I tend to be the friend my friends call when there is a relationship problem. I am certainly unqualified to be a therapist, but I have studied gender and communication for several years. Basically I know enough to be dangerous. Any of my friends will tell you, if you call me because you are having a hard time with your partner, and are certain you don’t love each other anymore, my response will always be the same:
When is the last time you slept with him?
Of course at this they snarl. “Sleep with him? I can’t sleep with him.” And then they go on to list a slew of reasons about why they couldn’t possibly have sex with the man they live with. Once they finish, nearly teary eyed, I say the words they hope I have moved on from, “call me back after you start regularly sleeping with your partner.”
And you want to know a secret? They rarely have to.
Sex is important. Of course sex alone isn’t enough but it also cannot be overlooked. Whether you want to or not, your relationship needs it.
Trust me, I get it, watching Survivor in your underwear and eating double stuffed Oreo’s is just as romantic a night to me as any. I have heard many women ask the questions, “does having sex actually matter when our relationship is based on such a deep level of friendship?” The short answer to that is, yes.
If it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t need a relationship.
Your best friend can hold you while you cry and binge on Netflix with a cup of Noosa (personal favorite). Your partner is supposed to be those things for you, and more. Since I hate trying to convince people of anything by my sheer opinion, let me tell you why I say this.
For starters, sex is the only thing that you share with your partner that you do not share with anyone else…I hope. I am a communications professor, so trust me on this, sex does require a level of communication that you literally cannot experience otherwise.
There is a certain level of trust and vulnerability that comes with the sexual experience that is bar none the more intimate emotional moment you can ever come across.
Think about the things you say to your partner during sexual intimacy. It’s the only time in your life you are that vulnerable with someone, and the communication you use reflects it. And let’s also dispel the popular myths; studies have shown that while television and movies may depict marriage as the old ball and chain where sex goes to die, it just isn’t supported by the data.
On average, 61% of single people report not having sex in the last year while 25% of married couples say they still have sex 2-3x a week. This number is less than 5% when compared to single people. Married people also report having better sex than single people, and according to Dr. Laura Berman, married people even experience oral sex more than single people. Basically when it comes to married sex life vs. single sex life, it’s no contest. Someone please alert high school boys.
So what do we do if our relationship is not in the 25% of couples who are having sex 2-3x a week? It’s actually a better fix than one might think, you…just…do it? Experts all agree that the cure to craving more sex, is actually having more sex.
Regular sex increases your desire for sex.
The hormones you experience with your partner in sex will actually rewire your brain to want more, even if that desire was not initially there. If you wait till both of you are ‘in the mood’ you will probably watch a ship set sail. A sad ship. That feels alone and rejected. No one wants to be on that ship.
The problem with sex, is that human beings are hardwired to want it, and if you can’t have sex with your partner, it is a painful reality that you may seek sex elsewhere. The actuality of the importance men place on sex is a stark one. Sex is extremely vital to how men show love. Research consistently shows that between 80 and 90% of men say that sex is the most important aspect of their marriage. He isn’t being a pervert, it is literally part of how he shows you he loves you.
In a study by marriage experts Gary and Barbara Rosberg, it was found that the vast majority of married men, indicate that female initiation of sex is among their top sexual needs. He doesn’t just want to be having sex with you, he wants to know that you want to be having sex with him. This is something women get wrong all the time. Men are actually pretty vulnerable, and they feel more masculine, when the woman they chose to spend their entire life with, still desires them. Remember that. It’s not enough for you to just “let him have sex with you,” he needs you to initiate sex. For most men, sex cannot be separated from love. So when you reject his sexual advances, you are rejecting love from him. For the average woman, talking, and laughing, and sharing emotional intimacy is how they feel loved. So you can see how so many couples have a problem.
One more piece of data I found interesting, even if your partner is not asking for sex, studies show that men who minimize the importance of sex in their relationships, do so out of past hurt or rejection, and are trying to prevent future pain.
For some of us, we may have found ourselves in a relationship with the 10-20% of men, who don’t identify sex as a primary need. It’s normal in relationships for one party to be less interested in the sexual provocation of the other party. Do it anyway.
Often women don’t need sex to express love. The problem is, that your partner does. So you do it for him. Plus, the more you do it, the more you will start to want to do it. The benefits of sex include, better sleep, better intimacy, less stress, and even a better immune system. Sex is awesome, and you have a partner with whom you could enjoy the intimacy and deep connection that sex can bring.
So the next time you are eating those Oreo’s, while watching your favorite episode of Law & Order, surprise him. Hit the pause button, and let him feel desired by you. Turns out, it will be pretty awesome.