If we follow the Hollywood myth, sex after marriage is … monotonous or altogether nonexistent. But oh, those silly screenplay writers. What do they know?! Researchers, on the other hand, have a much better grasp on what sex is like for people who’ve tied the knot, and their scientific results are much more heartening than the movies.
Here, 10 science-proven facts about married sex.
1. The grass is not greener on the single side. How many times on TV or in movies have we seen a married guy shamed by his bachelor buddy for settling down when he could be playing the field? The fact of the matter, however, is that married people have more sex than single folks. In their research, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, confirmed this, finding that of 61 percent of singles reported that they hadn’t had sex within the past year, compared with 18 percent of married people.
2. On average, married couples are having sex how frequently?! Everyone’s different, but research from the Kinsey Institute shows the majority of married couples are having sex a few times per month/once a week. Past research corroborates this: Hitched couples had sex 66 times a year, or a little more than once a week.
3. Sex is pretty directly correlated to satisfaction in marriage. Quite a bit of research has found an association between marital bliss and an active sex life. For instance, one recent study out of Australia note that men and women who were dissatisfied with their frequency of sex were also more likely to express overall lower sexual and relationship satisfaction.
Meanwhile, sexual activity was a key factor in whether couples remained sastified with their marriages later in life, notes research published a Journals of Gerontology study.
4. And being sexually dissatisfied in your marriage is linked with several unpleasant “symptoms.” A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that spouses who weren’t having as much sex as they desiredfought more, had more thoughts about ending their marriage, and less positive communications with their spouse. Their spouses also reported similar thoughts and negative feelings.
5. Love is a turn-on. You don’t have to be a seductress with a room full of silk ties and feather ticklers to get your spouse all hot and bothered. Fifty-nine percent of women and half of men surveyed report feelings of love for their partner turns them on, according to the iVillage 2013 married sex survey. Aww!
6. Sex serves as stress management for couples. Life can get stressful, but sex with your spouse may be one way to better manage all those anxiety-inducing curveballs. Sex among cohabitating couples decreased stress levels in an Israeli study.
7. Giving, as well as receiving, has its benefits. Research out of the University of Toronto tracked desire in long-term couples and determined that the happiest pairs expressed “sexual communal desire,” aka the the desire to have sex for your partner’s satisfaction as opposed to just your own.
And the study author also concluded that when one partner gets the ball rolling for their spouse’s benefit, they’ll feel increased sexual desire themselves. Awesome!
8. Married sex may be too predictable. More than 50 percent of women and 68 percent of men described their sex life as predictable, very predictable, or extremely predictable, according to iVillage survey. Men thought sex position was the most predictable aspect of their sex lives, while women chose location. So, maybe an excuse to mix it up every now and then?
9. Your sex life doesn’t have to sink after kids. According to the iVillage survey, 52 percent of married women, and 49 percent of married men said they had hotter sex before kids, but a third and nearly a third of women said there has been no change since becoming parents, and get this — 8 percent of women, and 22 percent of men say sex actually got better after kids!
10. Sex gets better in the golden years of marriage. A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviorfound that, as you might expect, having been married a shorter period of time is associated with a higher frequency of sex. BUT couples who passed the 50-year wedded mark are having more sex than you might think! The research found “that an individual married for 50 years will have somewhat less sex than an individual married for 65 years.” In other words, if you grin and bear that initial slump, you’ll be pleasantly rewarded for your time!