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Image: Sex survey
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TODAY contributor
updated 4/2/2008 3:46:08 PM ET 2008-04-02T19:46:08

A landmark study from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that 43 percent of American women and 31 percent of men reported some sort of sexual dysfunction.

Plenty of people are unhappy with their sex lives. So, if you're one of them, you are not alone! However, having satisfying sex is an important part of any solid relationship. In fact, feeling comfortable with your own sexuality is an important part of your self-esteem, and for many people, enjoyment of life.

Much of life's happiness comes from having satisfying relationships. And while romantic relationships are often most central, many couples stick their head in the sand about how dissatisfied they feel with the sexual part of this relationship. Over time, this tends to eat into other parts of the relationship creating anger, indifference and overall distance.

It is well worth exploring how satisfied both of you are — and if one of you is unhappy, it's time to actively address the issue.

To help you assess the quality of your love life, answer the questions below. But keep this in mind: The point is that exactly how often you have sex doesn’t matter (unless we are talking not at all or rarely).

What matters is that you are both satisfied with the frequency. This can be twice a day or once a month, as long as you both are in accord. There is tremendous variation in what people like, sexual drive and desire for frequency. There is no "right" answer when it comes to asking questions about sex. Trying to make you or your partner “normal” will likely inhibit you both. The point is to allow you to share an intense intimacy, bonding and pleasure that will feed both your body and your soul.

Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY. Her latest book is “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie.” She is also the author of “Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts,” which helps parents deal with preschoolers’ questions about sex and reproduction. Her first book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was published in 2004 by Riverhead Books. It is now available in a paperback version. For more information, you can visit her Web site, www.drgailsaltz.com.

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