Is Sex Necessary for a Happy Marriage?

Is sex necessary for happy marriage?

This age-old quandary is still a controversial one. In my attempt to answer it, I will break it down into its fundamental parts, asking this: In what ways does sexual intimacy contribute to marriage?

While each person probably has a unique answer to this, I think of intimacy as both an accessory and a necessity to marriage.

What I mean by this can be described in a simple metaphor:  Would most people, who like cupcakes, prefer a cupcake with icing or without icing? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? And, while the icing is only one part of the cupcake, it is a very important part.  Some would even argue that the cupcake is not a cupcake without the icing.  

Sex is important & necessary

If you can buy this argument, you can most likely understand why sex is important in a marriage. Given that, not much is said about how important sex in a marriage.  All I know is that intimacy enhances long-term relationships. Sex does not have to happen with any specific measure of frequency or abundance necessarily; but the more it happens, the more it enhances a relationship, and the better you both feel. By this logic, it would stand to reason that a complete lack of physical intimacy would be detracting from the relationship – just as a lack of icing detracts from a cupcake.

If you’re not sure about this, I would suggest adding some sexual intimacy into your relationship (more than one go-round), create romance, and take stock of whether doing this enhances, detracts, or does nothing for you as a couple. We do know that a healthy sex life is one of the most commonly cited traits among happy couples, when asked how they make it work.  These couples have managed to maintain intimacy for years, still enjoying their bond and maintaining the fondness they have for one another.

Further, it has been shown that intimate activity causes the release of powerful endorphins that flow through reward pathways in the brain, inducing euphoria and the feelings of love. Couples with regular sexual activity also gain the added benefit of aerobic workout; which is the best type of workout for weight loss – not to mention a great investment in your health. Body and mind are both affected by this powerful release. If you want to know more about this aspect of intimacy, reading a book by Olivia St. John, or picking up a copy of the Kama Sutra, or any other manual that uses the term “tantric” in its description.

Sex in marriage is important, and just as important, is open communication. Communication that offers compromise, discusses the desired frequency of sex, likes, dislikes, and preferences, are discussions that can improve things that otherwise would stay unchanged for years.

A word to the wise

If there are problems in your relationship, they may manifest in your sex life. Some couples’ marital issues start in the bedroom, even though they may have little to do with sex. Importance of sex in a marriage cannot be overemphasized. And having problems in sex life further increases problems in relationships. It is like a vicious cycle. Bear in mind that if there are sudden  changes in intimacy, it may be a sign that it’s time to schedule a therapist. You and your partner may have un-processed, un-divulged issues to deal with. Resolving whatever it may be is of utmost importance for a happy married life.

Kelli Hastings is a writer, social worker, and proud advocate for women. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Oregon in 2007, and worked as a behavior support specialist and program manager. She is inspired to support couples, teach them skills that lead to healthy, happy and romantic partnerships. Her interests include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, visualization practice, and related therapies.

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