After the first few months or years of a relationship, many couples feel distant and disconnected, or else they feel stressed and overwhelmed with the demands of daily life. This usually leads to a lack of sex and affection. Many women want to feel close, connected, and relaxed before sex, but in fact, it can work the other way too- having sex can make you closer and cut your stress. So, even if you’re feeling irritated, annoyed, exhausted, or distracted, here are ten reasons to try to get in the mood for sex.
1. Many people’s “love language” is physical affection.
Touching, sexual and otherwise, is what makes them feel loved. People who have different love languages, like quality time or verbal affirmations, tend to act like sex isn’t a big deal. But to those who express love via touch, which is most men, there is no love without sex.
2. Sex releases oxytocin, a chemical that makes people feel close and cuddly.
In fact, it’s called the bonding hormone, and it’s released when you orgasm. Oxytocin makes you want to ignore all your partner’s annoying quirks and just hang out together watching football. (Not really, but it does make you happier with him.)
3. Speaking of oxytocin, it has been shown to reduce alexithymia in men.
Alexithymia is psychology-speak for being unable to talk about feelings. So sex leads to oxytocin which leads to your partner opening up about his deepest and most vulnerable emotions. And women love that stuff.
4. Sex can make you feel like yourself again, not just a parent or a 9-5 employee.
Expressing your sexuality can get you back in touch with the “you” who existed before marriage, kids, mortgages, and bill paying.
5. Sex is relaxing… as long as it’s good.
This can make you feel less irritable and less prone to snarky remarks about the number of times you asked your partner to get the oil changed in the car before you did it yourself.
6. Sex can make you feel more confident.
It is a self-esteem boost to feel desired and attractive, and to know that your partner still thinks you’re hot. For men in particular, self-esteem comes from their sex appeal. If they don’t think any women want to sleep with them, they get depressed. And this usually comes out as passive aggressive remarks about the amount of time you spend on Facebook or getting ready in the morning.
7. Sex helps you sleep better.
Sleeping better makes you feel more optimistic and energetic, both positive for your relationship. Then maybe you’ll have the energy to do something fun together instead of sitting on your computers in the same room without talking.
8. Sex can remind you what it was like when you were newly in love.
If you feel as though you’re more like coworkers in a child-rearing and bill-paying machine, sex lets you see glimmers of the person that you used to fantasize about. Your partner is the same person who used to make your heart skip a beat, and sex can remind you of that.
9. In couples counseling, many men say that they would rather have more sex
Than have any other change in their relationship. Yet, women continue to cook gourmet dinners, write sweet emails, plan date nights, and other romantic stuff that, sadly, most men barely even notice. If you want to be noticed and appreciated, sex gives you the most bang for your buck (pun intended) with most guys. (Note: there are many cases where women have the higher sex drive in their relationship, but this is less common, so here I’m talking about what I usually see in counseling.)
10. Sex can make you realize that you and your partner have a history together.
Most couples have a pattern for their usual sexual encounters, and respond to each other in ways that they’ve perfected over time. Even when you feel disconnected or out of sync with each other, your sexual connection may remind you that you and your partner have a long history and a deep connection.
For all of these reasons, and more, don’t neglect your sex life as your relationship moves away from the honeymoon stage, and your focus changes to jobs, kids, bills, and other issues. Many couples put sex on the back burner “until they feel closer” or “until I feel less stressed out.”
But it can be very hard for couples to rebound from these dry spells. I’ve observed this many times in couples that I treat. Also, some women think that if you have sex less, you and your partner will want it, and each other, even more, kind of like in high school when you wanted to hook up all the more because it wasn’t always easy to find a place to do it. But it’s actually the opposite. The less sex you have, the less you want to have.
Think about how uncomfortable many women feel having sex for the first time after childbirth. Resuming sex isn’t usually just tough because of the physical pain. It is also very hard to be emotionally vulnerable if you haven’t been sexually intimate in a long time. Every day that you push off having sex will make you feel more awkward and less sexy when you eventually try and start having sex again.
Also, if you keep rejecting your partner for sex, he will likely feel bitter and resentful. He will either become obsessed with having sex and grab at you all the time, or will retreat entirely, both physically and emotionally. This is a worst-case scenario and is an example of when lack of sex can truly end a relationship.
Of course, many couples are busy and exhausted, and even when they are feeling close, they find it hard to squeeze sex into their nightly routine. Body image issues, depression and other issues, stress, and kids sleeping in your bed (or waking at night) are common things that get in the way of your sex life.
But, sex is so important that it’s essential to make time for it no matter what. Some couples even schedule sex on their calendars, and instead of thinking of this as unromantic, think of it as a way to make sure that you keep the passion alive. And instead of thinking of sex as something that happens if the mood is perfect and your partner acts romantic enough, think of it as a requirement for romance to even happen (most guys don’t feel all that lovey dovey towards a woman who keeps turning them down). So turn off that DVR, get the kids to sleep early, turn off your laptops, and start making sex a number one priority!