Studies say there is a magic formula for frequency of fornication: once a week. Couples who don’t achieve a weekly screwing report feeling less fulfilled. Yet more boning doesn’t correspond to more satisfaction — couples who have sex more often than every Thursday after Wheel of Fortune don’t report feeling any happier. 

No surprise, what’s normal for you and your partner is going to differ dramatically from the couple who incorporates “pony play” into their sexual repertoire. That doesn’t mean you should slap on a saddle and ponytail butt plug, get whipped with a riding crop, and then eat baby carrots from your partner’s palm. A rewarding sex life is one that leaves you both feeling like your needs are being met. 

For many long-term couples, the idea that they aren’t having enough sex seems to stem from the idea that they used to be having more. The “honeymoon phase” is a documented phenomenon during the first 18-24 months of a relationship when you idealize your partner and crave their genitals like a hit of the ol’ crack pipe. It’s a fleeting state of euphoria that inevitably settles into more stable patterns and less frequent sex. 

When partners have permanently differing sex drives, they can find their happy medium by embracing a blend of maintenance sex and enthusiastic sex. Maintenance sex is the life-support ass-tapping that takes place when one person has sex without wanting or needing it, but solely to satisfy their partner. Enthusiastic sex is when both partners share a deeply passionate humping. High-libido partners may prefer exclusively enthusiastic sex, but sometimes have to settle for maintenance sex. Low-libido partners might want to avoid unbuttoning the butt flap of their footie pajamas, but need to make time for more maintenance sex (which with the right titillation, can transform into euphoric enthusiastic sex).