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Sex life quiz - How healthy is your sex life?

A close up of the bottom of two pairs of feet

Are you a once-a-night or a once-a-month kind of couple? Do you enjoy giving each other massages or run a mile when your other half suggests a back rub?

Is sex good for you?

Believe it or not, there are several benefits associated with having sex. They range from improved heart health, less stress and lower blood pressure, to better relaxation and sleep and a happier mood and stronger relationship.1

How to enjoy sex in relationships

Enjoying sex stems from being in sync with one another on this topic because, after all, it’s something you make happen together! Finding the right time to talk to each other about it, not criticising each other, confiding in your partner about any changes in your body, being honest with yourself and them about how you feel and maintaining physical affection can all help to make sex more enjoyable, as well as many other things.2

How much sex is healthy?

According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour in 2017, the average adult has sex 54 times a year or around once a week. Does that sound about right to you?...3

What is good sex?

Good sex differs from person to person, but overall, to have ‘good sex’ involves encountering what’s good for you and your partner. Some people class it as being based on honest communication, mutual respect and pleasure, while others see it as being totally different. Good or bad, sex differs every time you experience it, even if it involves the same partner.4

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Your results

Mostly As

It seems like your sex life is buried under the rest of your life! Your first step is to stop taking gadgets into the bedroom – the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles reveals we’re having less sex than 10 years ago; one theory is that modern technology is distracting us from spending time with our partners.

While it’s great to focus on sex during the holidays, you need to maintain that intimacy back home. You may want less sex as your needs inside or outside the bedroom aren’t being met: you may feel unsupported with issues like stress, unemployment or family arguments. Talking to your partner about what you need both in and out of bed can bring you closer together. Most importantly, having more sex improves your sex life! Kissing, cuddling and orgasms all increase levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin, upping your intimacy.

If you’re really struggling, visit your GP to rule out any conditions that could be affecting your sex life. Diabetes, heart disease and depression can cause erectile dysfunction in men, while depression, anaemia, or an underactive thyroid can cause low libido in women.

Mostly Bs

Your sex life sounds perfectly normal; surveys show the average couple has sex two to three times a week, but this can become predictable. When you first meet, sex is spontaneous and instinctive but over time this changes. We don’t eat the same foods we did when we first met, so why would we be happy having the same sort of sex? Talk about any new desires with your partner to help reconnect.

Couples can also fall into the ‘all or nothing trap’; it’s either full-on sex, or granny pecks on the cheek. One trick is to reconnect with each other mentally. Desire exists in the space between you as individuals, so maintain that sexual tension by pursuing your own hobbies. Then arrange date nights, where you get to talk about your activities outside the relationship. It will help keep you both interested and interesting to each other.

Why not try taking some natural libido boosters? Medical herbalists often recommend horny goat weed – it’s said to increase sexual arousal and performance – while damiana has been used since the Mayans as an aphrodisiac.

Mostly Cs

Although you may be relating physically to your partner, what about emotionally? For many men, sex is their only source of intimacy so it could be a substitute for discussing their feelings. Some women may also feel pressured into having sex just to keep their partner happy.

Sex is much better as part of a supportive, communicative relationship. Experts say loving sex helps us feel noticed and valued in a relationship, creating intimacy, and reassuring both partners that they are loved. Check your partner’s needs are being met in bed, and discuss any concerns you may have too.

And while exercise is great for enhancing your sex life – it boosts body image, mood and confidence – too much can deplete your sex hormones, reducing sex drive. Sex is a great fitness routine on its own (20 minutes can burn up to 150 calories) but make sure you’re really connecting with your other half, rather than simply seeing them as a horizontal workout.

Take our sex life quiz - how healthy is yours?

Take our quiz, answering A, B, or C for each question, to see how your sex life stacks up, then discover the expert ways to improve your love life – whatever your results.

Q1. How often do you have sex with your partner?

A. Nothing for weeks, and then lots at once

B. Maybe a couple of times a week?

C. Not enough. I’m sure everyone has more than us

Q2. Do you take tablets, smartphones or e-readers to bed?

A. Yes – we often fall asleep watching films or reading

B. Depends – if I’m really busy I’m always checking my emails

C. Never – all our technology stays out of the bedroom

Q3. Have you ever used anything to spice up your sex life?

A. Taking a break together tends to rev things up

B. We’ve dabbled in toys and massage oils

C. We have an account with an ‘adult’ store

Q4. When was the last time you just cuddled your partner?

A. Err… last week? I can’t remember

B. At the weekend. But that was it

C. Last night. Then one thing led to another…

Q5. How healthy are you generally?

A. I get quite a lot of colds and I’m always tired!

B. I do a bit of exercise but love my food too

C. I’m currently training for an event or to lose weight

5 tips for better healthier sex with your partner

1. Communicate with your partner – be open when it comes to talking about sex.

2. Follow a healthy diet – food that’s full of minerals, amino acids, nutrients and antioxidants can support your health and mood.

3. Drink in moderation - drinking too much alcohol means the nerves in your body may not respond as easily to sexual stimuli, making sex less enjoyable.

4. Get exercising - it increases the body’s levels of sex hormones and endorphins, supporting your mood and sexual drive.

5. Know what you want - to have satisfying sex, you have to discover what you like in bed and, (going back to point 1), share it with your partner.

Conclusion

Sex is very much a personal thing between you and your partner, and while it tends to happen effortlessly most the time, there are times when you may need to work at it that little bit more. Remember – don’t be too hard on yourself about it though, as long as you and your partner are happy with your sex life, that’s all that matters!

This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.

Better sex: what you need to know

Why are we having less sex than before? At what age do we have our best sex? Discover the answers to these questions and much more about sex here

Last updated: 07 May 2021

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