaneous, simultaneous, and mutually orgasmic – that’s a lie. That sex is intercourse – also a lie. That desire is essential to have good sex. It’s not. And that men and women are profoundly different, not true.”
Hmmm, a lot to ponder about.
Many resources for middle-aged women are very vocal about the "Use it or lose it" mantra when discussing sex during perimenopause and menopause. Sexual arousal and orgasm improve the blood flow to your sex organs. This improved blood flow can reduce vaginal atrophy or lessen its severity. More blood flow also reduces dryness which helps maintain a healthy vagina.
Having sex more often (solo or partnered) is crucial for encouraging healthy blood flow to the vaginal tissues. That, in turn, keeps tissues stretchier and more lubricated, which can make intimacy more comfortable./1./
Well, friends, if we want to stay healthy, we need to try to have sex every other day. Spontaneous or not, ready or not. Put it on your daily schedule, like going to the gym or walking. You know what I mean, 3000 steps per day. You might not always feel like going to the gym. Still, you will go because you know it's healthy and good for you, and when you are there, you will start liking it, and when you are finished, you will be happy and satisfied and return for more. Unless your gym instructor sucks, and in that case, please read my infidelity blog post before you jump onto any wild and crazy adventure.
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