How Important Is Sex In A Relationship? (Hint: Very)

coupe lying in bed speaking about how important is sex

Regardless of whether you have a high sex drive or a low one, if you’re wondering how important is sex in a relationship, the answer should be very!

All relationships are different because every partner is different. So if you started your relationship and we both knew from the beginning that neither of you wanted much or any sex, that’s perfectly fine and natural. But even that absence of sex is proof enough that sex matters in your relationship. You both actively decided that sex wasn’t a priority because you’re happier that way. But if you are someone who does crave sex and your relationship is suddenly without it, that’s a different story. It is obviously important to note the type of relationship also – for a couple one of the biggest factors differences from friendship is the physical and sexual aspect. 

How Important Is Sex In A Relationship: Why It Goes Wrong 

There are many different reasons why couples stop having sex, but there is always a reason. The cause may not necessarily start within the relationship, but it affects it nonetheless. We often write off why we’re not having sex anymore. He’s just really busy with work. She’s been stressed about her promotion. Their sex drives have just not been the same since having kids. But the problem with these excuses is that they are just what we see at face value and they don’t get to the root of the issue.

That’s because the roots are usually not very pretty. According to Alex Momtchiloff, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, he’s found that nearly all of the couples that come to him have the same five reasons for not having sex anymore:

  • One partner has pulled out of the relationship emotionally
  • One partner does not either feel safe or comfortable in sexual situations
  • There is an unresolved issue between them that is causing distance, usually around trust 
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol 
  • Either a partner is using medication that limits their sex drive or a partners needs medication for sex but is too uncomfortable or embarrassed to do it

The common theme in all of these issues is that they need to be addressed. A relationship can’t survive if someone in the relationship has checked out. And, if a partner is too embarrassed to talk about having sexual problems, it speaks to an even deeper question: what is happening in the relationship that one doesn’t believe that they can trust their partner with delicate information like that? What has happened to make them keep issues like this private and feel unable to be vulnerable and honest with their partner?

At the heart of these issues is that, for some reason, the couple stopped communicating and trust broke down. At some point, they no longer shared an intimacy that goes beyond sexual intimacy. Partners may go to a marriage therapist to address sexual intimacy issues, but emotional intimacy is often the true problem. Without emotional intimacy, a real relationship can’t work. 

How Important Is Sex In A Relationship: Talk It Through 

If you’re always saying no to sex, there’s likely a reason, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Communication is key. Talking it out with your partner can make you realize that you might have more to say than you think. If you think that not talking it out is sparing your partner some hurt feelings, you’d be mistaken

When we go from having sex to not having sex, our partners have to fill in the blanks themselves. And what they fill in is usually not particularly happy or healthy. Societally speaking, we’ve learned to associate someone declining to have sex with us as them telling us that something is wrong. Maybe it means that they don’t find us attractive anymore or that they don’t like having sex with us at all. When you say no to sex, your partner may believe these things are true – even if that’s not the case at all!

This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t say no to your partner when you don’t feel like having sex. In fact, you absolutely should. As Dr. Momtchiloff pointed out, one of the big reasons a couple stops having sex is because a partner doesn’t feel safe or comfortable having sex. If you’re forcing yourself to have sex for your partner’s sake, you’re likely not in the mood. For men, that may mean that you’re unable to get fully erect. For women, that may mean that you’re not lubricated enough. Either way, the sex that you’d have in that case would be, at best, unsatisfactory, and, at worst, painful. It’s always ok to say no, but speak through the real reasons with your partner rather than leaving them to imagine why, even if that means having a deeper discussion. 

And if you’re still wondering how important is sex in a relationship, here’re 5 facts: 

  • It releases a bonding hormone between you and your partner,
  • A healthy sex life builds intimacy and trust in your relationship
  • Sex boosts your immune system
  • The cocktail of feel-good hormones helps you sleep better and lifts your general mood 
  • It provides an opportunity to demonstrate love, affection and attraction

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and blogger whose best friend once told her to quit her job and become a couples and sex therapist. Since she’d miss writing too much, she figured writing for The Date Mix would be the next best thing.

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