Let’s start by putting your head — not hand or hips — to rest: You’re probably not having too much sex.
“The concept of “too much” sex is usually used to shame people about the fact that they’re sexual beings,” says Dr. Jill McDevitt, resident sexologist at CalExotics.
Still, your frick-fracking frequency can interfere with you living a full, healthy life.
Because that tipping point varies from person to person, we tapped Dr. McDevitt and Dr. Jennifer Wider, two resident sex therapists at K-Y, to learn how to tell whether you’re overdoing it and how to cut back if you are.
Nope! There’s no official hard (wink) limit.
Some data suggests that the average adult gets down and dirty with someone else about once a week, and down with themselves anywhere from once to twice a week.
But truth is, this data gives us no insight on whether the amount of sex you’re having is “too much.”
McDevitt explains that this data only shows on average how much sex people are having. It doesn’t show:
- how much they want to be having
- if they’re happy with the quantity or quality of sex they’re having
- if the amount of sex they’re having is interfering with their life
She adds that — no matter how much sex you’re having — it’s common to wonder if your sexual frequency is normal.
“Instead of asking, ‘How much more or less sex am I having than the average person?’ ask, ‘How do I feel about the amount of (and quality of) the sex I’m having?'”
This isn’t a “Mean Girls” moment; the limit does exist. But that limit varies person to person.
So your limit may be different from Cady Heron’s, which may be different from Regina George’s, and so on.
Here’s how to figure out if you’ve surpassed your limit.
Assess your feelings
Because what counts as “too much” comes down to what feels like too much to you, it’s time to tune inward.
Is your gut telling you you’re having too much sex? Then you might be.
Though, McDevitt says, “If you feel it’s too much, I’d push you to ask yourself who or what is telling you that you need to be concerned about how much sex [you’re] having.”
She adds, “Is it an honest internal feeling? Is it [a] sex-negative upbringing talking?”
Review the why
So you’re banging like a bunny… Why is that, exactly?
There are many totally healthy reasons you might be having a lot of sex. For example:
- your sex drive is high
- it’s how show yourself or your partner(s) love
- it helps relieve stress
- you’re trying to get pregnant
- it’s fun and brings you joy
But, it’s also possible that to use sex as a form of escapism.
If you’re using sex to avoid a tough convo, the fact that you were just fired, or financial woes, you’re using sex as coping mechanism — and it may be time to bop out of bed.
Check for physical side effects
Time to take a peek at your bits.
While tons of sex won’t cause any long term damage, Wider notes that there are some physical symptoms that may be your body telling you to scale back.
- soreness or numbness
- inflammation or swelling
- pain during intercourse
- urinary tract infection
- strained neck
And if you’re having sex instead of eating lunch, aren’t hydrating properly between romps, or opting for sex over sleep, you may also experience:
- hunger pangs
“Sex should be fun and enjoyable, not a causer of bodily damage,” she says. Fair!
Assess your attitude towards sex
“Sometimes having too much sex can start to cause mental stress,” says Wider.
So, if the mere idea of sex starts to gross you out or the sex itself begins to feel like a chore, it’s time to put your clothes back on.
Same goes if you’re having partnered sex and start to feel resentful toward or repulsed by your partner.
Determine the cost
It sounds obvious but when you’re having sex, you’re not doing something else.
Are you routinely having sex instead of paying your bills, doing laundry, showering, or eating?
Are you regularly late for work functions, plans with friends, or dinner dates because you’re having sex?
If so, it’s time to look at your priorities.
So you want to be boning less… now what? Depends on whether your shagging is a solo or partnered activity.
If you’re solo
To be clear: Solo play is a normal and healthy part of human sexuality.
If you feel like you’re compulsively wanking, or like touching yourself is interfering with everyday life, it’s time to talkto a sexuality professional.
They’ll be able to help you figure out why you’ve been masturbating so much, and help you address the underlying cause.
“It’s very rare that people are actually masturbating too much,” adds McDevitt.
“So it’s likely that you’re not actually masturbating too much, but are feeling shame around your sexuality and sexual pleasure. A sexuality professional can help you unpack why you feel like you’re feeling like your frequency is a problem.”
If you have a partner (or partners)
If you’re feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or repulsed by how much you and your boo are boning, it’s time to speak up.
Here are some things you can say to bring this up:
- I’ve been really enjoying how much time we spend together, but I was wondering if you’d feel comfortable having a conversation about spending less time having sex and more time connecting in other ways.
- We’ve been having a lot of sex recently, but I have to be honest: My body needs a break! How do you feel about having less sex than we’ve been having?
- Recently, I haven’t been wanting to have as much sex. Would you be open to experimenting with other forms of intimacy?
- I feel like we’ve been having sex instead of addressing [X] issue, and while I love having sex, I’d like to talk about it.
How often you have sex shouldn’t be a one and done convo.
Because things like stress levels, medication, hormonal changes, age, and self-esteem all play a role in how often you want to have sex, it’s natural for the amount of sex you each want to have to wax and wane.
If you find these convos difficult, McDevitt recommends seeking out a sex therapist.
And remember: You should never (ever) feel forced into having sex. So if this conversation makes you feel pressured into having the same amount of sex, or otherwise unsafe, unheard, or disrespected, that’s reason to call off the relationship.
Ultimately, what counts as “too much sex” comes down to your individual needs, wants, obligations, and body.
Regardless of whether the sex is with a partner or yourself, if you feel like you’re having too much, it’s important that you address where that feeling is coming from and take steps to return to a frequency that you’re comfortable with.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.