One sex therapist told me once that couples who have been married 20 years can claim that their sex is the same as when they were first married. There are three possible outcomes.

They are telling the truth, because they did not have good sex.

Many of us know that the pattern in our sex lives is predictable: the shorter you are with someone, the more you have to sex.

Frequency of sex can also be affected by age, stage, health, relationship status, overall happiness, and many other factors.

This why telling everyone to have sex once a week – the widely agreed on ‘best’ amount – isn’t terribly helpful.

Although it might seem like the “sweet spot,” it can be impossible to achieve if your children are under 5 years old.

Which goals are sensible, and at what stages in your life?

Below are some of my suggestions for sensible goals.

British sex expert Tracey Cox reveals 'sensible' sex goals for couples in every stage in life and explains how to boost the frequency if you're feeling unsatisfied. Stock image

British sex expert TraceyCox shares her’sensible sex goals’ for couples at every stage of life. She also explains how you can increase the frequency if your partner is unhappy. Stock photo 


The ideal number:You become more sexually active every time you meet someone.

What’s happening:The ‘honeymoon’ period is known for its lust-fuelled, adventuresome, frequent, and passionate sex.

Why? This is because of powerful hormones which cause an increase in the desire to sex. Serotonin and dopamine can cause euphoria, which makes sex nearly unbearable.

It’s plentiful and lasts for many years.

It is known as’spontaneous love’ and is completely effortless. Just thinking of or even seeing your partner can spark the passion.

The problem is that sex with a goat is not real. You could have sex in public with a goat, but you wouldn’t know it. The brain hormones are responsible for most of the sexual excitement.

Low sex drives, appalling technique, a slant towards selfishness – the intense boost you get at the start cunningly disguises it all.

We could, however, all remain at the same place if it were possible. Nearly everyone surrenders and gives in to the greatness.

Aim for: New couples don’t need to aim for anything, great sex just happens. 

Sexual chemistry can be difficult to find if you don’t want to make it happen every single time. While it can develop, it’s better to start with it.

Do it more often Keep the chemical high going. You can extend the life expectancy of your sexy relationship by introducing new activities (sex alfresco and experimenting with different kinds of orgasms), before hormones start to wear off.


Sex expert Tracey Cox, pictured, explains why their are highs and lows in your sex drive - and what you can do about it

Tracey, the sex expert, discusses why there are highs as well as lows when it comes to your sex drive and what you can change.

The ideal number:Rarely will a couple experience a dip after they move in. So almost as much as you did before you “merged”, it’s pretty normal.

What’s happening: Your sex life will be significantly affected if you only have one house. All the not-so-perfect stuff you shielded from each other – cutting your toenails, waxing your top lip, going for a week without washing your hair, feeling stressed or irritated – is suddenly on display.

Once you marry or move in, there is no privacy. While you may think that you’re one person, the truth is you’re actually two separate individuals who have different opinions about how to manage a home. You will have to make major adjustments on both ends.

You can have a dramatic change in your sexual behavior or you could fall apart.

It’s a dream to be able have sex outside of a bed after years spent hiding from your parents and flatmates.

Monogamy is a good option for some people. They feel secure and are able to relax knowing what the future holds.

Others find being able to have sex 24/7 a turn-off rather than turn on – especially when it’s with the same person.

Familiarity famously dampens desire and it’s when you make that first big commitment – move in or tie the knot – that you most acutely feel it.

Although the terms “husband” and “wife” may warm your heart, they are likely to make your stomach churn. It’s a lot more fun to be called ‘lovers’ than being ‘grown-ups.

Aim for: Nearly everyone who weds has reported a decline in sex. 62% said in a survey that they wish they could have more.

How can you stop it from happening? You have to deal with stress, lack of time and the monotony of daily living.

The best rule of thumb: Give yourself time to adjust and continue to have the same amount as you did before getting married. Although you may not make it, if your sex is a bit lower, then you should be fine.

Do it more often Make time to have sex. It may not seem like it, but 36% of newlyweds make sex a priority in their daily lives.

Confessing your worst fears is an effective way of combating your new enemy: Domesticity. The tendency to fall into the trap of being best friends, rather than lovers when we share our fantasies is actively challenged by sharing them.

Create a “sexy jar”. Each person should write down 10 ideas on paper. Cut into small pieces and fold. Then, put them all in a jar. You can choose one to test out each week. It is possible to insist upon preapproval, or you can take a leap.


Having sex once or twice a month, about four months after the birth, would be something most new parents aspire to, Tracey said. Stock image

Having sex once or twice a month, about four months after the birth, would be something most new parents aspire to, Tracey said. Stock photo

The ideal number: It all depends on your birth. However, most parents would like to have a child once or twice per month for at least four months.

What’s happening:Not just lack of sleep can turn a sexually-charged couple into someone who is unable to be bothered in one month.

Your relationship with your children is more stressful than you could ever imagine. There’s no spontaneity or privacy and there’s no time for the couple.

On average, parents of children spend 20 minutes per day being intimate with their kids. Study of 11,000 adults aged 16-44 found that children of married parents have the lowest libidos of any group.

Women’s disinterest in short-term projects is biological. You should be able to care for your child and not make a new one.

‘Will we ever get our sex life back?’ This is the most common question new parents ask me. “Will it ever be mine again?”Of course, the mother adds “Will I ever want it back?” in a little miserable voice.

The answer to both is yes – but not for a while.

Aim for:I have to admit that I admire any parent who can manage sex within their first year. Here are some statistics that will help you make an informed decision about what may work best for you.

Seven weeks following the birth, most couples have no sex. Many couples wait until after three months to have sex, while others may wait up to one year.

Most couples return to having sex at the same frequency they had during pregnancy, approximately four months later. Most parents have sex at least three to five times per month six months after giving birth.

Couples say that sex feels good after a year, but it isn’t as enjoyable as before the kids. Although parents tend to say they feel happier on an individual level, almost all of them agree that sex is better.

Post one year, 95 per cent of couples say they’re still having less sex than before the pregnancy – but that’s the payoff of being parents, I’m afraid!

Do it more often Get as much sex as you want: Be open to all kinds of sex. Okay sex is more beneficial for your relationship than none sex. If you do not ‘finish’ the sex, don’t be discouraged. Have you ever made hot food and managed to finish it before it got too hot? That’s how things will stay for the foreseeable future.

Bargain! This is a great deal! You can say “We have five minutes” if your partner wants sex. However, you would need to cut off your right arm for sleep.

Many people can live for some time without sexual contact. They feel bitter when the drought continues and they don’t see any way out. It’s time to talk about the joy that will come when everything calms down.


The ideal number:It is best to have a couple once per week, but it’s also a good idea to meet up for a few days every two weeks.

What’s happening:You will experience less sexual intimacy the longer you stay with your partner. This is called Habituation.

It happens to all couples. Couples between their twenties and thirties sex on average eight to nine times per month. This drops to six per month after two years of being together.

Here’s a stat: The first year of your relationship, how frequently you have sex will dictate how much you have thereafter. Research shows it sets a pattern – if you’re having an above average amount of sex, it continues even after two years when there’s a natural drop-off point.

Many studies have been done on married sex. Because factors like the age of the couple, the children involved and their relationship length can dramatically affect frequency.

For people who are in serious relationships, a weekly sex session is ideal. However, only half of those in these relationships have this much sex.


Once a week appears to be the magic number for long-term sexual happiness – with new evidence suggesting too much sex can make you miserable, leading to a decrease in desire and enjoyment.

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology published important 2015 research that found that more sex doesn’t make couples happier.

Based on over 30,000 Americans surveyed, this study found that while regular sex has many benefits, it didn’t have any greater benefits if the couple had had more than one sex session per week.

Couples that had more than one sex session per week were happier than those who did not.

Daily sex improves immunity, stress reduction and memory. These are just some of the many physical benefits.

Regular sex adds pleasure to our lives. It increases the production of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), which promotes intimacy, trust and bonds. This makes us happier and gives rise to self-esteem, confidence and optimism.

Couples that have regular sex are more connected to each other and report a higher level of happiness in their relationships than those who don’t. Having sex also boosts your libido – and reminds you of how good sex feels, if you haven’t had it for a while.

The average time that couples spend sex is around 10 to 15 minutes. Are you able to find the time and energy to enjoy all these benefits?

According to sex therapists, a low-sex marriage is one that has sex only once a week or less than 25 times per year. This category is home to around 15% of long-term married couples.

20% of married couples are in the “no sex” category less than 10 times per calendar year. This definition has since been challenged – as it should be. There are many long-term relationships that enjoy sexual activity once per month, or every six weeks. They consider themselves very satisfied.

Aim for: It is difficult to determine the right amount of sex between a couple.

This is where the proper amount of sex matters less about how many times you are having it but more about what makes you and your partner happy.

It’s great for your physical and mental health. Don’t fret if this doesn’t suit your needs.

There is no standard, but there are only the things that work for each of you.

Do it more often You should have sex that challenges you beyond your comfort zone. Be bold and playful. Daring, bold! It will be difficult at first to step out of the slippers-bythe-fire comfort zone. As you progress, you will become braver and more confident.

Play to your partner’s ‘thing’: All of us have a core erotic theme – something we need to express to be able to fuel or feel desire.

This is our “thing”, it’s what gets us excited. It could include having sex in public, wearing heels, getting spanked, or watching porn.

Many people keep their “thing” secret and avoid telling their partner, fearing they will be judged. It is very satisfying to be able to indulge in your core erotic themes with your partner and get sex satisfaction.


The ideal number:It can happen anywhere between once per week and once every two weeks.

What’s happening:Women will experience the menopause, which can be a difficult time for them. The most harmful effects on a woman’s health are painful sex and vaginal dryness.

The frequency of sex decreases due to general health problems such as decreased energy, dodgy knees and hips, lower energy levels, and less stable erections.

There’s good news: people enjoy sex longer because of HRT, education, and better health.

UK research revealed these figures: 53% of married straight couples between 45 and 55 years had sex at least once a day, 42.1 percent had sex weekly, 31.6% had sex monthly, 15.8% had sexual relations annually, and the remainder had not had any sex.

According to another US survey, most people have sex between twice per month. The motivation is much higher than one might expect. 51% of those surveyed stated that they will continue to have sex until their bodies stop accepting it. 44% said that their sex lives are more adventurous or full of adventure than when they were younger.

Aim for: In this case, age is not a factor. Your desire to have sex depends heavily on your overall health, your natural libido, and the date you were together. No matter what age we experience an increase in our desire to have sex.

Older couples will often find it difficult to compromise on what is best: regular sex.

Do it more often You can’t lose it. It applies to everything, but is especially important when it comes down to sex.

Your genitals will be in better condition if you have more sex. These genitals need to exercise, as with all the muscles of our bodies.

Regular, deep sex is a good way to keep your muscles strong and healthy. Regular orgasms are a better option if this is not possible or appealing. Orgasms are characterized by muscular contractions and release of hormones. To reap the same benefits, masturbating a couple of times per week is a good idea – for orgasm.

Use lube. Start using it for every sexual activity – intercourse, hand-jobs, solo sex sessions with your vibe. It will be a major change in your sex life if it isn’t yet.

You can use sex toys. You can get rid of many issues with sex toys. If you are single they can help you stay sexual, sort out any issues with erection and provide stimulation to help with decreased sensitivity.

Want more advice on sex? Every Tuesday Tracey hosts a podcast called SexTok. It offers quick and practical advice on sex, with plenty of humor. Tracey’s books, and other products can be found at