How Much Sex Is Enough in a Relationship: Our Sexpert Weighs In

Q: My husband wants to have sex with the lights on. I prefer it pitch-black, but Id like to give his way a try. How can I feel less self-conscious?

A: First, take your husband's request as a compliment: He clearly finds it a big turn-on to look at you. Men are visual creatures, meaning what they see gets them hot—or not. Given his lights-on preference, your husband isnt interested in relying on cliched fantasies to be aroused. He wants you, and thats a great thing, right?

All that said, you have to feel comfortable—with your partner, your body, and the sexual situation—in order to fully enjoy the experience. And, sure, overhead lighting worthy of an operating room may not scream “sexy” to you (or to most of us, for that matter). The key is compromise: Try low-wattage bulbs in bedside lamps or several candles. If youre very self-conscious about your body and feel too exposed, wear a sexy camisole top that you can take off after the action heats up. It also helps to focus your attention on your guy in the beginning to get the pressure off yourself; then begin to acknowledge your own desires and responses as you relax. Finally, remember that practice makes perfect: The more often you try it, the more natural it will feel for both of you.

Q: Its been a long time since my husband and I have had sex. But were OK with it. Is that normal?

A: Theres no magic number of times per month or week that a couple “should” have sex. But lets face it: Making love is an integral part of a healthy relationship. For a relationship to stay healthy for the long haul, both partners need to know each others sexual needs and put in the effort to meet those needs; a lack of sexual intimacy could very well lead to trouble down the line.

So, have a frank talk about how much sex each of you really wants in order to remain happy—not just “OK”—in your marriage. Be honest and open. And commit to making sex a priority at least a few times a month, even if that means you both have to schedule it like you do a trip to the gym.

Maintaining a sexual relationship is a two-way street: If one of you fails to initiate sex or appears to be simply going through the motions, it can lead to anger, resentment, and emotional and physical detachment. If this sounds familiar, consider seeing a sex therapist together so you can resolve any issues before they hurt your marriage.