If you’ve been married for any duration of time (more than, say, 6 months) you’ve probably had an argument about sex. Either one of you wants it more often than the other, one of you wants to do different things than the other, or one of you won’t even talk about it. There’s a lot of strong emotions around sex. So it makes sense there would be a lot of fights. Plus, when you’re in a monogamous relationship and one partner doesn’t want to have sex (or doesn’t want the same kind of sex you do) it creates a conundrum. And most partner’s aren’t willing just to declare a stalemate.
The sad thing about all the fights couples have about sex is that they’re turning sex into a battle ground. And instead of sex being something that is connecting and exciting, it turns into a topic that is touchy and awkward – like talking about your mother-in-law or that bad thing your uncle did when he got too drunk last Christmas.
Sex Is Good For Your Marriage
It’s a sad thing that sex turns into a fight because sex is actually really good for your marriage. It’s the one thing you share with your partner that you don’t share with anyone else. So it becomes a unique form of showing intimacy, love, romance, connection – all those things that actually make you a married couple and not just roommates. Sure you can show intimacy, love and romance in other ways but there’s no more unique way of expressing in than through sex. You can do it through a hug, for example, but you also hug your parents and even some friends. Sex is a unique form of expression with your spouse and it makes that expression of love and affection much more meaningful.
Sex is also good for your marriage because it creates a chemical called oxytocin in your brain. This hormone is called the attachment hormone. When a woman gives birth, oxytocin levels in her brain spikes. This creates the feeling of bond and attachment and also helps with the feelings of pain after childbirth. During sex men and women both have a spike in oxytocin. This helps create bond and attachment with each other. There’s no other known way to spike oxytocin levels so high than through sex or childbirth.
When sex isn’t happening, it hurts the marriage
When sex isn’t happening it hurts the marriage in a lot of ways. Like I mentioned above, when sex isn’t happening there are often a lot of fights that go along with it. Other ways it hurts is the marriage is that it often leaves at least one partner feeling bitter and resentful. In a monogamous relationship if one partner doesn’t want to have sex that means the other partner isn’t having sex, either – which isn’t the higher desire partner’s choice. Which means the higher desire partner often feels manipulated, betrayed and even violated. When you’re married to someone who voluntarily shuts you off of something that makes you feel so good and de facto replaces it with anger, resentment, etc. it’s hard to feel close to that person.
And when you’re the lower desire partner, the HDP has a unique way of taking something that should be so romantic and connecting and turn it into a litmus test. The LDP also feels all kind of pressure around sex which also twists the feelings of love and connection that are supposed to go along with it.
Couples who Make Love Together Stay Together
So next time a fight comes up in your marriage around sex, stop the cycle. Take the time to hear your partner and what their sexual preferences are. There’s no other way to have sex and receive the benefits of it than by actually having sex. So regardless of what fights you’ve had in the past, it’s time to put that all behind you. Have a good talk with each other and try some new things.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in helping couples overcome stale relationships and infidelity.