Sex. It’s one of the best parts of marriage, am I right? But it is also one of the most contested aspects. (I’m right again!) Sex ranks high on lists of what causes fights between couples.  Which begs the long-echoed question:  how often should we have sex?

Ask couples around you how often they’re having sex and you’ll hear a range of responses. They might make you feel better or worse about the frequency in your bedroom.

There’s no magic number, but obviously the more often, the better. Let me explain why.

Sex cultivates warmth between you and your spouse.

I feel so much closer to my husband after we have sex. Each partner is vulnerable during sex. And this tenderness stirs powerful feelings of connection. This is not imagined—it’s how God designed our bodies to work.

Dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin are released during sex, enhancing those sweet feelings of unity with your spouse. Knowing that, why wouldn’t we have sex more often?!

Sex is how many people receive love and build confidence.

A whopping 77% of married males said that if they were able to have sex as often as they wanted, their life satisfaction and overall sense of well-being would increase, author Shaunti Feldhahn shares in her book For Women Only. Sex is to my husband what a deep, thoughtful love letter is to me. While my love language is words of affirmation, his is touch. (But to be clear, I enjoy sex too!)

Even though we’re wired differently, both of us need to feel seen and loved in the ways that are most meaningful to us individually.

And not all men have a higher sex drive than their wives. This may be reversed for some couples. Bottom line, when we say yes to our spouses—or even better, when we initiate time together between the sheets—we communicate to our spouse that they are admired and worthy.

The bonus is we end up feeling loved and in tune with them, too! That’s a win-win argument for intimacy tonight.

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Sex is one of God’s gifts to be enjoyed. (Hallelujah!)

Sex within the context of marriage is part of the abundant life God desires for us. The enemy attacks sex on every front. Temptations outside of marriage—lust, pornography, and gender/sexual confusion—rip apart God’s gift of sex. The enemy relentlessly tries to turn it into something dirty.

I struggled with adopting a healthy mindset about sex for years.  But regular sex with your spouse is a pure, holy gift. There’s nothing impure or shameful about it.

But what about when you don’t want to?

There’s the rub—pun intended. What do you say to your spouse when you aren’t in the mood? How can you graciously turn down your partner?

First, know you definitely can turn down the offer sometimes. You shouldn’t feel like you have to go for it every time sex is proposed. But I advise using those “nos” wisely to avoid wounding your partner.

Most of the time, if you remain open-minded and decide to have sex even when you aren’t into it initially, you will end up enjoying it.

Another option when you’re not in the mood for the full shebang is to make an alternative suggestion. Offer a massage or to take a shower together. Sometimes these intimate acts will help you get in the mood. If not, they are still special on their own and will help your spouse feel loved.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

When you do choose to turn down your spouse’s advances, make sure they know why. Telling them when you have a headache or that your mind is spinning with unfinished work projects way before the initiation starts will lessen the feelings of rejection.

When we’re rejected, we often assume the worst and think we’ve caused our partner’s lack of interest. That’s probably not the case, so honest communication about reasons behind each “no” is very helpful.

If my husband didn’t feel like affirming me on a day I needed reassurance? That would be soul crushing. Consider how your partner may feel and the assumptions they will make if rejected for sex without a reasonable explanation.

And when you say no, reschedule. Even if it’s just in your own mind . Decide when you would like to initiate sex next, and follow through. This gives you time to anticipate it and mentally prepare.

As part of regular communication, go ahead and ask your spouse if they’re comfortable with how often you’re having sex. Express how happy you are with how often you’re having sex.

Only you and your spouse can determine what feels healthy and holy to you. Only you and your spouse are accountable to each other for satisfying each other’s sexual needs in the context of a healthy marriage. After all, a weekly or monthly quota isn’t the goal. Mutual sexual satisfaction is. Work toward that in your marriage.

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