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There’s a thin line between average and below average, you’re standing with your feet on both sides.
You're having sex 8.28% less frequently than people like you (18 - 29 yrs old).

Have you ever wondered "Am I having enough sex?" or maybe "Should I have less sex", "Does it even matter?". Well, we've got the answer to those and more questions about sex that might have popped in your head.

So let's have a fun and honest conversation about sex and how to make the most of it. Also, while we're at it, let's find out how you rank amongst other Americans in sex frequency!

Why are we obsessed with sex in the modern times?

Valentine's day has very intersting pagan origins: the Roman Lupercalia. Then, people would seek fertility by whipping women with pieces of skin from sacrificed animals. They would also partake in a crude version of the modern 'First Dates'... Ah, the good old days!

Today Valentine's Day is just the celebration of romantic love (without dead animals or whipped women). It's a time for cuddles and gifts, for laughter and sex, for anything that makes you be together and stay in love.

Love is truly powerful and empowering feeling. But love can die down. Long-lasting, successful relationships don't just happen, need to be nourished and taken care of. Some of the best ways, according to many experts, are activities like working out or cooking together.

And we're not talking only about going out on Valentine's Day. The balance between self-development and being part of something bigger than yourself could also be the key to a better relationship. Amongst other benefits, it helps keep the "spark" alive in long term relationships, which gives way to many other benefits. For example, increased levels of attraction lead to more and better sex.

Frequent good sex might sound like something primitive and frivolous. However, not only does it prevent most of the cheating situations, but is also linked with improved well-being in healthier couples. And, let's face it! It is a difficult topic to talk about but is crucial to understand our behaviors, relationships, and history as human animals.

Sex is mostly taboo, which prevents it from being seen as a healthy way to intimately relate to others. Many think that there is a modern fixation with sex and long for past times where "not everything was about sex".

This idea entirely ignores the reality of previous times, where sex was as powerful of a force as it is today. From the old Egyptian empire to the modern scandals in the White House, sexual desire has been an indissoluble part of human history.

Decorations on a Cristian church in Spain

This includes homosexual disputes such as those who got Athens' tyrant, Hipparchus, killed, and medieval Christian churches decorated with explicit sex scenes (here are some more graphical examples). So yeah, sex is, has been, and will most likely continue to be a big part of our history, beyond its reproductive function.

And the reason? Well apart from the pure pleasure of it, most research seems to point in the same direction: good sex correlates with happiness. Sex is a very personal thing, but whether you experience it as a very intimate and sacred act or in a more fun and hedonistic way having good sexual life leads to a better overall life.

This naturally raises a lot of questions, in particular, what exactly is a "good sex life"? It is hard to know what that means in practical terms... Is more, better? Does it mean promiscuity, or maybe faithfulness? Is there a magic number of sexual intercourses for optimum happiness? These are difficult questions, and the answer is mostly "It depends", but let's elaborate on that.

The sex calculator: what it tells you, what it doesn't

As human animals, we tend to compulsively compare ourselves with others in almost every single aspect of our lives, so it should come as no surprise that "average sex per week" has over 254,000,000 results on Google. Being sex such a hard topic to talk about in person, we have created here a tool to help you answer that question with the help of an online database from the General Society Survey, a sociological survey that is regularly collected since 1972 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. In one of these surveys, people were asked to declare: "About how often did you have sex during the last 12 months?". Their answers has been analyzed and published by scientists in the paper that compiles sexual intercourse frequency in the entire US organized by, e.g., age, race and marital status. Thanks to them we are able to quickly tell you how you rank against other Americans in 2010 - 2014, concerning the frequency of your sexual interactions.

Before we tell you how to use it we would like to make one thing very clear: normal doesn't necessarily mean good in the same way that uncommon doesn't mean bad. This tool has been made for fun and entertainment purposes, and not as a diagnostic tool for any kind of sexual problem or lack thereof. However, this tool can give you meaningless bragging rights and "fun fact" ammunition for the next time (your) sexual life becomes a topic of conversation.

Firstly you should input the average frequency with which you have sex. At this point, the calculator will already display a partial result comparing your frequency with that of all the Americans. But the fun doesn't have to stop here, you can keep on filling in the blanks with information about you, and the calculator will add more and more detailed comparisons for your demographic groups (men/women, age group, education...) so that you can know how you rank not only compared to any American but also amongst the ones like you.

Feel free to also try and learn something from the dataset by using different parameters, if you're a curious person. Just remember that this is no more than a fun tool to get (mostly) irrelevant information about people's lives.

There are many more factors that play into how satisfactory or good a sexual life is other than frequency. From the obvious (and ugly) prevention of STDs and unwanted pregnancy to pleasure (which goes beyond orgasms, as we will see), intimacy or relief, there is much more about sex than pure counting and comparing who's got it bigger.

A -not so serious- note on frequency

The frequency of sexual interactions is of very little importance. However, there are some interesting facts to talk about. For example, studies have shown that, statistically, couples that have sex once a week or more, on average, are happier than those who have less sex than that. However whether they have more sex because they are happier with each other or the other way around, is still a mystery. According to most experts we should really not worry about others and just focus on what works best for us and our relationship.

By now you've probably discovered already that in the USA people have sex 53.71 times per year on average. This figure varies depending on what demographic group we look at, with a general decline in frequency with age. A question that might have crossed your mind is: "was it always like this?" and some of you might have even tried to guess the answer.

"Surely our parents didn't have as much sex than us, they lived other times when it was shameful and frown upon" it's a very common thought amongst the younger generations. Surely Tinder and all the dating apps would have given us an edge... NOPE!

In fact, according to the data, we are having less sex than 20 years ago! That means that no matter what your age is, on average our parents had more sex at our age than we do. Shocking, right? The answer as to why is this happening is still unclear, and more data would be needed for a proper conclusion.

However, there are several factors that seem very likely to have an impact such as the physical distance we're building by using (ironically) social networks on the internet as well as the higher availability of entertainment options on demand. Imagine a mildly sexual couple on a Friday evening with no plans... 20 years ago there was either something interesting on the TV or there was nothing to do.

Right now, however, there's always a Netflix episode you can watch, a YouTube video to enjoy.... All on demand ready to prevent you from getting bored and shift your attention to your partner... Regardless of whether Netflix and chill made us less sexual, there's also the factor of knowledge and worry, especially when we mix sexual repression and bad sexual education.

How to sex so that your sex is leet

Like with everything new that we want to learn, there are many resources from which to learn how to be better lovers and experience more and better pleasure. The Internet is a minefield full of these kinds of books, videos, courses or even just forums where people would share their experiences and tips and tricks on how to make your sexual encounters better. We know it sounds weird, but that's the most efficient way to learn anything new.

Not to leave anyone hopeless in this sea of misinformation we can recommend a couple of books and resources for those curious

  • Come as you are by Emily Nagoski: is a very highly regarded book on female sexuality with science-based information
  • Mating in captivity by Esther Perel: an in-depth look at what it takes to keep desire alive through everyday life
  • Sexual intelligence by Marty Klein: a take on the importance of the mindset when having sex
  • Sexplanations: a YouTube channel with a funny and unrestrained yet educational take on how to have a healthy sexual life
  • Layla Martin: an educational channel on conscious sexuality as well as the healing and spiritual side of sex

But before you go and dive deep into those tools, there are certain behaviors or attitudes that can greatly help anyone willing to '1-up' their sex life. Concerning the things we should avoid we find things like desperately looking for orgasms as a measure of good sex, putting pressure on ourselves or our partner to perform good and be perfect in bed, or being judgmental with our partners.

These are the kind of attitudes that give us nothing but disappointment, fear, blockage... That is things that take away from the enjoyment and pleasure of the experience. Another very negative thing to do is, ironically, watch too much porn; especially of the hardcore, brain-numbing, over-the-top kind. Studies have shown that such behavior can easily lead to addiction, brain damage or sexual desensitization at the very least.

We're clearly not condemning all porn-watching behaviors, there's a healthy way to watch porn an even include it inside a healthy sexual life without, but also with a partner. In fact, almost any sexual practice can be healthy if done the right way; which leads us to the "DOs" for a healthy sexual life.

Everyone is different and there's not a single instruction for a fantastic sex life. However, there are certain things like communication (verbal or otherwise), respect, understanding... That are at the core of any healthy sexual life, and healthy relationship. Knowing what your partner wants and feels as well as expressing yourself in a safe and accepting environment can only improve both your sex life and your relationship.

Another important point for having better sex is to be self-aware in all aspects. This not only helps you interact better with your partner but also guide them to give you more pleasure than they could on their own. There is no shame in self-pleasuring, and it can be one of the best ways to pamper yourself and give that much needed time of true attention and pleasure to yourself.

Integrating all of these attitudes into your sexual life will take time, and you will most likely need expert help to embrace them fully. Once you start, though, they are almost certain to improve your enjoyment of sex, the connexion with your partner(s). It will also improve your life overall, as we have discussed before.

Bang, Bang, Banging on heaven's doors

Such is the effect that these tricks have on people's sexual life that, for many, sex become a spiritual experience beyond just the pure pleasure and intimacy. This kind of connections have been present in human history since time immemorial and have managed to survive to our times.

Books like Kamasutra are growing again in popularity in our western culture as we slowly awake as a society to conscious pleasure. Practices like Tantric sex that were almost forgotten are slowly gaining traction thanks to more and more open attitudes to what sex should be.

The principles of these old traditions have also been used successfully by some therapists to release traumas and heal( old wounds. It might sound like magic but is simply an unexplored branch of psychology, for the moment.

Of course, sex doesn't need to be spiritual to be good, and not everyone is comfortable talking about "sex energy" or "Chakras". As we said before, sex is as personal as things can get, there is nothing wrong as long as it's pleasurable for whoever is involved. But what's definitely not ideal is to keep this all in the realm of pure theory.

Now go put it all together and make this Valentine's Day the best ever

And what a better occasion to put all this together than Valentine's day? There are, clearly, many plans to do on lover's day, but sex is as valid an option as any other, especially when paired with some nice joint activity. For some, it might be the only way to substitute chocolate without getting an angry response.

An excellent way to go about trying new things with your partner is first to talk about what they would be comfortable with. Then set the mood towards the intimate moment; a nice dinner out, some sensual music and candles when arriving home are some tried-and-tested options. Remember to let things flow, without any expectations beyond having the best time possible, together.

It is very likely that you would like to know some practical examples of you can try for this Valentine's day night. You can try an intimate massage for your female or male partner to learn some techniques or at least get inspired.

So or those of you who would like to give it a go we wish you the safest, most connected and, of course, pleasurable experience with that special one. Who knows? Maybe it'll spark you up the rankings of sexual intercourse!

Dominik Czernia - PhD candidate and Álvaro Díez - PhD candidate.

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