How often are we supposed to do it? Whatever you tell me, I’m going home to tell my husband tonight.
Setting: in a hotel bathroom in Minneapolis. On break from a conference I was attending. I’d just told the group that I’m a sex expert who helps couples navigate intimacy issues.
Date: sometime in 2012
Her: You’re a sex therapist? OMG I need to talk to you.
Her friend: Me too! Totally. I have so many questions!
Me: Actually I call myself a sex coach, but I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Her: A sex coach? Do you go into the bedroom and watch people doing it? Do you do it with your clients? I have to know!
Her friend: Me too!
Me: Nope - I don’t watch people doing it and I don’t do it with my clients but it’s kinda cute that you’d think that. I could be a grandma.
Her: OK - here’s my question: how often are we supposed to do it? Whatever you tell me, I’m going home to tell my husband tonight. For sure.
Her friend: Me too!
Me: People ask me that all the time. What do you think’s the right answer?
Her: We do it twice a week most of the time. But, sometimes I’m too tired and I don’t want to. Is that okay?
Her friend: We do it once a week. Is that enough?
Me: It depends on you, your partner and how you feel about the whole thing. Do you like it when you do it?
Her: Actually, no. I honestly hate it, but I read somewhere that you should do it twice a week in order to have a good marriage. So I do it. I guess It’s like getting the oil changed on our car. Maintenance.
Her friend: I don’t like it either. But sometimes it’s good.
Me (to her friend): When do you like it?
Her friend: When it’s natural, not pressured. When we have time to connect and I feel like my partner wants me. Not “it”.
Her: Is that even a possibility? I know my husband loves me, but I feel like a hole if I’m honest. I could be anybody. I spend my time looking up at the ceiling and wondering when it’s going to be over.
Me (to her): I’m so sorry. That sounds terrible. What would it be like if it were about you? About your connection and pleasure?
Her: It would be totally different. Amazing. I’d love that but it never turns out that way.
Me: How often would you want to make love if it were really special like that?
Her: Oh, maybe still a couple of times a week. But, I’d look forward to it then. I’d really want to.
Me (to her friend): How about you?
Her friend: I’d probably want it lots of times a week. My life is pretty relaxed right now since our son left for his freshman year at college.
Me: My answer about how often you should do it is this: do it no more and no less than you really want to. Talk with your partner about what you want in your intimate life. Get help if you need it to make intimacy something amazing.
Then, wondering if you “should” or “shouldn’t” won’t be an issue anymore.
Her: Oh. I get it.
Her friend: Me too.