Marriage is often stigmatized as a dead end for sex. Careers, mortgages, and inevitably children, put a strain on married couples' sex lives — but there’s hope. According to a recent study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, married couples do experience a “sexual renaissance” after being married for a certain amount of years.

Although it’s human nature to not want sex at the same time as your partner, it can become an issue in a relationship. If one partner says he or she's too tired again and the other partner stops initiating sex, what does this mean? Does this mean they are broken? Are they in a sexless marriage?

Most married couples do not know what to expect from a long-term relationship and therefore may being to wonder: Is our sex life normal? To be fair, there is no "normal," because sex is different for every couple.

Last year on Reddit, a thread popped up asking married couples to weigh in on how often they have sex. Couples married for zero to 15+ years put their two cents in and delivered surprising responses. For example, a couple that had been married for 25 years, with two kids, in their 50s, admitted to “getting it on” three to five times a week. "When we do not, we rub each other, kiss, and snuggle. It is better than I anticipated it would be at this point," they wrote. Another couple married for 32 years, with one spouse age 55, admitted it’s “twice a week, more or less.”

The sexual behavior of older adults, especially married couples over 50, is seldom discussed in literature. So a team of researchers from Louisiana State University, Florida State University, and Baylor University probed into this concept by examining the relationship between marital characteristics and sexual outcomes among older married couples — over 1,600 married adults, ages 57 to 85, from the first wave of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.

The findings revealed people who survived until their 50th year of marriage were more likely to experience a sexual rebound in their relationships. However, since relatively few couples make it to 50 years to begin with, the sample size was small.

“Additionally, the study used a snapshot in time — and therefore cannot prove that length and order of marriage caused sexual frequency,” said former Baylor researcher Dr. Samuel Stroope, now an assistant professor of sociology at Louisiana State University, in the news release.

The researchers did stumble upon an interesting finding: Couples who were in their first marriage were having more sex with their partners than those who had remarried. However, the frequency of couples engaging in sex and order of marriage did not influence emotional satisfaction of physical pleasure.

This suggests couples who have never remarried tend to have a better sense of trust with their partners and don't fear that they'll abandon them. The remarried couples could possibly have less frequent sex than their counterparts because they may lack a strong sense of permanence or of lasting investment. “The expectation that the relationship will continue may give you more reason to invest in the relationship, including in sexual aspects of the relationship,” Stroope said.

Couples married for long periods of time, however, may have more sex not only because of trust but because of equal partnership. A brief written by Cornell Professor Sharon Sassler for the Council of Contemporary Families, found couples who shared household chores such as washing dishes and vacuuming, were more likely to have equal, if not better, sex. Sexual frequency seems to be tied to domestic load, in other words, the more equal the partnership, the more and better sex a couple has.

Men, grab the Swiffer. Married couples may be having the best sex of their lives — even after 50 years of marriage.

Source: McFarland MJ, Stroope S, Uecker JE. Marital Characteristics and the Sexual Relationships of U.S. Older Adults: An Analysis of National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project Data. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2015.