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Last updated: May 17, 2022
7 min read

Daily sex: is it healthy or bad for you?

 

Disclaimer

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Daily sex can be good for you if it makes you feel happy and empowered. But how common is it, and are there benefits or drawbacks to having sex every day? Let’s take a look.

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Is it normal to have sex every day?

There’s no “normal” when it comes to how often you have sex. 

There’s a broad range of how often people have sex, and people define sex differently. For example, some people may or may not count oral sex as “having sex.” What’s normal is what you prefer and what you’re most comfortable with. 

As long as how often you have sex is your choice, not based on pressure from others, and not negatively affecting your life, then consider it normal. That could be daily sex, once-a-week sex, once-a-month sex, or no sex. 

How often do people have sex?

When it comes to the average frequency of sex in the form of intercourse, it varies. In a small 2017 survey, about 4% of adults reported having sex daily (NYGov, 2017). 

A larger study suggests the average American adult has sex about once a week. This varies by age. Researchers found those in their 20s reported having sex about 80 times a year (6–7 times a month), while those in their 60s reported having sex about 20 times a year (Twenge, 2017).

If you’re not having much sex (or any sex), that’s pretty common. There has been a decrease in sex in recent decades. In a 2020 study, one in three men ages 18–24 reported no sexual activity. Researchers have chalked it up to busier lives, other forms of entertainment, a lack of partners, and smartphones (Twenge, 2017; Ueda, 2020). 

Is having sex every day bad for you?

Overall, if you feel happy with the amount of sex you are having and it’s not negatively affecting you, there are no downsides to having sex every day. 

Unless you’ve been advised to abstain from sex for medical reasons such as heart disease, a healthy sex life can be good for you. It can be beneficial physically and emotionally. 

A small percentage of people—about 1–6%—become preoccupied with sex and struggle with sexual addiction. In these cases, sex is a compulsion even if the person no longer enjoys it,  and it causes problems in their life. Compulsive sexual behavior can be addressed through mental health counseling (Kraus, 2018).

Daily sexual desire, however, is normal and is nothing to be concerned about unless it negatively affects your quality of life.

Potential benefits of daily sex

Having sex can improve your day on an emotional level. It also has quite a few physical benefits. 

It boosts your mood

Sex and orgasms trigger a flood of hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, which boost your mood and feelings of pleasure. Oxytocin makes you like your partner more, and these amorous feelings may last for about two days (Coria-Avila, 2016; Meltzer, 2017).

It reduces stress

Not only does oxytocin boost those feelings of love, it may also reduce stress

Studies suggest that oxytocin may decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone your body releases when you are stressed. It may also help your brain deal with stressful situations that evoke fear and anger. Researchers also believe oxytocin’s role in reducing anxiety and stress may help treat drug addiction, but more research is needed (Love, 2018). 

It’s a natural pain reliever

The endorphins and other hormones released during orgasm have been called natural pain killers. Of course, sex is not a quick cure for pain. But it may take the edge off of some types of chronic pain like headaches, joint pain, and muscle pain (Lussier, 2019; Gotkine, 2006).

It helps you sleep

A 2019 study found that those who had orgasms reported better sleep. This was true if the orgasm was from sex or masturbation. Researchers believe the combined release of oxytocin, prolactin, and the reduction of cortisol after an orgasm may help you sleep (Lastella, 2019). 

It improves sexual function

Research shows regular sex may improve sexual health for men. 

A Finnish study suggests that having sex once a week or more may lower the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in middle-aged and elderly men (Koskimäki, 2008). And a separate study that included men aged 30–75 suggests having an ejaculation at least once a week may reduce the likelihood of having ED (Qin, 2012). Erections also bring blood and oxygen to the penis, which can help maintain nerves (Panchatsharam, 2021). 

In women, arousal and orgasms boost blood flow to the vagina. And for those with lower estrogen levels and thinning vaginal walls, sex using lubricants helps preserve vaginal tissue health compared to no sex (Bleibel, 2021). 

Potential disadvantages of daily sex

Feeling like you can’t control your sex drive or feeling pressured to have sex are two emotional and social aspects of sex that are not healthy. 

Also, if you are having problems with genital pain or lack of sexual desire and want to increase the amount of sex you are having, a healthcare provider or sex therapist may be able to help. 

If you have sex daily because you want to and are all set when it comes to birth control (if needed), there are a few physical considerations. 

Preventing sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs) goes beyond intercourse and genital contact. Vibrators and sex toys should be kept clean. If they are shared, they can spread STIs like trichomoniasis and other infections like bacterial vaginosis

The friction, exchange of fluids, positions, and time spent having sex can all create some hurdles to daily sex. These may include: 

Skin irritation

Some friction can make sex more enjoyable. Too much friction can lead to skin irritation on the penis or the lining of the vagina. In addition to extra friction, frequent sex can reduce natural vaginal lubrication. Decreases in estrogen—a normal part of aging—can also lead to vaginal dryness. 

There are a variety of approaches to treat the thinning of vaginal tissues linked to a drop in estrogen levels. Topical vaginal estrogen products may be prescribed in these cases. Over-the-counter lubricants can also make a difference in reducing dryness and friction for both partners at all ages (Naumova, 2018).

Urinary tract infections

Frequent sex can increase a woman’s chances of getting a urinary tract infection. If you’re experiencing a UTI—which often includes painful urination and sometimes problems with bladder control—it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider. 

Antibiotics are usually used to treat UTIs. Some studies suggest that consuming cranberry products, like cranberry juice, may help prevent some UTIs, but more research is needed (Wawrysiuk, 2019).

Back pain

Frequent sex can worsen lower back pain, especially if you’re having sex in the wrong position. A 2019 study found that many people avoid sex because of lower back pain, yet they don’t tell their healthcare provider (Grabovac, 2019). 

While it varies depending on the type of pain, if you are suffering from back pain, a change in sexual position may be able to help. For instance, some women find relief using a side position, and some men find it’s easier to have sex from behind their partners. 

However, serious back pain should always be discussed with your healthcare provider before attempting anything that’s uncomfortable. They can discuss solutions or refer you to an expert (Grabovac, 2019). 

Fatigue

Depending on how much effort you’re putting in, sex can be a form of exercise—burning an average of 69 (women) to 100 calories (men). While this is good for you physically, it may lead to fatigue in some people (Frappier, 2013). 

If you’re having sex daily and it leads to being too tired for other activities, timing sex may help. For instance, it could be a win-win if it helps you fall asleep at night. 

Sex every day: the bottom line

Having safe sex every day can put you in a good mood and has health benefits if you’re using lubricants and have the time. Working sex into a busy schedule can be difficult, especially if you have a lot of demands. Overall, sex—whether with a partner or through masturbation—is best when it makes you happy, and you feel like having it.

References

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  2. Coria-Avila, G. A., Herrera-Covarrubias, D., Ismail, N., et al. (2016). The role of orgasm in the development and shaping of partner preferences. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 6(1), 31815. doi:10.3402/snp.v6.31815. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087697/ 
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  6. Koskimäki, J., Shiri, R., Tammela, T., et al. (2008). Regular intercourse protects against erectile dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study. The American Journal of Medicine, 121(7), 592–596. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.02.042. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18538297/ 
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  8. Lastella, M., O’Mullan, C., Paterson, J. L., et al. (2019). Sex and sleep: Perceptions of sex as a sleep promoting behavior in the general adult population. Frontiers in Public Health, 7. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2019.00033. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00033/full 
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  15. Qin, Z., Tian, B., Wang, X., et al. (2012). Impact of frequency of intercourse on erectile dysfunction: A cross-sectional study in Wuhan, China. Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology [Medical Sciences], 32(3), 396–399. doi:10.1007/s11596-012-0068-9. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22684564/ 
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