The beginning of a new relationship may be hot, but then many couples inevitably cool off and are left wondering: Should we be having sex more?
Turns out, your age (or the age you feel you are) might be the biggest factor in that equation, according to a recent Kinsey Institute report. The 2017 study from The Kinsey Institute, published in the Journal of Sex Research, examined how age impacted the frequency of nookie. Over a 10-year span, they examined nearly 1,200 middle aged and older adults, asking them how many times they do it, the “quality” of the sex, and how interested they were in sex. And to determine subjective age (a.k.a. the difference between participants’ chronological age and the age they normally feel), they asked the simple question: “Many people feel older or younger than they actually are. What age do you feel most of the time?”
The results? It’s all about your attitude, baby. When people reported that they felt “older,” they were less interested in sex and thought the “quality” of sex was worse.
Over the decade-long study, people did start to have sex less often, going from 2.52 times over the past six months to 1.8 times. Unsurprisingly, those with chronic health conditions did it less. Plus, those who did it often at the study’s start were also having more sex 10 years later. Meaning, your habits now impact those in the future. Use it or lose it, right?
Feeling younger does your body good outside the bedroom, too. Research finds that those who see themselves as younger than the candles on their birthday cake are healthier and live longer, the researchers point out.
But that still doesn’t answer how many sex sessions are best. Well, past research suggests that those who knock boots once a week are the happiest—which also happens to be the number WH readers say they do it on average.
And when you get older, provided you still have health on your side (and, hello, you plan to), you could very well be having sex at that retirement home. WH previously reported on a study that found 32 percent of sexually active women in their eighties had sex at least twice a month. Whoa. Do you have some catching up to do?
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.