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10 Jan 2018 (Last updated 26 Jun 2023)

How often do women have sex?

Sexual Health 4 min read
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What is a “normal” frequency to have intercourse? Do I have too much or not enough sex drive? For many people, including women, female sexuality is a big unsolved mystery. It is in the sense that each body is different, and there is no “normality” for the sexual activity.

There are, however, some principles for female sexuality that rarely change.

– Female sexuality is closely linked and influenced by the reproductive cycle

– Female sexual drive can be influenced by factors such as stress, medication, relationship status, physical and emotional health, pregnancy, age, culture and moral systems, …

– Female sexual drive is very often a response to an erotic stimulus (instead of spontaneous)*

– For women, sex is not only a physical but also an emotional experience

– Arousal as well as orgasm take more time for women than for men

In a nutshell, the female sexual life is an emotional experience influenced by many internal and external factors. We do take our time to arouse and reach orgasm, and many of us reach arousal through a stimulus (coming from a partner, a book, a sex toy, etc).

So, things are a bit different than the fantasy our society bathes in, conveying the image of a constantly sexualised woman, ready for sex anytime, anywhere.

When confronting the fantasy to the reality of our sex lives, we find ourselves wondering: “Am I normal?”, “Should I be having more or less sex?”, “Is there an ideal frequency for sex?”. But in reality, how often women have sex varies a lot.

In real life, how often do women have sex?

Research on the frequency of intercourse has been conducted across several countries, and the answer to “how often do women have sex?” varies from a country to another. Remember: female sexuality is influenced by several factors, including lifestyle, as well as culture and moral systems!

On one side:

  • French women are very active with 2 times per week and Malaysian women do it “at least once a week”.
  • British and Thai women position themselves as less active with an average of 1.5 times per week.

On the other side of the spectrum:

  • Australian women admit to a lesser frequency when it comes to sexual intercourse, with less than once a week, but they would prefer to do it more often: 1 to 3 times per week.
  • Similar to Australia, in the United States, a study showed that 66% of women have sex once a week or even less. Half of the female respondents also admitted that having sex a few times a week is healthy.

What do the numbers say :

  1. The frequency of intercourse for women varies significantly from a country to another
  2. There is often a gap between what women would like and what they get in terms of frequency

So, despite the global dominant fantasy on female sexuality, there is no global average regarding the frequency of sex. Each country is different, and most importantly, each woman is different.

But the most important and interesting learning from the studies is that women have a number in their mind, but their reality do not match their expectation!

In this case, shouldn’t the question be “how often do I want to have sex and what can I do to satisfy my desire?” rather than “how often do women have sex?” ?

Make it less about what society and norms want us to do/be, and more about what we want.

The only rule is that there is no rule

Many of us seriously wonder if their sexual life is active enough, if their sexual drive is high enough. And, really, it is not a surprise as it seems like we, women, are supposed to have sex day in day out…

“People always wonder how often they should be having sex, and there’s no right number,” says Dr. Kerner, PhD, sex and relationship expert

But, if you are a woman, you know this is not true. You know that this is only what we see on TV or magazines.

It is the same for sex. You have it when you feel like it, that’s it. If you don’t feel like it and your partner does, well it is time to discuss the imbalance and find a solution that makes both happy (hint: sex is not always synonym of penetration). On the contrary, if you feel like you don’t have enough of it (sex!), masturbation is a perfect way to take charge and give yourself the satisfaction you are longing for.

The numbers show it clearly: there is no norm, no rule, no specific pattern or number to follow. It is all about feeling good within your body and your relationship with yourself and with your partner.


* Emily Nagoski, sex educator

** Smile Makers country specific surveys

*** French survey “contexte de la sexualitC) en France B; by ANRS (Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida)

The sexual health charity, B+ Sexual Behavior Factsheet B;

Sex by the numbers,

Annual WomenTALK survey commissioned by the non-profit organiztion HealthyWomen

For sexual wellness content that inspires even more pleasure in your life, follow @SmileMakersCollection - or check out our colorful collection of different types of vibrators for beginners and beyond.
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