It’s safe to say that one of the most important and most talked-about topics, when one speaks about love, is the importance of sex in a relationship. And it seems that it is hard to underestimate the beneficial effects of adequate sexual relations in both brief and long-term romances. However, it is also a source of a range of insecurities and possible hurdles in a relationship. So, what is the truth about the importance of sex in a relationship?
The obvious connection
There are countless studies that associated satisfactory sexual life with happiness in a relationship. And it is also a common knowledge, one that anyone would agree with – the better the sex the happier the relationship. There are several reasons for this, some that are obvious, and some that are less apparent.
One interesting study tried to pinpoint the exact source of the association between marital and relationship satisfaction and sex life. The authors revealed that even one single sexual act created something that they named an “afterglow”. This sexual afterglow, or an increased level of sexual satisfaction, could possibly account for the partners’ increased relationship satisfaction. The afterglow lasts for about two days after having sex. And, interestingly, it seems to predict the couples’ satisfaction 6 months later!
Of course, there is the other side to the story as well. Sexual desire usually diminishes over time. And since sex plays so vital role in the couples’ love life, it can become a source of frustration and disagreements. Especially when the partners’ interest in sex differs significantly. When this happens, it is the other aspects of the relationship and the partners’ interaction that will decide how the story will evolve in the future.
The nuances of the importance of sex in a relationship
As one recent study by Debrot and colleagues revealed, sex contributes to a person’s well-being on several levels. Interestingly, when compared to one’s income, having sex once a week compared to having sex less than once a month had a greater positive effect than earning $75,000 compared to $25,000 a year. These researchers attempted to find out how sex associated with life satisfaction and positive emotions. The findings might explain why sex can be both a bond that holds a couple together and a source of frustration and dissatisfaction.
It looks like the source of the power of sex to increase or destroy marital satisfaction is affection! It is not sex itself that causes changes in life satisfaction, as it appears, but it is the warmth and care of its foundation. In other words, even though sex brings physical and physiological pleasure and can be described as a hedonistic act, these are not the roots of its contribution to one’s well being.
Rather, as Debrot and colleagues concluded, sex promotes more affectionate, positive and stronger connection with one’s partner. When you have sex with your partner, your positive emotions towards him or her are bolstered. And the more you’re having sex, the more such experiences you will have. These build up towards a better and more fulfilling relationship.
Consider honesty, equality, and good vibrations to improve your sex life
Therefore, one could conclude that to allow sex to contribute to your overall well-being and your satisfaction in a romantic relationship, you actually need to strengthen the core of the relationship. That is, the positive effect and kindness should first be nurtured before sex can fulfil its function. Otherwise, unfortunately, both sexual life and the relationship might become to crumble and lose its shine.
So, what it is that you can do to strengthen your relationship and improve your sex life (or maintain it)? As LaBier advises, there are three core aspects of any relationship that you should consider – honesty, equality, and good vibrations. In specific, there is a need for radical transparency, sharing the stage in the couples’ shared life, and nurturing the state of positive emotions and being comfortable with each other.
To have a good sex life, one that will endure the test of time, of familiarity and of gradual diminishing of that initial infatuation, you need to start with being radically transparent with your spouse or a partner.
Without complete honesty about your inner desires, insecurities, and fears, it is hard to accomplish the closeness in sex. Then, you also should abandon your ego and the urge to get everything the way you want it to be in the relationship. By practising equality and mutuality, you will also learn to give instead of just take in sex.
Finally, you need to cherish your sexual energy and focus on your partner as the object of your desire and find a way to preserve the longing in the face of all other obligations and problems. It will pay out.
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