Saturday 24 February 2018

Dear Mary: All my girl friends seem to have sex more often than me

QMy husband and I have been together for eight years, married for four, and we don't have any children. We are very happy together, have a great life and are talking about starting a family. My problem is I'm worried about our sex life, or lack of it.

When I'm out with my girl friends, we discuss our relationships and often talk about our sex lives. I've always got the impression that my friends have sex with their partners a lot more than I do with mine, so I tend to lie about it as I'm embarrassed.

Recently one of my friends was telling a group of us on a girl's night out that she hadn't had sex since way before the birth of her first child, who is eight weeks old. One of the other girls said that she and her husband hadn't had sex in three or four weeks, as they have two young kids. But the rest of them seemed to be having sex very often. There was no way I was going to tell them that we haven't had it in a couple of months when we don't even have the excuse of children.

When I brought my worries up with my husband, as I have done a few times, he said that we've had a very busy few years. He got a big promotion last year that he worked very hard to get. I started up my own business three years ago, so at times I can be very busy and stressed out. But even though we spend a lot of time together, we usually just eat out or relax in front of the TV.

He also said that sex wasn't the most important thing in a relationship and that he is happy and still finds me attractive. That did make me feel better, but there must be something wrong with us if we don't want to have more sex.

To be quite honest, I'm more worried about what the girls would think and how often we should be having sex, more than missing the actual sex itself. Sometimes I would rather snuggle up on the couch and just go to bed. I'm really worried that we will grow apart if we have such a lack of intimacy in our relationship.

ATHERE are different stages in everybody's sex lives, with most people having lots of sex to begin with and then settling into their own pattern. One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a therapist is how often everybody else is having sex, as people are always anxious to know what is normal. On average, people in long-term relationships have it once or twice a week, often on Saturday or Sunday. This is because they have usually spent a lot of time together at weekends and have enjoyed each other's company so it is natural to progress to some form of lovemaking.

You and your husband are very lucky as you seem to share the same level of desire, with neither one of you complaining about the lack of sex. This in itself is unusual -- generally one person has a far higher libido than the other, which leads to problems. You shouldn't worry about what people would think if they knew what is going on between you -- it is none of their business. And remember that if you are not telling it like it is, to your friends they may also be less than truthful when talking to you.

Just one word of warning -- you speak about starting a family, and if babies come along then a fairly sporadic sex life may become even less regular, so I would suggest that you make a point of being sexual together at least once a fortnight in the coming months. Have a date night, do something special, and promise yourselves that you will have sex that evening.

If you get used to having it once a fortnight then you should progress to once a week. It is so easy to get out of the habit of having sex, and to fill your lives with other things, but it really does make a good relationship even better when there is a regular sex life.

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