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?

Join our conversation (81 Comments).
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  1. 41

    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.

  2. 42

    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?!

  3. 43

    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.

  4. 44

    “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.  

  5. 45

    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.

  6. 46

    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?

  7. 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.

  8. 48

    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.

  9. 49

    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.  

  10. 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.

  11. 51

    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!

  12. 52

    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.

  13. 53

    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?…

  14. 54

    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.

  15. 55

    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.  

  16. 56

    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

  17. 57


    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!  

  18. 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.

  19. 59

    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?

  20. 60

    @ 61….having babies !

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