How often do you have sex? Do you know? Are you sure? Do you ever have a disagreement about when the last time you had sex was? Or how often you have sex on average? I came across a study once (I wish I could find it) that showed that some married couples couldn’t even agree on whether or not they had sex the night before (and we’re not talking about a drunken night out). I know for us, early in our marriage, this was a constant battle. I would insist that it had been weeks since the last time we had sex. My wife would insist that it was “just the other day”. So, when we finally started sitting down and talking about our sex issues, one of the things I did was start tracking our frequency. I mean, there’s no sense having an argument about each other’s memory of reality when you can easily use facts that represent reality. Because, let’s face it, typically both spouses are a bit biased.
These days we no longer argue about how often we have sex. We know, because we track it. So, now we can discuss what the real issue is, not whose memory is flawed. This has been immensely helpful to us. Just last week in fact, when my wife was proof reading Is scheduled sex helpful for a marriage?, I wrote that our frequency was down to about twice a week. She launched the app on my tablet that we use to track frequency and started counting. In the past, this might have started a fight, in her mind, I was wrong. It just so happened that I had checked the app myself before making a claim, or I might have stated a different number myself. But, now, she just looked at me and said “What happened in October?!”, and we had a short discussion about how our lives are quite busy right now, how the baby won’t sleep, how we both want more, but we both understand that this is a temporary lull.
But some spouses will get upset over tracking frequency. I’ve heard of large fights started just because a spouse was marking the calendar with a small tick every time they had sex. Why is this?
Tracking how often you have sex makes it feel less romantic
Some spouses believe that if you are tracking sex, then
- it is now more like business than romance
- you have a quota you are trying to match
- you believe quantity is more important than quality
- you don’t care who the sex is with, so long as you are hitting your targets
- you are going to show someone
- there is pressure to “keep the numbers up”
My wife’s first response for why someone wouldn’t want to track sexual frequency is because it shows the truth. That their sex-life is dangerously infrequent and they are likely the cause.
In all these objections, one thing is clear to me: They are not upset about the tracking, but rather avoiding the real issue and deflecting their misplaced anger, fear, resentment or shame onto the thing that will show there is a real problem. This is a case of “don’t kill the messenger”.
Why you should track how often you have sex
So, why should you track?
- As I said above it gives a true count of reality. No biases, no forgetfulness, no faded memories. This can stop fights about recollection of the data, and move on to resolving the real conflict.
- You can see trends in your life. Notice cycles. Notice that once a month, your frequency goes to zero? I’m betting that’s the wife’s period. Notice that once a month, it increases dramatically? I’m betting that’s the wife’s ovulation (more on that in a future post). Notice it going up or down every year around Christmas, or tax season, or maybe quarterly reviews at work? You can prepare for these, and not be upset, or wondering what you did differently when they occur.
- Because, anything monitored, improved. Think about it. You watch your weight, it goes down. You watch your bank account, it goes up. You watch your kids….well, they don’t die in a freak accident. Watching things often leads to result, purely by placing your attention on it. It’s not a guarantee, but baring some serious issues in the marriage, it tends to be true.
Don’t secretly track how often you have sex
If you are going to start tracking, I wouldn’t suggest doing it in secret. If your spouse has one of the objections above, they are going to add a new one to the list: you’re hiding it, so you know it’s wrong. Don’t hide it. Have a conversation about it. Tell your spouse why you are tracking, what you hope to accomplish, and how you are going to track it. Give them access so they can see it. Oh, and don’t jump up to run to the calendar and circle the date as soon as you have an orgasm. Be a little bit more considerate. Maybe do it the next day, or after going to the bathroom. But don’t make it look like you are adding notches to your bedpost.
Do you track your frequency? If so, why did you start? How do you track it (app, spreadsheet, marked calendar)? If not, is there a reason you don’t, do you think it could help?