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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...

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."

Andrea M. Macari, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sex therapy in Great Neck, N.Y., says the theories presented in the two books reflect sex therapy literature.

"Regular sex actually increases sexual desire in the couple," she tells WebMD. "In other words, the more you 'do it,' the more the individuals will seek it. You develop a desire that wasn't normally there. The act itself is reinforcing."

But she points out that sex doesn't have to be "mind-blowing."

"I encourage couples to have 'good enough' sex. This sets realistic expectations and often lowers anxiety. Sex is like pizza: even when it's bad, it's usually still pretty good. On a scale from one to 10, good-enough sex is between 5 and 7."

Doug Brown admits that he and his wife were tired on many nights. But, he says, "Once we started, we got in the mood. We were never sorry we did it."

Scheduled Sex: Good for Your Relationship?

"The two married couples who document having sex on a daily basis are great role models for other couples who want to take their relationship to a higher level of intimacy," says Ava Cadell, PhD, founder and president of Loveology University and a certified sex counselor.

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