This post originally appeared on VICE UK.
Don't know how often you're having sex, but it's too much, it's too much. That's according to the great oracle the Daily Mail, anyway, which somehow this week decreed that the ideal number of instances of intercourse you should be enduring per week is one. One. Uno. One fuck. Single digit orgasm number, for you, per seven days. Once. It is possible to break the Mail's conservative shag numbers in an hour. It is possible to defy the Mail five times in one day.
To prove its point, the Mail got various lumpen middle-aged couples to stand back to back in a photography studio and share their stories of how only nailing once a week is actually really great, actually. "[There's] a new frisson between us," one couple says. "There is a constant frisson between us," says another. The third couple does not say "frisson," but they do say "frisky." Truly, the Mail is doing its upmost to erode the very concept of sex in Britain today.
But is once a week truly, really, the best way to keep the frisson in your life? What about the friskiness? I took to the streets to find out how often real people actually have sex, and whether they'd ever consider giving a weird MailOnline sex diary a shot.
VICE: Are you seeing anyone at the moment?
Gary: I am yes; we've been together for about a year.
How often do you have sex?
Probably three times a week. I think that's enough. I'm happy with that.
Would you say you and your partner have more or less the same libido, or is hers different to yours?
I think hers is lower, to be honest [laughs], but I think we find a happy medium. I probably would have sex a little bit more, but that's what we do. Three times a week, it's kind of just one of those things. I'm fine with it.
Do you think having sex once a week, and only once, would be beneficial for your relationship?
I think, if you're in a good relationship and you like each other, sex more than once a week is just a given. It's hard to have sex once a week if you're genuinely really attracted to someone, and you're lying in bed with them every single night. I mean, I wouldn't say it would be a healthy relationship to have sex once a week and carry on like that forever and ever.
Given your answer, I'm guessing you wouldn't consider trying out a sex diary and scheduling intercourse?
No, probably not. You want sex at different times! Sometimes you're in the mood for it, sometimes you're not. It depends what kind of day you've had. Unless I was trying for children or something along those lines, I don't see how I'd ever, ever want to do that.
Are you in a relationship?
Mona: Yes, something like that. It's been around three months now.
How much time do you guys spend in the bedroom?
Not much, we probably have sex around once a week. It's not enough for me; I'd prefer it to be way more.
How do you deal with that?
I don't know, because we don't talk about it. I'd like to talk about it, but we don't…
Would you say your partner has a different libido to you?
Yes, it's much lower. It creates a bit of tension in the relationship, but it's also because we both work, and this makes it really difficult to meet up.
Envisage the perfect relationship—how often would you be having sex every week?
At least five times a week, I think. If you're in a relationship and you like each other, that's normal to me.
So what do you think about the claim having sex once a week is actually healthier for your relationship?
I think it's wrong. If you're in love, you want to have sex with the person! Even if your libido is low, you should still be having sex more than once a week.
In this study, they allocated a time and day for couples to have sex every week. Would you ever try that for the sake of your relationship?
A sex diary? That sounds hilarious. I don't think so, because you shouldn't plan when you want to have sex. Some days you wake up and don't even want to see the person you're dating. Other times, they're all you want to look at. The idea of scheduling it all is just wrong.
How long have you and your girlfriend been together?
Pete: Almost two years now.
How often do you guys do the nasty every week, would you say?
Three to five, but it depends really. If I saw her daily, that would be good for me, but it's not a big deal, you know?
Would you say you guys have pretty evenly matched libidos?
Yeah, it's pretty much the same, so everything works out OK.
How do you think your relationship would be if they were wildly different?
There'd probably be more arguments if she wanted to have sex way less than me. If her libido was higher than mine, I think it would be OK; I'd just be more tired all the time, but that's OK with me.
How often do you think people should be having sex to have a healthy relationship?
I reckon it varies from person to person. Some people don't do it at all—others' relationships are built on their sexual interactions. It really depends on the person, but I'd say at least once a week, maybe? That's if you're with each other every day.
That's the amount of sex the Daily Mail is saying all of us should have. What do you think about that?
Just once a week? I'd prefer not to plan it, because I think going with the flow is the best way to go. I don't know how I'd go with the once-a-week idea, though.
How often do you have sex on a weekly basis?
Natalie: Right now I'm single, so not that often, unfortunately. When I was last in a relationship, just before Christmas, my ex and I would have sex at least once a day, if not more.
Was that enough for you?
Yeah, that was fine, but definitely once a day. Definitely.
When you were still together, did you and your partner have the same libido, or did they differ slightly?
It was equal, but the two guys I dated before had lower libidos. They just fell in line, though, so yeah.
How often do you think people should have sex for a healthy relationship?
As long as it's not getting in the way of life, I think once a day is the right amount. Absolute minimum, three days a week. But that's the absolute minimum.
That's quite a lot, especially when compared to what the Mail is claiming that sex once a week is the way to go.
Each to their own. Guys can't concentrate when they want it, and I can't concentrate. I think I was born a man, though, that's more my problem!
Would you ever consider keeping a sex diary?
No way, I'm not that organized. That would just be way too stressful and too much of a headfuck to put that in my calendar.
Are you with anyone at the moment?
Tim: Yeah, in my current relationship, which has been going on for a year, we maybe have sex once a week or so, which isn't enough for me. I'd prefer it if we had sex like two or three times a week, that would be nice.
Would you say your girlfriend has a lower libido than you do?
I think she does, yeah. It's come up in conversation a few times, but at the end of the day, I don't let it worry me too much. I think there are other things to focus on. She realizes it, definitely, but with the stress of work and life in general, it's hard to get on top of everything sometimes.
How much sex do you think people should be having every week?
I would say two to three times a week would be good. I think if you do it too much, you stand a chance of getting bored with them.
So what do you think of this new research advocating sex once a week?
I think once a week is not enough. If you're in a steady relationship, why wouldn't you be having it more? Mind you, I'm happy with what's happening at the moment. It also varies depending on how old you are, so maybe the Mail was thinking of what works for older people…
What do you think about the idea of a sex diary? Would you ever give that a go?
No way. I don't want sex to become a chore!
VICE: How long have you been with your partner?
Isabella: Around one year now. We see each other on the weekends mostly, so I would say [we have sex] maybe once or twice a week. It's not enough for me, if I'm honest. I have a pretty high sex drive, so sometimes I feel like I want more, and he doesn't have as high of a sex drive as I do. I think it's also because we only see each other on the weekends. If I saw him more, I might want to have sex with him less.
How do you guys cope with that? Do you talk about what you want sexually?
Yeah, we always talk about it. I always tell him when I want to, and sometimes when I tell him he wants to too. I think you have to talk about it, though.
How often would you have sex if you could do it whenever you wanted?
It goes in phases; sometimes I want to have sex all the time, and sometimes I feel like I don't need it. It depends on how long it's been since I saw my boyfriend last, or if we haven't spent a lot of quality time together. Sometimes, when I feel like if I'm spending a lot of quality time with him, that's fine. But yeah, it really depends on my mood.
How often do you think couples should aim to be having sex?
There's no rule, because it really depends on the person, and it also depends on your circumstances. Maybe you're young and you don't feel ready, or maybe you're not young, maybe you just don't feel ready with the person and you just want to get to know them instead. As long as everyone's happy and as long as everyone's communicating, you know, if you're not communicating you shouldn't be in that relationship.
Do you think the idea of this new research is fundamentally wrong, then, because they're saying everyone everywhere should have sex once a week and that's it?
I think these are just claims that are taken out of thin air, but then it is the Daily Mail! Sex should be enjoyable, not just beneficial! I think if you're happy and it's making you feel good and it's not causing any problems, do what you want.
So would you ever give a sex diary a go?
Maybe I wouldn't have thought of it before this encounter… maybe after today I'll be like, "Hey, just for fun let's try that," but I think that kind of takes the spontaneity out of sex. I've spoken to people about sex, and they've said that if you're working and both you and your partner are in full time jobs, sometimes you do have to plan it, and you do have to set that time aside. I can't see myself doing that, though.
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