How often does the average person have sex? Dispelling the three times a week myth

How often have you had sex in the last month?


If you coughed a bit and looked sort of embarrassed then fear not; a third of Britons haven’t done it at all. Not once. That’s apparently the reality of modern Britain – we’re doing it less than ever and, when we do, we’re not even sure we’re as good as we once were.

I’ve not been out asking people in the street or anything, this is all coming from a comprehensive study undertaken by The Observer, and to be honest it makes for fairly depressing reading. The survey is a follow up to the one they carried out in 2008 and shows some rather worrying trends. Some people believe the results are a reflection of a depressed economy and people working harder than ever – as parents particularly we all know how much more attractive sleep can seem than sex when you’ve been mentally battling a toddler for 14 hours straight.

I wonder too how much is to do with mobile technology and a tendency to sit in the evenings dual screening rather than retiring to the bedroom for an early night. Come on, admit it – have you ever thought about having sex but instead turned to Twitter or WhatsApp? There is much less effort involved when the person you’re interacting with can’t see that you’re in pudding stained pyjamas and haven’t shaved your legs since Christmas.

So here are some of the scary facts about how our sex lives have changed over the last six years:

  • In 2008 we were having sex an average of seven times a month. Now it’s only four.
  • 33% of us would rate our prowess as above average – a fall from 55% in 2008.
  • Only 34% of us rate our most recent partner as above average, compared with 59% in 2008.
  • 63% of us are satisfied generally with our sex lives – this was 76% in 2008.

Depressing right?

“Do you think it’s possible to maintain a happy relationship without sex?” I ask Boyfriend.

“No,” he said. “Not unless you’re a long way in.”


“Well 61% of people disagree with you,” I inform him.

61%??!! 61% of people who would feel quite happy just going about their marriage with no physical intimacy.

I’m imagining people everywhere just sat about of an evening, sighing discontentedly, settling for a mediocre experience and remembering fondly the days when they used to actually enjoy themselves and feel motivated to do something with their lives.

The reporting goes into lots of detail about infidelity, penis size, relationship duration and other such things, but there was one fact that stood out for me above the others.

What proportion of men do you think have had sex with a prostitute? Bear in mind this is just the proportion of men who would actually admit to it in a survey.

I’ll give you a minute to think about it.

Any ideas?


That’s more than one in five. Next time you’re at a party, look around you. One of five of those men are likely to have paid for sex.

I’d love to know what you think about this survey and the results and what this says about British society.




  1. Isabel O'Brien
    3 October, 2014 / 12:54 pm

    That’s weird- I thought it would have been the other way round, since sex is fun and free, and nobody has any money. How sad.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 October, 2014 / 12:59 pm

      A very good point! It would make more sense that way round wouldn’t it?

  2. Richard Pendleton
    3 October, 2014 / 1:20 pm

    I think I’m one of the people who can’t be bothered. Mental illness dented my libido and medication took it away, not that sex was a vast part of my life before. By some measure of magnitude, I’d rather be medicated than in the hell that I was in, so it’s an absolute and utter n-brainer, for all that it seems faintly resigned and mundane.

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:09 pm

      Mental health has a big impact Richard, you’re right. I have a friend who was telling me about her anti-depressants – they have basically stripped her libido and made it impossible for her to have an orgasm. You’re right though that it’s a small price to pay for better mental health.

  3. Monika
    3 October, 2014 / 1:38 pm

    I can honestly say my partner and I have even less than 4 times and it doesnt stop us from having great relationship . Yes, he’s a diabetic and an amputee which affects his libido and performance but this does not make me feel any less fulfilled in our relationship . I think that when we reach certain age and point in life the sex obsession ends and hopefully what we are left with is respect and gratitude to the other half for what we managed to achieve together (i.e children, loving and secure home , genuine friendship….) .

    • Jo Middleton
      3 October, 2014 / 3:38 pm

      I think it’s definitely true that as a relationship matures it can become less important, so long as you have all of those other things and neither person feels like there is anything missing.

  4. 3 October, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    OK. So – I was in a relationship in my 20s where we didn’t for over 6years. And I also know a man who openly admits to sleeping with hookers. So there you have it, I’m a walking stat-magnet today!

    • Jo Middleton
      3 October, 2014 / 3:37 pm

      You really are aren’t you? Are you happy with your penis size though, that’s the next question…

  5. 3 October, 2014 / 2:56 pm

    I think it all depends on your circumstances, what point in your relationship you are at,etc. I do think that a healthy sex life is important in a relationship though. We’re not at it like rabbits but we’re not celibate either – children play a big part in that though. :) x

    • Jo Middleton
      3 October, 2014 / 3:37 pm

      Children definitely play a massive part and not just from a logistics point of view. I remember when Belle was little and I was breastfeeding (for about two and a half years…) – she was always THERE and when she wasn’t I just wanted my body to myself for a while. Being touched by someone else was the last thing I needed.

  6. Geoff
    3 October, 2014 / 3:11 pm

    3 times a week,I should be so lucky !! 3 times in the last 10 yrs ! The kids were little and were alway’s used as an excuse ,so We had gone out Valentines day 2001 her parents were babysitting ,I had took her out for a nice meal to the Whitehart at Cold Ashton on the way back I suggested going into the car park on Tog Hill (you know where it is if you are from Bristol)she said ” NO we have a house for that ” so I said I know we have a house but you alway say no there as well and if that’s the way you feel I will leave it up to you to make the first move from now on,that was 13 yrs ago.
    Over those 13yrs i have made the first move 3 times (3 times in the last 10yrs) the last time was about 4 yrs ago…

    • Jo Middleton
      3 October, 2014 / 3:36 pm

      Bloody hell Geoff, that’s a long time! Still, it doesn’t have to be everything I guess. Do you feel happy with the relationship in other ways? Do you ever talk about sex or is it the elephant in the room?

    • Jenni
      24 February, 2015 / 3:23 pm

      To be honest I don’t think many women would jump at the chance of sex in a car park…

  7. 3 October, 2014 / 11:17 pm

    Okay, I admit that when I was married I would be lucky to cop off once a month – and that was after serious trying, innuendos and role play. Kids and that adaptation wage a serious war against any form of sex life – I think most couples go through the post kid(s) period and it is barren (for a variety of reasons) for a long time and if you can make it work again then you have cracked it (marriage wise). IMHO.

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:10 pm

      Kids have such a massive impact don’t they? I found that it was easy then to have that as an ‘excuse’ – you can go for ages and then it becomes a habit and you’re right, it takes a lot of work to get back on track.

  8. Polly
    4 October, 2014 / 8:16 am

    I have to say the biggest turn on is coming downstairs after getting the toddler to sleep (usually around 9-9:30, I know!) and finding that I don’t have a dishwasher to load and other things to wash up, tidy up etc etc…
    I agree to just wanting my body back and not being touched tho, I’ve been breastfeeding for 2.5 yrs and sometimes just need to be left to my devices and not touched, ugh! Especially the boobage!

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:12 pm

      Yes! I used to say this to an ex – it’s SO nice to have someone do little things like the washing up for you, especially when your family are young and time feels like such a luxury.

  9. 4 October, 2014 / 1:28 pm

    what! I never even heard of that, 3 times a week just sounds exhausting. I thought the average was like once a week. I do think its important in a relationship but I also think there are times when its not important (like when you are new-ish mum and it’s the last thing on your mind) then it just really shouldn’t be a big deal there are loads of other ways to show someone you love stacking the dishwasher without being told to (the dream!) x

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:12 pm

      It really is the dream :-)

      You’re right though that it goes in phases – just like a lot of aspects of a relationship – you just need to work with it I guess.

    • 21 December, 2015 / 9:50 pm

      So with you here hunny.
      Two kids who at 3 and 5 still don’t sleep through, a husband who doesn’t wake in the night to help or help around the house. By the time I do sit down its time to start work.

  10. 4 October, 2014 / 7:48 pm

    haha fritha ‘3 times a week just sounds exhausting’ i’m with you there! the boyfriend and i didn’t ‘do it’ until about a year and a half of being together. he was celibate for a good few years before we met and i’ve never really had much of a libido, so it wasn’t weird. we talked about it a few times and basically just agreed to just wait until it felt natural and not to do it just because that’s what couples do. it was what was right for us, but i get that may not work for others! sex is so simple, yet so complicated too!

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:14 pm

      I found this really interesting Laura – there is so much pressure I think on new couples of have sex and so much talk around the first time you have sex as being some sort of important landmark in a relationship. Did it feel like a big deal when you finally did do it? Is it now a regular thing or still just a kind of added extra as and when? (Tell me to get lost if that’s TMI!)

  11. 5 October, 2014 / 8:24 am

    I like this post. Just think though. Of the 78% of men that day they haven’t slept with a prostitute, some are probably lying!

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:15 pm

      I know right Danny?! There was something like another 14% who said they ‘would consider it’, and you have to assume another chunk who were just plain lying. Scary stuff! Do you have any friends who would admit to it?

  12. 5 October, 2014 / 10:06 pm

    This is really really interesting. I do think technology has a lot to do with the drop in sex – so many people go to bed too late or waste to much time using technology that we don’t socialise or communicate in the way we used to

    Laura x

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:16 pm

      Exactly. And phones in bed too?? Massive turn off for me.

  13. 6 October, 2014 / 8:15 am

    interesting stats…. three times a week is a bit much ;) unless I’m pregnant then I’m *ahem* slightly more inclined :p

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:17 pm

      Perhaps your pregnancy stats could average out the others ;-)

  14. 6 October, 2014 / 9:00 am

    Kids kill your sex life – they are the sex police! The window of opportunity just gets smaller and smaller and we’re usually knackered come bedtime. I will say that there are merits to a bit of ‘sky rockets in flight – afternoon delight’ (if you ever get the chance). Great post, the stat about prostitutes is depressing though!

    • Jo Middleton
      6 October, 2014 / 6:17 pm

      It really is a depressing stat isn’t it? There is a lot to be said for sex in the day whatever your family situation. One perk of self-employment ;-)

  15. 6 October, 2014 / 10:21 pm

    Nope, not paid for sex

    And not had sex this month or last

    But that is a good thing because I’m on holiday for the past 2 months!

    Btw. . In the creator of commentluv premium, can you contact me about a possible free upgrade?

  16. 6 October, 2014 / 10:23 pm

    Actually forgot to mention that I’m on holiday and the misses is back home and that’s why it’s a good thing!

    • Jo Middleton
      7 October, 2014 / 6:39 am

      Ok, that makes sense, I thought maybe it was just a really bad holiday ;-)

  17. Angela
    8 November, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    Wow, For the first 25 years we made love most days , our children went to bed and slept, no computer games and stuff in those days. when they were older they knew not to come in to our room if the door was shut. Even after 50 years of marriage we seem to do better than most that I’ve read about here .
    We do not have a TV in the bedroom nor is there wifi connection there!

    If this trend continues the human race will die out.

  18. 2 January, 2015 / 10:12 am

    Haha love this post and it’s interesting to read all the comments too! We probably average at twice a week and I will usually do something else for him maybe once a week if you know what I mean ;) – I think it’s all about finding a balance that works for both people. I think it’s hard if one person wants to do it once a month but the other wants to do it once a day. Surprisingly although we’ve been together for nearly 12 years and now have two children we actually have a far better sex life that we did when we first got together which is the opposite way round for most people. I do think it’s important though, maybe not for every relationship but I find the hormones it releases makes me generally feel closer and happier to Mr C then if we don’t ‘do it’ for a while. And of course it makes him happier too! x

  19. 13 March, 2015 / 6:21 am

    I found quite a drop in the number of times I had sex about a year ago, and was a little bummed about it. I did find something your readers may find useful though, if the guy doesn’t ejaculate everytime then and uses something called the microcosmic orbit so he doesn’t explode his desire for the woman will increase massively…
    Just my 2 cents.

  20. 17 April, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Interesting survey … my brain is to tired to share any concrete thoughts on it beyond just noting there are different factors responsible for our changing habits. So sad that some men pay for sex; especially given the stats on STDs.

    Thanks for sharing. #aNoviceMumTwitterFeed

  21. 2 May, 2016 / 5:32 pm

    I’m most surprised by the last statistic. Is it sad that the first lot didn’t surprise me all that much?! Still sad though and yes, I think our busy, tech-crazed culture had a lot to do with it. We could probably all do with making more of an effort in the bedroom. Watch this space!

  22. 11 September, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    We’ve been married for 7 months, been together for 2.5 years, been living together for over a year. We’re probably around twice a week. I think it’s winter’s fault; we’re both at work until it’s dark out, and that makes us tired; by 10pm, we’re asleep on the couch!! And haven’t had sex for weeks now.

  23. 1 May, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    This really is an interesting post. Sometimes we leave sex aside and only pay attention to other things but this is a very important part in a healthy relationship and deserves attention. Thank you, it was a good read.

  24. 28 June, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    In between work, illness and children we still manage it most days! And my prowess is fabulous thank you ;)

  25. 28 August, 2017 / 7:30 am

    this is a very informative and knowledgeable video you have shared.

  26. Marcus Ward
    22 November, 2017 / 11:34 am

    1 in 5 men have paid for sex?

    We’ve all paid for it one way or another, it doesn’t have to be with a prostitute.

    Buying all those drinks, paying for an expensive meal to woo her. Buying her jewellery, paying for a weekend away too. All in the name of keeping “him” happy. ;)

    And you thought we were being romantic. :)

    • Jo Middleton
      22 November, 2017 / 6:19 pm


  27. 2 August, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Aren’t 75% of stats made up ? Lol and as long as the two of you are happy with how often you do don’t see that it matters , from harsh experience it causes problems when one of you wants to more than other and it really sucks when you’ve been single awhile and you have a high sex drive!

  28. 28 October, 2019 / 8:38 pm

    What i can say, its an useful and resourceful article.thanks for share.

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