365 Nights of Sex: Can It Strengthen a Marriage?
When their marriages fell into the doldrums, two long-married couples decided to find out if having sex every day could boost their relationships.
Reversing the Downward Sex Spiral continued...
When Doug Brown and his wife began their experiment in 2006, they were juggling two kids and two jobs. Married for 14 years, they averaged sex three times a month. And he admits he had performance anxiety.
"I felt I had to be a porn star or an Olympic gold medalist. That melted away with [daily] sex. We learned so much about each other. Sex became much more playful and that translated into a more playful union. We regained an electricity that wasn't always there before."
They also lost their inhibitions and embarrassment about the subject and gained confidence. "Now we can talk about anything."
The Mullers had a similar experience.
"I didn't realize how much not being [regularly] intimate stressed our relationship," Charla Muller tells WebMD. "I was a bit of a dodger, because I felt pressure to make it fabulous, because who knows when it will come around again? Now I'm not willing to give it up again."
She says an unexpected benefit of daily sex was the kindness it required of the couple.
"I wasn't expecting that. I thought we would only have to be really nice after hours. But we both had to bring our best game to the marriage every day. That was an important part of what went on behind closed doors."
The Science of Frequent Sex
Helen Fisher, PhD, a research professor and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University, says couples trigger sex drive, romance, and attachment -- along with their attendant hormones, testosterone, dopamine, and oxytocin -- with regular sexual activity.
Fisher is an advocate of frequent sex.
She says that in some hunting and gathering societies, such as the Kung bushmen in the southern Kalahari, couples often make love every day for relaxation. Unlike our time-pressed culture, there is more leisure time.
"Sex is designed to make you feel good for a reason," says Fisher. "With someone you love, I recommend it for many reasons: It's good for your health and good for your relationship. It's good for respiration, muscles, and bladder control. It's a fine antidepressant, and it can renew your energy."