Sex After Marriage?

When it comes to sex, married couples have good reason to be smug around their single friends.

Recent medical studies revealed this little-known truth: married couples not only have the most satisfying sex, but on average, they have sex more frequently than single people do. The study dispels the myth that singlehood yields a sizzling sex life, while matrimony leads to boring, infrequent and unsatisfying sex.

If you have questions about sex, e-mail the Bermans here.

Many married women secretly wonder how their sex lives stack up to those of other couples. Barraged by sexual images on TV soap operas, newsstands and shows like Sex and the City, it's no surprise that married women might think their activity between the sheets is a bit dull in comparison.

Do the Math

But take a look at the numbers from a 1994 University of Chicago study: In the 18 to 29 age group married couples have sex nine times a month, as compared to singles, who have sex six times a month. Married people in the 40 to 49 age group have sex six times a month compared to singles, at four times a month.

Still, for women, other research figures the numbers reflect concern about their sex lives. A study in March by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill that surveyed 1,400 women of all ages found that 99 percent reported having one or more sexual concerns.

Eighty-seven percent felt they should be more interested in sex, 83 percent sometimes had trouble reaching orgasm, 69 percent worried they weren't attractive enough, and 67 percent said some of their sexual needs weren't being met.

There's one area where the unmarried have the edge over the wedded: sexual stamina. Thirty percent of women who don't live with a man say that the last time they had sex, they had it for more than an hour: a feat matched by 13 percent of women in live-in relationships and 8 percent of wives, according to the Chicago survey, which included 3,400 Americans.

The Thrill Lingers On

Berman said the reason married sex is better is because it goes beyond the physical act.

"It's much more than reaching orgasm…or even sexual response…it's a way to reconnect on physical and even spiritual level," she said.

Also couples that have a commitment are more prone to have sex together, though they must move away from the idea that sex will be two hours of bliss, if they have children.

For three-quarters of married women, lovemaking lasted 15 to 60 minutes, and 16 percent finished even faster than that, the Chicago survey said. But far from considering monogamy monotonous, 91 percent of husbands and wives say they aren't merely satisfied with their sex lives, they're "thrilled."

And according to a 1998 University of Chicago report, 90 percent of women and 75 percent of men remain faithful throughout their marriage.

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