Relationship sex can be different than single sex, and having a partner can make us feel safe, scared, sensual, or even (sometimes) a bit bored. Whether you're one month into a casual relationship or 10 years into a committed one, intimacy is fluid and personal. Our libidos aren't static, and tons of things—from medications to expectations—affect desire. There isn't one "correct" frequency for sex; we're all so different, and our relationships are all so different. The most important element is whether we're satisfied. We asked 12 women in relationships to give us the low-down on their sex lives—what they love and what they wish were different.
Three-and-a-half-year relationship: Has sex once per week
"In the beginning of our relationship, my then-girlfriend and I had sex ALL. THE. TIME. Like, more than once a day. After a few months, we calmed down, and have never gotten back to that place of urgency. I'm not thrilled about it. I'd love to be having more sex.
We frequently try new things—toys, positions, etc.—but usually revert back to the same routine after a little bit. When you find something that works for both of you, it's hard to be motivated to commit to something else."
Married for three years, together for five years prior to marriage: Has sex once per week
"My husband and I waited until we were married to have intercourse (we did other things while we were dating). We also didn't live together before we were married. So, we used to fool around almost every time we saw each other.
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Honestly, our sex life is not fantastic. My husband and I are both extremely busy and work opposite schedules. The stress plus the lack of physical time together means that we're really only able to get it on once on the weekend.
We don't really experiment in the bedroom. I did pull out the vibrator the other day, which was nice. I've told my partner that I want to try watching porn together, and he says that he's okay with it, but somehow he seems hesitant, so we haven't tried it. The best thing for us is actually hotel sex, even if it's a 'staycation'—because that seems to be the only way we can truly detach from chores and all of the distractions at home."
In a relationship for three years: Has sex once per month
“Our relationship has had its ups and downs. We’ve had a more open situation, we’ve broken up, we’ve gotten back together, I've experimented with dating women and men. At first, we were really into kink and bondage, toys, role-playing, crazy latex, watching porn together—the whole nine yards. But, one day, it just kinda...halted.
It’s only been recently that our sex life has slowed to a trickle and it makes me really sad. I just don’t feel a huge impulse to have sex with him anymore. I think about having sex with other people sometimes, and I might do that. I kind of cheated on him recently. But it’s tough because I really love my partner. Our sexual fire is just gone at the moment. I think only time will tell if it will come back—or if we’ll both need to move in search of more compatible sexual partners.”
In a relationship for four months: Has sex three times per week
“I am super happy in my relationship. I didn't foresee myself at almost 30 starting to date a woman for the first time, but I am completely happy with the situation and growing to be more comfortable, open, and satisfied everyday.
However, I do feel bored while having sex sometimes. This is my first intimate relationship with a female, and lesbian sex is a long process. It lasts at least an hour, but usually two to three, and honestly, yeah, I get a little bored sometimes. I am used to sleeping with guys, which can be long too—but it was usually a quick-and-hot session that was over the minute he came (with no worry about whether or not I had finished).
The amount of sex we’re having has changed from the start of the relationship. In the beginning, it was me being shy and her doing everything to pleasure me because I had NO idea what I was doing. But, now that I have become more adventurous and comfortable with my actions—and with 'carrying my weight' in the bedroom—I am so into it and want to pleasure her all the time.”
In a relationship for five years: Has sex three to four times per week
“I generally feel bad about our sexual frequency. I am always questioning whether I'm being 'proactive' enough (what a ridiculous business term to use in this context) about initiating sex, or responsive enough during sex, or whether I'm meeting some standard of lustiness. It's weird, because generally speaking, I consider myself to have a pretty high libido. But, when it comes to actual sex with my partner, I feel like it's never enough for him.
He would never, ever pressure me into sex, and the problem is completely inside my head. Whenever I do voice my concerns, he is really supportive and kind, and also a little bewildered. The last time I said something, he said, 'I don't understand how you can still be worried or keep these things from me when we've been intimate with each other for so long.' He's right, and I always feel better once I say something, but I tend to project this image onto him of being dissatisfied with me (even though he doesn't really do anything that suggests that).
We communicate about sex pretty honestly, but not that often. I think we both feel we can bring things up. Sometimes I wish he would tell me more things — but he doesn't seem to have a lot of fantasies. I wish he would tell me what he thinks about when he masturbates, but it has always been really weird for him to talk about, which is unusual. Although, I definitely would NOT tell him my own thoughts..." [Click here to read the full story at Refinery29!]