Keeping the flame burning: How much physical and emotional intimacy should married couples have?

Marriage has always been portrayed in the media and society as this happily-ever-after, where you get to have your own home, have kids to take care of–and make love frequently.

Man and Woman holding hands

Reality may be sobering however, when you realize that life and your many responsibilities may get in the way of the intimacy you and your spouse may have dreamed about.

Reasons for less intercourse

So what can be the reasons behind the lack of intimacy between couples? It can be due to a sense of a loss of novelty, even adventure, with your partner. Kids are of course a joy and a handful to have, but they can also interfere with the physical and emotional affections you show to your partner. Fatigue due to childcare duties may also lead to less interest in getting intimate.

Another reason for affection between you and your partner may be a demanding career. In fact, there has been a study that Chinese women who work full-time reported less intimacy. However, other studies have also found that both men and women who work more are more intimate, while others found no relationship between work and their physical intimacy.

What do hormones play in lack of intimacy?

When there is too little intimacy between you and your partner, it can cause emotional gaps and may strain your relationship.

Interestingly enough, hormone levels may be the culprit as to why you and your partner are less intimate. Fluctuating hormonal levels also affects your partner and can result to lack of sexual desire. However, one has to be careful in pushing for too much physical intimacy because this can lead to lower levels of enjoyment (it might become like a chore!). So take note that quality is crucial, apart from quantity.

What are the possible causes of fluctuating hormones?

There are many factors that can affect one’s changing hormone levels. These include one’s lifestyle.

Nutrition and diet can play a part. When your diet is poor, this can lead to poor gut health and inflammation and can affect your hormones. This is why eating probiotic rich food, such as kimchi and kombucha are necessary for a healthy gut. Reduce intake of inflammatory food like trans fats, white flour, and hydrogenated oils. Alcohol consumption can also affect hormone levels; specifically, it can lower testosterone and decrease sex drive.

Other factors like smoking, stress, and poor sleep habits can also result in irregular hormone levels. Smoking can affect reproductive hormones while stress can increase your hormones, leading to various conditions. Inadequate sleep on the other hand can cause a stress reaction.

Take charge of your hormonal health

A person’s hormone levels can deeply affect his or her drive for physical and emotional intimacy. With fluctuating hormones, couples may be less interested in being intimate with each other.

The LifeScience Center Health Management Consult can help you and your partner know your health condition through a two-part consultation. Our Care Team will look at the five modifiable lifestyle factors to get to know your health, including fluctuating hormones and lack of interest in intimacy.

The LifeScience Hormone Profile on the other hand, can get a comprehensive picture of your hormones so that you will be informed on your hormone levels. Emotional support through Couple’s Therapy with our psychotherapists may also help. Feel free to message us to know more about the biological and the psycho-relational root causes of your problem.

Want more articles like this? Subscribe to our newsletter now and get the latest stories on health, nutrition, wellness and functional food straight to your inbox.


7 lifestyle habits that can affect your hormones. Chapel Hill Gynecology. (2022, January 18). Retrieved February 2, 2022

Rao, K. V., & Demaris, A. (1995). Coital frequency among married and cohabiting couples in the United States. Journal of Biosocial Science, 27(2), 135-150. doi:10.1017/S0021932000022653

Stritof, S. (2020, March 24). Survey says: Marital sex statistics how often married people have sex. Verywell Mind. Retrieved November 28, 2021.

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Do married people really have less sex? Psychology Today. Retrieved November 28, 2021.

Velten J, Margraf J. Satisfaction guaranteed? How individual, partner, and relationship factors impact sexual satisfaction within partnerships. PLoS One. 2017;12(2):e0172855. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172855

Yabiku, S. T., & Gager, C. T. (2009). Sexual frequency and the stability of marital and cohabiting unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(4), 983-1000.


Be part of the LifeScience Community!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.