Sex is very personal. Your “normal” might be different from someone else’s. There are lots of things to think about when deciding what amount of sex is healthy for you.
How often are you having sex?
People with high libidos might want to have sex every day, where people with low libidos could be happy having sex once a week or less.
People’s sex drive varies over time too. Sometimes you’ll want to have lots of sex, and other times you might not want to have sex at all.
The average adult has sex about once a week, but it’s fine to have more—or less—as long as it works for you.
Who are you having sex with?
It’s normal to have sex outside of a relationship. Having a one-night stand doesn’t make you a slut or a bad person. It’s normal for people to experiment sexually, especially after getting out of a long-term relationship. Some religions might not be wild about all this, but it’s definitely normal.
Even if you’re cheating on someone, dwelling on feelings of guilt isn’t usually the most productive way forward. Use this as an opportunity to think about why you’re feeling unsatisfied, or why you’re having trouble maintaining control over your actions.
What’s right for me?
Nobody gets to tell you what is normal or moral when it comes to sex. You don’t deserve to have people criticize you for how much sex you have, your choice of partners, or what type of sex you’re into.
That said, if you feel like something is wrong, or that sex is ruining the rest of your life, you may want to take a closer look. Here are a few reasons why you might see a sudden change in your sex life:
- Your sex drive has changed. This can happen if you change medications, especially birth control. It can also happen because of an increase or decrease in stress. These changes aren’t necessarily bad, but if you’re worried about them, you could try talking to a doctor or a therapist about it.
- You’re using lots of drugs or alcohol. Recreational drugs and alcohol can also affect your sex drive. They often lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to have risky or irresponsible sex. In this case focusing on sex might be missing the point—maybe you should start by taking a look at your drug use.
- You relationship status has changed. When you first start dating someone, it can be really fun to do the deed. Or maybe you just left a relationship where the sex wasn’t great, and now you want to make up for lost time. As long as it’s not causing a problem for you, this is all pretty normal. (Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re having safe sex!)
- You are in a manic state. People experiencing mania can do things that are impulsive and out of character, like overindulging in pleasurable activities—including sex, gambling, or shopping. They often have racing thoughts, feel invincible, take on lots of new projects, and require less sleep than usual. If this sounds like you, it’s definitely time to talk to a doctor or a counselor about what you’re experiencing.
- Something else is going on—you’re addicted to sex, or you’re engaging in sexually compulsive behaviors as a result of a mental illness. Sex addiction is commonly associated with borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar disorder. If you think mental illness might be involved, take on of our screens to find out if you’re at risk.
Where to get help
It can be tricky to find a therapist who specializes in sex-related issues… But any good therapist will be trained to deal with sexual issues, along with anything else that might be going on. If nothing else, they can refer you to a good sex therapist.
For medical advice, you can search for a local sexual health clinic, or talk to your OB-GYN (for people with vaginas) or a urologist (for people with penises). Your primary care physician or family doctor can also help, or refer you to a specialist.
It can be a little nerve-wracking to open up about your sex life. Remember that your doctor or therapist has probably seen and heard it all.