Are you getting enough?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 10:16am

Are you getting enough sex? Perhaps not. Hong Kong men and women are satisfied with having sex an average 1.9 times and 1.6 times a week, respectively, according to a City University Community College 2011 survey of nearly 1,000 adults between 36 and 80 years old. By contrast, people in Greece prefer to have sex at least three times a week, according to a 2008 survey by British condom manufacturer Durex.

Sex isn't just intercourse, but any sexual activity that brings pleasure to the people involved. Research has demonstrated that safe, consensual sexual activity is related to good physical and mental health, and helps to keep a relationship alive.

If both partners are satisfied with the levels of sexual activity in their relationship, there is no problem. But if one partner wants more sexual activity than the other, this is likely to affect the relationship.

So, for those Hongkongers who want more good sex, why aren't they getting it on, and how can they start?

There are many reasons why people find themselves having less sex in their relationships. Social factors, such as long working hours or jet lag, can induce tiredness, and living in small apartments with in-laws, domestic helpers or children can reduce the feasibility of private, uninterrupted sex.

Although most like the idea of spontaneous sex, waiting for this can be self-defeating. Try planning sex dates: pick a time when you are less likely to be interrupted, arrange for others to be out, or go to a hotel, even for an hour. (Let's be honest, few people outside of Hollywood need that long.)

Where possible, make the environment fit with your fantasies of sexual and emotional intimacy, by using lighting, music and clothing. When planning dates, consider what might stop you from keeping them.

With practical issues remedied, problems can still persist because sexual desire fluctuates. Sexual desire tends to increase when we believe we deserve, and anticipate, enjoyable sexual activity.

Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own sexuality, and for getting ourselves turned on. The key to good sex is to work as a team player, and communicating with your partner so they know what you like. Invite your partner to use their initiative, and focus your feedback on what you like, rather than what they are doing wrong.

Relationship discord can be a big factor in reduced sexual desire. But this tends to be more pronounced for women than men. Men and women are wired differently with regards to how they are sexually turned on. In general, a woman's sexual desire is more affected by the quality and safety of the relationship than by visual cues.

It is important to talk about your relationship when you are calm, and can be clear. When we feel that our partner understands us and can meet our needs, we tend to solve problems more effectively, and are therefore able to remove some of the barriers to good sex.

Boredom and excitement are mutually exclusive, so if you are having the same old sex every time, it may be time for you to mix it up by introducing new places, positions and pleasures. Share your fantasies with each other, but remember to let your partner know which fantasies are meant to stay as fantasies, and which you would like to become reality. Try creating a sexual "wish list", too. Start to initiate sex if you normally leave it to your partner.

In an ideal world, our physical appearance wouldn't make any difference to our partner's desire for us. But the reality is that our physical appearance impacts our own feelings of sexiness, and how attractive we are to others. It's important to take care of our appearance, although this should be in the context of our overall health.

Our thoughts and moods impact our sexual desire. If we are stressed or sad, we may not feel as sexy, or may be keen for sex, but be worried about the outcome, and so avoid it. Believing that there is something wrong with you can impact how your body responds sexually, and can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are strategies to help manage the impact of beliefs and emotions on sexual desire, and on performance.

There may also be biological or physical factors, such as hormones, or ill health, that affect your desire for sex. Talk to your doctor, as there may be help available.

Every couple has some sexual dissatisfaction. But the more varied your sexual repertoire, the less likely they will become problems. If you want more sex, and "good enough" sex, just remember that you're the one responsible for creating it.

Dr Justin Grayer is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist at