Sex Frequency Statistics (2024) – How Often Do Couples Have Sex?

Everybody likes having sex. It’s on everybody’s mind all the time; people structure their whole lives around the pursuit; one could say it’s what truly makes us human…right? Well, this old standby might not be as true as it once was. And, when you look a little deeper into some of the studies from reputable journals and publications worldwide, you might be surprised by the results.

how often do couples have sex

Sex Frequency Statistics (Key Facts)

The question remains. How often are Americans having sex? It’s a query that many people might ask themselves, but the answer doesn’t seem clear-cut. According to the research compiled here, the average American adult has sex about once a week.

While statistics about sex, who’s having it, and what all of it means can be elusive, here are some key takeaways from the research we’ve compiled:

  • In 2002, Americans were having sex about 64 times on average, per year. That activity had decreased to an average of 53 times yearly by the end of 2014.
  • Relationship status plays a large role in sexual frequency. Adults who have never been married have sex more often than adults who are or have been married.
  • A mere 26% of couples have sex at least once a week, with most couples having sex 1-2 times per month or less.
  • In 2018, 57% of Americans said they’d experienced a marked decrease in sex frequency, and only 8% reported an increase.
  • Almost one-third (29.35%) of Americans said they hadn’t had sex in the past year.
  • Men and women engage in the most sex between the ages of 25-29.
  • California is the most sexually active state in the U.S. based on contraceptive sales per capita and other metrics.

Which States in the U.S. Have the Most and Least Sex?

Two studies ranked U.S. states regarding their sexual activity. And while there is a shortage of scientifically rigorous studies regarding this information, we were still able to compile a list of the states reporting the most sexual activity, taking into account several different factors in these investigations.

  • Insider Monkey created a list ranking the states reporting the most sexual activity in America.
    • This list was compiled using a survey sponsored by Durex about sexual engagements and health, stats on the number of prophylactics sold, the number of people self-reporting that they engage in sexual activity, and a list of colleges known to be very active sexually.
    • The ranking is based on the frequency with which each state appears in various studies and surveys and the position of each state on the lists.
      • The 11 states reporting the most sexual activity, according to the study, are
        1. California
        2. Texas
        3. New York
        4. Oregon
        5. Colorado
        6. Arizona
        7. Washington
        8. Massachusetts
        9. Connecticut
        10. Missouri
        11. Utah
    • Statistics for each state include the percentage of respondents who reported ever engaging in a one-night stand and the average duration of sexual intercourse. It is worth noting that the ranking was based on limited and potentially unreliable sources, and the criteria used to determine sexual activity are not clear.
    • FourLoko created a list of the “thirstiest” states according to several factors based on Google search result data.
  • At a glance:
    • Rhode Island was ranked as the thirstiest state in the country, followed by Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
    • Mississippi was ranked as the least likely hookup spot, followed by Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

A full list of the “thirstiest” states in the country can be found here:

  • 1. Rhode Island
  • 2. Maine
  • 3. Michigan
  • 4. New Hampshire
  • 5. Massachusetts
  • 6. Ohio
  • 7. Pennsylvania
  • 8. Vermont
  • 9. Washington
  • 10. Wisconsin
  • 11. Colorado
  • 12. Florida
  • 13. Nevada
  • 14. Missouri
  • 15. Montana
  • 16. Minnesota
  • 17. Arizona
  • 18. Oregon
  • 19. New York
  • 20. Iowa
  • 21. Nebraska
  • 22. Delaware
  • 23. Connecticut
  • 24. Illinois
  • 25. Georgia
  • 26. North Carolina
  • 27. New Jersey
  • 28. Indiana
  • 29. Tennessee
  • 30. Kansas
  • 31. Wyoming
  • 32. Idaho
  • 33. Virginia
  • 34. North Dakota
  • 35. Kentucky
  • 36. Alabama
  • 37. New Mexico
  • 38. South Carolina
  • 39. Texas
  • 40. Hawaii
  • 41. Utah
  • 42. Maryland
  • 43. South Dakota
  • 44. California
  • 45. Arkansas
  • 46. Oklahoma
  • 47. West Virginia
  • 48. Alaska
  • 49. Louisiana
  • 50. Mississippi

How Often Are Adults Having Sex In America?

The sexual activity of American adults has fluctuated over the years. According to a study, in 2002:

  • Adults in the US had sex, on average, in 64 unique instances per year
  • That number shrunk to 53 times per year by 2014.
  • From the beginning of the 90s to right before the turn of the century, adults had sex at an average rate two times higher than in other periods included in the study.
  • Over the next ten-year period (2000-2010), the rate of sexual intercourse people reported having had gone down by 9 points on their scale.
    • This alludes to a very significant drop in overall sexual encounters during the early to late aughts.

There are also differences in sexual activity based on relationship status.

  • Adults who had never married had a higher amount of sex than those who were married.
    • Individuals who were never married had sex 70 times each year on average
    • Married people had sex 56 times each year
    • Approximately 46 times each year for divorceès, and roughly ten times each year for widows and widowers.

A survey of married couples in 2018 found that while 26 percent of couples said they were engaging in intercourse once each week, most reported having sex 1 or 2 times each month. They found that, for married couples:

  • 25% have sex once each week
  • 16% have sex 2 or 3 times each week
  • 5% have sex four or more times each week
  • 19% engage in sex 2 to 3 times every month
  • 17% have sex once every month
  • 7% had sex only 1 or 2 times over the preceding year,
  • and 10% had not engaged in intercourse in the preceding year.

According to that same 2018 survey,

  • A majority of Americans (57%) experienced a drop in their sexual activity for the year(s) surveyed
  • While only a small portion (8%) reported that their rate of sexual encounters had gone up.
  • The remaining 35% stated that their level of sexual activity remained unchanged.

In a 2021 survey by the GSS,

  • Almost 30% of Americans stated they had not engaged in sexual intercourse over the preceding year.
  • The remaining participants reported having sex throughout the year at varying levels:
    • ~12%
    • ~13% once every month
    • ~17% 2 or 3 times each month
    • ~13% once every week
    • ~12% 2 or 3 times each week
    • ~4% three or more sexual encounters every week.

How Often Are People in Various Age Brackets Having Sex?

While Americans in the 16-45 age range reportedly had high rates of sexual activity in 1991, data ranging from 2004-2009 showed that,

  • People over 45 had decreased rates of weekly sexual activity across the board.
    • Women in this age group’s sexual activity dropped from 43% down to 32%
    • The male rate decreased from a rate of 49% down to 41%.

Americans who were single and over the age of 45 reported having sex more than their married counterparts, with

  • 48% of single people reporting weekly sexual activity

compared to

  • 36% of participants who were married having weekly sex.

Over a two-year period (2016-2018), the majority of 18 to 44-year-old American adults said they were engaging in sex at least once a week, with variations in frequency regarding age and the participant’s gender.

Here is the age and gender breakdown from a 2020 study involving nearly 10,000 individuals:

  • 18-24
    • No sex in previous year
      • 31% of men
      • 19% of women
    • 1-2 times per year
      • 9% of men
      • 10% of women
    • 1-3 times per month
      • 23% of men
      • 18% of women
    • Once per week or more
      • 37% of men
      • 52% of women
  • 25-34
    • No sex in previous year
      • 12% of men
      • 11% of women
    • Once or twice per year
      • 6% of men
      • 6% of women
    • 1-3 times per month
      • 27% of men
      • 25% of women
    • Weekly or more
      • 50% of men
      • 54% of women
  • 35-44
    • No sex in previous year
      • 8% of men
      • 8.5% of women
    • 1-2 times per year
      • 11% of men
      • 8% of women
    • 1-3 times per month
      • 31% of men
      • 31.5% of women
    • Once per week or more
      • 50% of men
      • 53.5% of women

How Many Times Do People Have Sex Every Week?

A lot of the literature we looked at concerns more constrained age groups and longer periods of time. But research by the famed Kinsey Group, summarized in this article gives us a snapshot of the sexual activity of people in a given week. On average:

  • People 18-29
    • Have sexual intercourse two times every week
  • People 30-39
    • Have sexual intercourse 1.6 times every week.
  • People 40-49
    • Have sexual intercourse 1.3 times every week.

When are Men and Women their Most Sexually Active?

It’s only natural to wonder when you might hit your prime. This extends to a lot of different arenas, athleticism, cognitive function, and sex is definitely not an exception to this general desire.

According to our compiled research, we can give you an answer based on statistics!

  • Both men and women typically report the highest rates of sexual engagement and vaginal intercourse at ages 25-29.
    • This may be due, in part, to higher testosterone levels in males aged 19-40, which can boost libido and sexual function.

However, whether you’re in these age ranges or not, it’s worth noting that people of all appropriate legal ages can still enjoy a fulfilling sex life, and it’s never too late to start exploring and enjoying your sexuality.

Here are the numbers compiled from a study of nearly 6,000 men and women of various ages: [collapsible list]

Men:

  • Age 14-15
    • Sex in the past month – 7.9%
    • In the past year -8.9%
    • Lifetime – 9.9%
  • Age 16-17
    • Past month – 16.1%
    • Past year – 30.3%
    • Lifetime – 30.3%
  • Age 18-19
    • Past month – 31%
    • Past year – 52.8%
    • Lifetime – 62.5%
  • Age 20-24
    • Past month – 52%
    • Past year – 63.3%
    • Lifetime – 70.3%
  • Age 25-29
    • Past month – 74.4%
    • Past year – 85.7%
    • Lifetime – 89.3%
  • Age 30-39
    • Past month – 71.3%
    • Past year – 85.3%
    • Lifetime -92.6%
  • Age 40-49
    • Past month – 61%
    • Past year – 73.6%
    • Lifetime – 89.3%
  • Age 50-59
    • Past month – 44.1%
    • Past year – 57.9%
    • Lifetime – 85.8%
  • Age 60-69
    • Past month – 38.9%
    • Past year – 53.5%
    • Lifetime – 86.9%
  • Age 70+
    • Past month – 28.2%
    • Past year – 42.9%
    • Lifetime – 88.1%

And Women:

  • Age 14-15
    • Sex in the past month – 5.9%
    • In the past year -10.7%
    • Lifetime – 12.4%
  • Age 16-17
    • Past month – 20.8%
    • Past year – 29.7%
    • Lifetime – 31.6%
  • Age 18-19
    • Past month – 43.1%
    • Past year – 62%
    • Lifetime – 64%
  • Age 20-24
    • Past month – 61.9%
    • Past year – 79.9%
    • Lifetime – 85.6%
  • Age 25-29
    • Past month – 74.3%
    • Past year – 86.5%
    • Lifetime – 90.7%
  • Age 30-39
    • Past month – 63.5%
    • Past year – 73.5%
    • Lifetime – 88.7%
  • Age 40-49
    • Past month – 55.8%
    • Past year – 70.3%
    • Lifetime – 94.5%
  • Age 50-59
    • Past month – 39.9%
    • Past year – 51.4%
    • Lifetime – 94%
  • Age 60-69
    • Past month – 28.9%
    • Past year – 42.2%
    • Lifetime – 92.4%
  • Age 70+
    • Past month – 11.9%
    • Past year – 21.6%
    • Lifetime – 89.2%

When Do Women and Men Usually Stop Having Sex?

There is no specific age at which people stop engaging in and ultimately gaining satisfaction from sex, but some trends show that sexual engagement and fulfillment may decrease as we get older.

  • People over 53 who thought of aging as a negative reported decreased sexual enjoyment.

Additionally, feelings of getting older may also decrease sexual interest.

  • People between 50-80 have sex two times a month, with 37% of people in this age group no longer engaging in sexual activity.

And hey, it just so happens that among singles in this age group, 14% reported being open to having sex on the first date, while 30% said they had sex within the first three dates. So fear not, older daters. You can still get lucky on the first (or third) date!

Is there an Overall Decline in Sexual Activity?

One of the distressing things you might hear about if you spend any time looking into sex statistics is that there is a fertility crisis, and on top of that you might have heard about plummeting rates of intercourse, in general, in industrialized nations. A major survey of national sexual health looked at sexual frequency across a period from 2009-2018. But what do the numbers say?

  • The NSSHB was conducted in 2009 and 2018 to assess the changing landscape of sexual behavior among 14-49-year-olds in the United States.
    • The study aimed to look at penis-to-vaginal sex (PVI) from the period of 2009-2018 and examined the combinations of sexual behaviors engaged in by participants in both waves of the survey.
    • The study included over 4100 participants from the national survey (406 women, 414 men aged 14 to 17;1744 men and 1591 females aged 18 to 49) and 4547 participants from national survey in 2018 (411 young men and 416 young women, aged 14 to 17; 1713 males and 2007 females, aged 18 to 49).
  • The study found that in 2018, 28% of adult participants reported not having had penile-vaginal intercourse in the past year, compared to the 2009 rate of 24%.
  • Among adolescents (ages 14-17), 89% reported not having had penile-vaginal intercourse in the past year in 2018, compared to 79% not having any PVI in 2009.
  • The study also observed decreases in every configuration of sexual intercourse and solo masturbation among adolescents.
  • The NSSHB is a confidential, nationally representative survey of sexual behavior conducted online in the United States.
  • In addition to finding a decrease in PVI frequency, the study also observed a decrease in all modes of partnered sex among both adolescents and adults.
  • The study found that the decreases in sexual behavior were more pronounced among adolescents than adults.
  • Researchers have expressed concern about the potential consequences of declines in sexual frequency, including impacts on fertility, relationship happiness, and human connection and intimacy.

How has COVID-19 Affected Sexual Behavior?

A systematic review has found that the societal effects of COVID-19 have significantly impacted whether or not people engaged in sex, and how they functioned when they did, with women experiencing greater effects than men. The study analyzed 21 published papers and over 6100 participating individuals.

The results showed that pandemic restrictions were correlated with increased rates of sexual dysfunction and reduced sexual activity, with female participants experiencing a greater decrease in sexual functioning than male participants.

  • COVID-19 has had an impact on whether or not people chose to engage in sex, as evidenced by 21 studies that were included in the study.
  • The studies included 3765 men and 2454 women.
  • The study’s results showed that pandemic restrictions were related to increased sexual dysfunction and a decrease in sexual activity rates.
  • The change in sexual functioning was greater in women when compared to sexual functioning in men.
  • Participants stated their sexual engagements had decreased and masturbation rates had increased when compared to pre-pandemic rates.
  • The study suggests that sexologists should investigate and create programs focused on reducing the factors affecting sexual functioning due to COVID-19, as it relates to the psychological effects on people in communities experiencing pandemic restrictions.
  • The study found that the pandemic was correlated with statistically significant reductions in FSFI scores among women as well as IIEF-5 scores among men.
  • The study suggests that sex is an important dimension of every person’s life and that researchers need to pinpoint the factors contributing to sexual dysfunction as a result of pandemic conditions in their community.
  • The study analyzed the effects of the pandemic on sexual behavior among individuals across different countries, including China, Italy, France, and Iran.
  • The study found that the pandemic was correlated with statistically significant reductions in various aspects of sexual activity, including desire, ability to become aroused, natural lubrication, achievement of orgasm, overall satisfaction, and incidence of pain.
  • The study suggests that the pandemic may have had a greater impact on the sexual behavior of women as opposed to men and that further research is needed to understand the underlying reasons for this difference.

Conclusion

Human sexuality is a significant aspect of life that can vary in intensity and frequency. Generally, people tend to have more sex in their mid to late 20s, but this trend generally declines with age. Different communities and cultures may have different attitudes towards sex; some are more accepting and open about it, while others consider it taboo. Additionally, sexual behavior can vary among different generations. Ultimately, it is important to focus on your and your partner’s satisfaction with your sexual experiences rather than just how often you have them.

Sources

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