Ever so often, when I nudge my partner in the wee hours of the morning trying to sneak in a quickie before we go about our day, I get called a ‘nympho’ (after which, he happily obliges – so who’s the real ‘nympho’ here?).
“I think I’m officially a nymphomaniac,” girlfriends have confessed during lazy Sunday brunches – usually preceded by, I would assume, a bit of a romp between the sheets.
Even my close male friends have been ‘accused’ of being ‘sex maniacs’. Sex, sex, sex – that’s what all want men want anyway, right? (The right answer is: No.) Infamous sex scandals involving high-profile male celebrities (namely, Hugh Grant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Beckham) further reinstate this (completely false) belief.
Are we all really sex addicts then? Or are we just misconstruing a healthy and completely normal sexual appetite for something that it’s not? How much is too much any way?
In an interview with Men’s Fitness, Robert Weiss author and therapist for intimacy and sexual disorders says, “…Asking how much sex is too much sex is a little bit like asking how many drinks makes a person an alcoholic. This approach fails to recognise that with booze, it’s not a matter of how much you drink, it’s a question of how it affects your life. If alcohol is consistently creating problems for you, then you might want to look at your drinking. Sex is the same way.”
More often than not, hypersexuality is confused with sex addiction, explains Dr Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex therapist. Hypersexuality is really just high desire and not necessarily a medical issue. In study conducted by the Kinsey Institute, “18-29 year-olds have sex an average of 112 times per year, while 30-39 year-olds do the deed on average 86 times per year.” Those are just average numbers and what’s ‘healthy and normal’ can vary from couple to couple, says Kerner.
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According to Lauren F Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, “Medically speaking, there’s no such thing as too much sex. Obviously, listen to your body. If you’re sore or tired, then don’t have sex.” That last bit is key. Unless sex is causing you and your partner physical discomfort and/or getting in the way of work and family life, you are good to go.
So, before your eyes begin to glaze over, here’s a quick takeaway: Having sex regularly and frequently is part of a healthy, normal adult life. If the amount of sex you’re having works for you (and your partner), and is not causing any problems or distress, then your sex drive is just fine — and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
After all, in the words of John Updike, “Sex is like money; only too much is enough.”