Sex And Your Long-Term Relationship. Not Enough Or Too Much?

A study published this month by Australian researchers finds that both men and women are unhappy by the frequency of sex they’re having (or not having) in long-term relationships.

“The real issue here, I think, is that couples are not finding enough time for sex,’’ said Dr. Smith. “I don’t think you can keep forcing more and more activities in people’s lives and still expect them to take the time it takes to have sex, let alone good-quality sex.”

Read the New York Times article here. And please leave your comments below. Will you change anything about the way you currently talk to your partner about sex?

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Comments:

  1. 31
    starthrower68

    @Sharon #30,

    Well if your analogy is correct, hopefully this sexually repugnant boyfriend has lots of money to make up for his lack of sex appeal.  If that sounds crass, that’s how I read what you are saying.  Evan has said it many times: a man wants a woman who wants HIM. 

  2. 32
    Goldie

    @ Margo #31:
     
    “Never again will I become involved with a man who has ED.”
     
    I have a few comments on this one…
     
    1) From what I hear, with this rule, you will eliminate pretty much anyone over 45, maybe 40, even. (I’m 43 as well, and prefer to date within my age group.)
     
    2) There are pills for that! Work like a charm.
     
    3) Realistically, how will you find out if a guy does or does not have ED? Cannot very well ask him about it on your first date, can you? You won’t know until the two of you are pretty heavily involved.

  3. 33
    sharon

    @Starthrower
    I would not choose to be with someone for the sake of being with someone. However, I don’t feel bad for men that choose women that aren’t attracted to them. If a man wants a trophy and a lady is jaded enough to choose comfort over love instead of the single life, I’m not judging.

  4. 34
    Goldie

    @ Karl #34:
     
    25% of men never have ED.”
     
    Wow. Visions of my future life in a nursing home just got a lot more exciting, thank you! :D

  5. 35
    Sarah

    Selena,
     
    If I make a commitment to someone, I am not going to run off with someone else.  I tend to bond with an individual over time.  If you think I would throw away my family because I find someone else good looking, you don’t know me.  Oh, wait; that’s right, you DON’T know me!  So you can stop with the judging, hmm?
     
    Starthrower can’t speak for all men, including my guy.  If my bf is willing to be with me under the circumstances, that’s his choice, whether Starthrower would make the same choice or not.
     
    Starthrower, it looks to me like you’re just trying to pick apart my words.  Anyone, male or female, who is trying to make a good impression when on a date is trying to earn the other’s favor.  If you don’t like my choice of words then feel free to substitute your own reasonable words to the same effect.  Dating is a process of getting to know someone and deciding whether or not s/he is right for you.  The person makes a good impression, or not.  He or she wins you over, or not.  You don’t start out giving love freely to the other person.  That takes time.
     
    Of course love has to be earned; you’re not going to freely give love to a hateful lunatic.  (Are you?!)

  6. 36
    Karl R

    Sarah said: (#37)
    “Starthrower, it looks to me like you’re just trying to pick apart my words.”

    That’s not the kind of person starthrower68 is.

    As a man, I don’t enter a relationship seeing if I can “win over” and “earn” the love of the woman I’m dating. I enter it to see if we are a good match for each other.

    Your words are the vehicle by which you express your thoughts. If you chose your words poorly, feel free to rephrase in a more accurate manner. But I have to concur with starthrower68, if you tell a man that you expect him to earn your love, I think most self-respecting men won’t bother to call you again.

  7. 37
    starthrower68

    Sarah, you may mean things one way.  But the man you’re dating may perceive it as another.

  8. 38
    starthrower68

    Oh, and btw Sarah, God loves the hateful lunatic.  And we’re called to love one another the way God loves us.  You don’t have to stay with the hateful lunatic, but hate the sin not the sinner.  Evan has told us more than once how the love Mrs. Katz loves him unconditionally and that’s one of the reasons he married her.  Sorry for the double post, EMK….

  9. 39
    Margo

    @Goldie #23, Karl is right, you are incorrect on point 1, in fact, you are incorrect on all your points.

    1) There are men well into their sixties who don’t have ED.

    2) Medications don’t work on all men. They didn’t work for the guy I was dating. According to him, his doctors told him there was nothing they could do for him surgically either.

    3) “How do I expect to find out if a guy does or does not have ED? An honest conversation, that’s how. No, I don’t expect this conversation to take place on the first date-unless we plan to have sex, then I do. I do, however, expect this conversation to occur when we our having the “exclusive” conversation and before we have sex.

    @Karl #34, Yes, I’m aware that a man can develop ED after we are involved. Anybody can develop almost any disease or disorder. Still, I would rather know if the man has that condition before I become involved, not after. In short, I don’t want to be decieved.

    @ Sarah #2, I know I made a point to you about your situation with this guy on another thread, but after reading your post here, my conclusion is you’re not being fair to him. You are USING him. You don’t really want hm for him; you want him for what he can do for you. Have some integrity and let him go to find the woman that will really love him, and not just settle for him. Don’t do this to him, or yourself.

  10. 40
    hunter

    doesn’t the golden rule apply here, “once the money diminishes in a relationship so does the sex”?

  11. 41
    Jadafisk

    Um… men reach their salary/career zenith in middle age, which is the same time they start to experience a sexual drought in their marriages.

  12. 42
    Sarah

    Good grief, people.  You’re very skilled at twisting things — I suspect because it’s easier than admitting that the person you’re ganging up on maybe isn’t really all that bad.
     
    I will say a few things to defend myself, and then leave since I’m growing weary of being sniped at.
     
    Karl 38, I don’t know Starthrower from Adam.  All I know of him/her is how s/he presents him/herself — the words s/he uses.  Kinda what you picked on me for, hmm?
     
    I don’t TELL my date that I expect him to win me over.  Everybody knows that when you go on a date, you’re supposed to try to make a good impression.  Everybody knows that when you ask someone out, it’s probably because you’re interested in that person and you’d like her to become interested in you too.  Of course it’s also to see if there’s compatibility, but be honest: you don’t ask out just anyone who could conceivably be compatible: you ask out one you find attractive.  And then you hope that, if it goes well, she’ll find you attractive too.  And that will be based on your behavior, inter alia.
     
    Finally, Karl, my guy keeps coming back.  (Most guys I’ve dated have kept coming back, again and again.)  By your standards I guess they have no self-respect, eh?  Either that or they’re getting the real me, and not the twisted and picked-apart version that people online have decided to believe in because they’d rather harp on semantics than give any thought to what is obviously my true meaning.
     
    Starthrower 40, whether God loves someone has nothing to do with this.  I can’t believe it’s even necessary to explain this to you.  Would you date a criminal because God loves him/her?  Would you date someone who lies and deceives and cheats and etc. etc. because God loves him/her?  Don’t play dumb; you know this discussion is about dating, not about whether someone is going to heaven.  Are you that desperate to stick to your original argument against me?  For real?
     
    It’s hard to believe I’m the only one here who believes that it’s normal to try to make a good impression on a date (especially one you requested), and to expect the person who asked you out to try to make a good impression on you.  What kind of community have I stumbled into here?!
     
     

  13. 43
    Sarah

    Margo,
     
    I thought I explained, but I will try one last time.  It is possible that I will grow to love this guy.  It happened at least once before with a man I initially found unattractive.  As I see it, the point of dating is to find out if you get along and can love each other; I am still in the “undecided” phase.  I haven’t decided I’ll never love him, or that I will.  I don’t know.  You are wrong to say I want him for what he can do for me rather than for himself.  No; I am with him because it’s possible that I will develop genuine feelings for him.  If I could know for sure that I never will, I’d  walk away and never look back.  If I just wanted someone for what he could do for me, well, I could have had a millionaire, but I didn’t….
     
    I am not at all convinced that I am using him.  I have always been completely honest with him.  If I were just out to lay claim to him for my own purposes, I would pretend to care more than I do.  I don’t pretend anything.  He knows what he’s getting with me, so if he keeps coming back, then he can’t be too unhappy with it.

  14. 44
    starthrower68

    “Starthrower 40, whether God loves someone has nothing to do with this.  I can’t even believe its necessary to explain this to you.  Would you date a criminal because God loves him or her?  Would you date someone who lies, decieves, cheats, etc. etc. etc. because God loves him/her?  Don’t play dumb; you know this discussion is about dating, not about whether someone is going to heaven.  Are you that desperate to stick to your original argument against me? For real?”

    Now who’s playing dumb?  My comment was CLEARLY about unconditional love.  I said nothing about who’s going to heaven or being willing to date those with poor character and other issues.  I’ll repeat myself again in case it was missed, but Evan has said several times that Mrs. Katz is Mrs. Katz because she loves him unconditionally; Evan points out what he sees as his shortcomings when he says this.  Sarah, you can be mad at me if you want to, I have no problem with it, and you can ignore the points I make as well.  But if you’re ever in a relationship where you’re more into the guy than he is into you, remember your words when he doesn’t commit as quickly as you’d like. 

  15. 45
    Margo

    Sarah says: “If I marry the guy I’m currently dating, I will NOT want to have sex with him much.”

    Doesn’t he deserve better than that, Sarah?? Doesn’t everybody?

    Let him go. Nobody’s trying to pick on you Sarah. We’re trying to keep you from ruining this man’s life.

  16. 46
    sharon

    So we’re shallow if we like attractive men and selfish for trying to like unattractive men. So no matter what Sarah there are a couple of people that would like to jam us in between a rock and a hard place. Lovely. Sarah as long as you’re honest and up front no one has the right to fault you. Both you and your boyfriend are consenting adults capable of making their own decisions.
    Margo some men what women that love them, some men like pretty women that will tolerate them. It sucks but it’s true. If this man chooses a women out of his league as opposed to a women that is mutual attracted, that is his choice to make.
    Starthrower in polite conversation one does not mention politics, religion or money unless they want to stir the pot. One particularly could take offense while invoking the name of god while condemning someone’s personal choices.
    Karl the entire ritual of courting is about earning a woman’s attention. It’s been ingrained in our culture for centuries. Any woman with self respect will expect a man to prove his intentions. And for all your gabbing about how people can alter who their attracted to through will power I’d think you’d be much more supportive of Sarah trying to make a relationship with a kind stable guy work. How would you suggest she expand her perimeters of attractions with out sticking with it and working through it?
    If we were living in an idealistic world everyone would end up in love with beautiful people that loved them equally. This is reality. People settle. So can we all get off our high horses now?
     

  17. 47
    Katarina Phang

    I’m not the champion of “settling” because I won’t do it myself personally but I agree with Sharon #48 and see where Sarah is coming from, especially #45.

    At the end of the day life is about choice, if the choice is between living a life of loneliness and being with someone you’re not so into the way you once thought/expected you would meet one day, can you blame a person for choosing the later?

    Again, we shouldn’t settle, ideally, but many people do one way or another.  If it is something they can live for -and taking into account the no better alternative-, who are we to judge? 

    I understand Sarah’s frustration with finding chemistry and compatibility.  Those together are rare indeed as my own experience attests.  I won’t marry a guy whom I’m not attracted to, but I will perhaps consider having an open relationship with a guy I haven’t developed total chemistry with and have a child together if he agrees push comes to shove since I can’t wait forever, and see down the road if we can be a real permanent couple.

    Everything is relative.  It pretty much boils down to what options you have.

  18. 48
    starthrower68

    Nobody’s on a high horse, Sharon.  If you’re entitled to your opinion, so are the rest of us.  All we’re doing is backing up why we’re thinking they way we do just like you and Sarah are.  If you want to post on this blog, disagreement is the risk you run and there’s not a one of us who posts on here that has escaped that.  I also reject your assertion that I’m just using “religion” to stir the pot.  In case you haven’t seen it, there have been several topics posted in which religion, (faith for me, but I’ll allow your minimizing term) money, and politics are discussed.  They’re discussed in polite conversation all the time, perhaps just not the conversations in which you are engaged.

  19. 49
    starthrower68

    Katrina, you are correct.  The discussion is purely academic anyway because people generally do what they WANT to do.  I just enjoy the lively debate.  Keeps the skills sharp. 

  20. 50
    Karl R

    sharon said: (#48)
    “the entire ritual of courting is about earning a woman’s attention. It’s been ingrained in our culture for centuries.”

    Dating has changed over the centuries … or even the last several decades.

    I’m a better-than-average dancer. I usually gain a potential date’s attention while I’m dancing with another woman. By the time I ask her to dance, I’ve already won that battle.

    Why would I spend the entire rest of the courtship stuck on something that I accomplished before the first date?

    Sarah said: (#44)
    “Everybody knows that when you go on a date, you’re supposed to try to make a good impression.”

    When I go on a date, I let the woman see me as I am 90% (or more) of the time. I’m not trying to “make a good impression.” I’m just being me.

    My behavior comes across as relaxed. It comes across as genuine. And by being relaxed and genuine, I stand out from most other men.

    sharon said: (#48)
    “Any woman with self respect will expect a man to prove his intentions.”

    Before … what?

    My girlfriend explicitly asked me my intentions when I mentioned moving in together. (She’d had problems with two boyfriends who’d moved in “temporarily,” then took years to move out. She had sworn never to have another boyfriend move in on a temporary basis.)

    Other than that, she has never asked me my intentions. Nor has she asked me to “prove” anything.

    We spent enough time getting to know each other to realize that we’re good together. That’s it.

    sharon said: (#48)
    “I’d think you’d be much more supportive of Sarah trying to make a relationship with a kind stable guy work.”

    If that were the extent of the situation, I would be.

    However, Sarah has talked about not wanting to have sex with him very often (#2). I’ve personally experienced how much strain sexual incompatability puts on a relationship.

    Sarah has talked about having an open relationship (#16). Of the people I’ve known who have tried open relationships, the vast majority have failed. Even the one which “succeeded” over the long term had issues with lying and jealousy.

    Sarah has stated that she’s put off by his personality (in another thread). That’s a different issue.

    Finally, Sarah has repeatedly stated that her boyfriend is “better than nothing.” I’m not certain whether Sarah is happy being single, so I can’t accurately assess that statement. However, I get the impression that she isn’t happy with the thought of remaining single indefinitely. So that statement doesn’t inspire confidence in her satisfaction with the relationship.

    Sarah said: (#44)
    “I don’t TELL my date that I expect him to win me over.”

    That would explain why your date asked you out again.

    If you want to test his self-respect, go ahead and tell him.

  21. 51
    Sarah

    Sharon and Katarina, THANK YOU.  It’s nice to FINALLY see someone here who gets it.
     
    Evan tells us over and over, in his own words, basically to give a non-perfect guy a chance.  When a client complains about how a guy was less than ideal on a first date, he counsels her to try again with him.  That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do with my guy.  I’m trying to not hastily write him off for being imperfect.  (And I’m doing so with the best of intentions, open to the possibility of developing genuine love, and not lying to him in any way.)  Anyone here who wants to fault me obviously doesn’t believe in Evan’s philosophy.
     
    The bottom line is nobody but me and my guy have any right to judge either one of us for what we are doing.  There is no deception or malice on my part, and I believe no major character flaws on his part either.  What we do is our business, and based on what I’ve seen here I now trust my own judgment a lot more than that of most posters here.  People here take a few words out of context without really understanding much about either one of us, and spin that into my “ruining the guy’s life”!
     
    Right, Margo, really, I’m going to “ruin his life.”  By giving him an opportunity to marry the woman of his dreams, have sex that will probably be less frequent and/or passionate than many individuals prefer as their ideal (and how often do we find everything we consider ideal anyway?), and thereby take him away from the life he had before me: so terribly shy he dated NO ONE and had NO SEX AT ALL.  Ruining his life by giving him this option with no deceit whatsoever.  Yup, I’m ruining his life all right.  Poor guy!

  22. 52
    Margo

    Well, you know what Sharon? Sarah is NOT being honest with this guy. If she told him that bit about how she ”will NOT be having much sex with him”-her words, I’ll bet any amount of money that he’ll bail on her so fast it’ll leave skid marks in her driveway. Unless this is an old man, he will not appreciate being denied sex, and he’s not going to be happy like that. Sarah is using him. Period.

  23. 53
    Margo

    Sharon and Katrina, I have a question for you both: If you two had a son that you love, would you want him being with a woman like Sarah if you knew this woman felt the same way about YOUR son that Sarah feels about her guy?…

  24. 54
    starthrower68

    I think we get what Evan says pretty well, and until Evan himself tells me I’m not getting it, I will believe that I am.

  25. 55
    Ruby

    Sarah #53

    Since no one has asked, I’m curious to know how long you’ve been dating your boyfriend. If it’s only been a few weeks or a couple of months, then I don’t think that giving it more time to see if stronger feelings will develop is necessarily a bad thing. However, if it’s been over a few months, it seems doubtful that things will improve dramatically. If you really can’t stand the thought of even just kissing him now (let alone having sex with him), what do you think it will be like 10 or 20 years from now? It’s easy to brush that off now, but the reality of such a situation isn’t very pleasant.

    As Evan said in an earlier post, “I have never said that sexual attraction isn’t important in a relationship.” I don’t think he’s ever said that you should stick it out with a guy you have no sexual feelings for, just because he’s nice and he likes you. 

  26. 56
    Laine

    Sarah , I understand where you are coming from too. Thank you for sharing your experience. Attraction is such a subjective paradigm. Over the years I have felt intense attraction on first seeing someone, only to see them at a later time and not feel attracted at all. Some men I initially did not feel attracted to, but it developed over time when I had the opportunity to see them in many different circumstances, for instance at work. Having children changed my perception as well. I can remember seeing men at my childrens preschool, being tender with their child and how attractive they seemed. If I had met them when single I may not have found them to be so. And how many of us have been madly in love in our 20′s only to run into the object of our desire years  later and wonder what we ever saw in them.

    Someone mentioned unconditional love in a previous post.There are 3 types of love. Eros, Philos and Agape. Unconditional love is not part of Eros love.

    Best wishes Sarah

  27. 57
    Gem

    Sarah,

    I don’t think you and your boyfriend would be wrong if you chose to marry under your circumstances. I don’t understand why you’re being given such a hard time. If you and your guy are honest with each other about the situation, well, I’ve seen people get married for worse reasons and make it work.

    The real question is: Is it worth the risk? The odds are that it won’t work long term. Once you’re in it for 2,3,5 years….you both will be focusing on what you’re missing. One or both of you may very well grow resentful of the other and you may end up divorced and having lost those years to possibly find the right one.

    I say stay with each other for for companionship for as long as, and until one of your heads is turned by the right person. Don’t marry and obligate kids with these odds stacked against you.

    Good Luck! 

  28. 58
    Katarina Phang

    Margo #55, he’s an adult and he has to decide for himself.  He knows all the facts, right…and if he goes for it then it’s his personality (he’s not of the bad boy variety women are attracted to and has issues meeting women, remember?)!  You can’t change anyone.  If that’s his best option for him as he sees it, you can only support him.

  29. 59
    Selena

    What I don’t understand is what is so horrible about being single that a person would choose a passionless, perhaps loveless marriage in order to avoid it?

  30. 60
    Laine

    @ 61….having babies !

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