Volume 23 Issue 2, August 2014, pp. 123-136

A commonly measured indicator of a romantic couple's sexual well-being and satisfaction has been the frequency with which they engage in sexual activity, or more specifically, sexual intercourse. Although some have acknowledged that frequency of sexual intercourse is not an appropriate measure for all types of romantic relationships (e.g. same-sex couples), the measurement of sexual frequency, of one type or another, has remained fairly constant throughout sex and relationships research. While precise estimates of sexual frequency among different types of couples (male/female same-sex vs. mixed-sex) have varied, the general pattern of findings has often indicated that female same-sex couples report lower sexual frequencies than other couples. The current study sought to examine an alternate dimension of sexuality by asking individuals in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships to report the length of their last sexual encounter as well as the length of their average sexual encounter. A sample of 822 participants reported both length of sexual encounters and frequency of sexual activity. While the sexual frequency data replicated past findings, with female same-sex couples reporting the lowest sexual frequencies, sexual duration data painted a very different picture, with female same-sex couples reporting significantly longer durations spent on individual sexual encounters than men and women in mixed-sex or male same-sex relationships. Consequently, it is argued that to better understand the nature of a specific couple's sexual relationship, it is important to examine not just sexual frequency, but also the amount of time spent on individual sexual encounters.