“Sex is like air—it’s not important unless you aren’t getting any.” ~ John Callahan
It had been a really tough day, but I had practiced yoga, meditated, and was feeling content surrounded by the love of my fiancé, my 60-pound hound dog, and my much smaller Shih Tzu.
And then a Facebook post came across my screen, and all my hard-fought peace went out the window.
The title of the article? “A Relationship will only be as Good as the Sex.”
I read the article, grumbled, and went in search of chocolate.
Does wanting to have good sex count?
As a middle-aged career woman in a committed relationship with the responsibility of two kids, two dogs, and a house with thin walls, I truly hope there is more necessary for a good relationship than just sex.
Look, I like sex. And without being too graphic, I agree that soul-connecting, bed-thumping, can’t-walk sex is amazing. I just don’t think it’s the only barometer of a good relationship.
But my husband cheated on me after 20 years of marriage—so I could be wrong.
I googled sex and relationships and the following quote from a Psychology Today article by Esadora Alman caught my eye:
“When I was writing my syndicated advice column on sex and relationships, at least once a week I was asked, “How important is sex in a relationship”? The volunteers at San Francisco Sex Information tell me this is one of their most frequent questions as well.
If you immediately answered ‘very,’ I bet I can guess your age.”
Which is what I thought when I read the aforementioned Elephant Journal article. But Alman later shares that the most important aspect of a relationship is what is important to each partner.
So if we are googling “how often you should have sex in a healthy relationship,” maybe it’s time to sit down with our partners and ask them—rather than rely on the internet.
Another Psychology Today article I found, titled “How Sex Bonds Couples, and Why Sometimes It’s Not Enough,” by Dr. Douglas LaBiers states:
“If both partners enjoy sex, per se, and presumably with each other, then yes, that’s likely to enhance their relationship satisfaction…[but] no sexual technique or efforts to re-energize passion will help much when your relationship’s vitality is ebbing away.”
What I’ve learned from my own relationships is that sex is not enough to get us through the long haul.
So what can we do to keep our romantic relationships healthy and long-lasting?
>> Communicate compassionately and honestly: We must listen to our partners. And be impeccable with the words we speak to them. Tell them what we need, and tell them what we want in a relationship—including sexual frequency.
>> Be cooperative: It is easy to start treating our partners as a “given.” Instead, we should think of their needs and not impose our own. There is an invisible relationship balance sheet. Make sure it isn’t tipping toward either partner most of the time.
>> Do things alone, together: Make sure there is still some reason to be together. Mutual hobbies, walks in the park, sex, travel—something. If we don’t like to do anything with our partner—or have nothing in common—why are we together again?
>> Do the work on ourselves: We can’t expect our companions to fix us or make us feel better. That is our job. Consume what your body needs. Exercise in a way that is enjoyable. Get <Find? a hobby. Get therapy. Do whatever it takes to be a healthy partner.
>> Agree on intimacy placeholders: So we can’t make love as much as we would like, but we can commit to sitting together and cuddling. Or when we are apart, greet each other with a picture of flowers in the morning. Make an effort with your loved one—if we can’t find the time to be in their pants, look for ways to touch their heart.
We commit to recycling plastic, paper and glass—but if we don’t take the same care to commit to our most important relationships, we will cause irreparable harm to ourselves, our children, and our pets (they suffer in breakups too!).
How might the tools above deepen and strengthen your relationship?
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ C.G. Jung
Author: Donna Yates Kling
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis