How important is sex in a marriage? According to researchers, sexless marriages are a growing trend. A recent article in Newsweek attempted to quantify the problem: "It is difficult to say exactly how many of the 113 million married Americans are too exhausted or too grumpy to get it on, but some psychologists estimate that 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is how the experts define sexless marriage."
So, what is going on? Contemporary society is drenched in sexual imagery, from the raunchy rap lyrics and MTV scenes that are now an accepted part of teenage culture, to the suggestive ads that fill every glossy magazine, to the booming online porn industry. It would be easy to erroneously assume that more of us are having more sex more of the time.
In her recent book, The Sex-Starved Marriage, author and therapist Michele Weiner Davis, underscores the importance sex plays in a healthy relationship: "When it's good, it offers couples opportunities to give and receive physical pleasure, to connect emotionally and spiritually. It builds closeness, intimacy and a sense of partnership. It defines their marriage as different from all others. In short, sex is a powerful tie that binds."
In other words, you don’t need sex, but your relationship does! It is very difficult to have a deep connection, “oneness” with your mate, without sexual intimacy. Chemistry plays a big role in sexual expression. Oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and a host of endorphins make sex more powerful than any drug. They combine to make what sex therapist Dr. Doug Weiss calls the “sex glue” that strengthens your bond with your mate.
"Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity and divorce," says Weiner Davis. She contends that it isn't a matter of how often a couple has sex, but how satisfied both partners feel: "A sex-starved marriage is more about the fallout that occurs when one spouse is deeply unhappy with his/her sexual relationship and this unhappiness is ignored, minimized, or dismissed."
So, it is extremely important that you and your mate prioritize and become intentional about having satisfying sex in all stages of your relationship.
- In the beginning: While the sex is so “hot” usually in the beginning, what is often neglected is the development of the other kinds of intimacy that are so important to sustain a relationship – emotional, intellectual, spiritual and financial intimacy.
- After the birth of children: Research shows that marital satisfaction sharply declines after the birth of a child. Couples who have healthy sexual chemistry prioritize their relationship. They create a needed balance in their lives and schedule quality time that doesn’t involve their new (or not so new) bundle of joy.
- In the “busy” years: Life can become so busy during the years of building a career and raising a family that sexual intimacy gets pushed to the bottom of the list and others things take priority. This is detrimental to a relationship and it is easy to become disconnected roommates instead of intimate lovers.
- In the empty nest years: Often as couples begin the transition to the empty nest, their bodes are also transitioning into the next stage as well! Menopause and the changing of hormonal levels in both men and women bring changes in sexual drive and energy as well as in physiology. It is important that you remain intentional about your sexual intimacy by consulting with a physician and doing whatever is necessary to navigate through these changes. Sexual intimacy can and will grow deeper and more fulfilling through these changes if you will be intentional and continue to lovingly communicate with your partner. It is important to continue to nourish your intimacy, not only sexually, but in all other ways as well, so that you don’t reach the empty nest stage with someone who has become a virtual stranger!
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Keep sex and your relationship a priority and be intentional about your intimacy. If you do, you both can enjoy satisfying sex throughout all the years of your relationship. Let LoveRecon Seminars and Recon Coaching help!