Even McDreamy has faced his share of relationship problems. In a recent interview featured on the new streaming channel PEN: People/Entertainment Weekly Network, Patrick Dempsey opened up about his marriage struggles.
In January 2015, Dempsey’s wife, makeup artist Jillian, filed for divorce. But the actor, who stars in Bridget Jones’s Baby (in theaters tonight), told People he wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, and the two have since reconciled. (They celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary this summer.) “You’ve got to keep at it, you’ve got to communicate, and stay open,” Dempsey said. “Don’t get lazy, I think that’s key. And to not give up.”
That’s not all, though—in addition to hard work and commitment, Dempsey mentioned one other factor that has helped the couple heal: “Lots of sex!”
But just how much sex are we talking here? Is there some magic frequency required to keep a relationship healthy?
A study published last year in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that couples who have sex once a week are happiest.
“Our research suggests that couples do not need to aim to engage in sex as frequently as possible but instead aim to maintain a connection with their partner,” lead author Amy Muise, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Mississauga, told HealthDay.
That said, more frequent sex didn’t appear to have negative consequences; it just wasn’t linked to greater well-being on average.
Russell Smyth, a professor of economics at Australia’s Monash University who has conducted his own research on sex frequency, compared doing the deed to eating an ice cream: “You enjoy your first ice cream. You also enjoy your second ice cream, but by not as much. You might also get some enjoyment from your third one, but even less because you are fuller, concerned about calories and so on.”
While we wouldn’t underestimate the power of extra time between the sheets with McDreamy, the point is, you may be just as happy if you focus on that intimate bond that keeps the spark alive—without stressing about squeezing in a daily sex session.