I recently read, with some dismay, a letter from a woman married for two years who said that she and her husband have never had sex. While this is not the first time I’ve come across this type of peculiarity, it does boggle the mind that some couples seem to get along just fine with minimal or zero sex. There are a few couples that actually claim to be quite happy with diminished sex while still enjoying other forms of intimacy. Still, others admit to seasonal low points, which understandably may be attributed to issues like stress, ill health or hormonal changes. But are couples really all right with this prolonged state of affairs or is it a case of the naiveté of ignorance?
From my own experience, couples that seek counseling tend to identify sexual challenges as one of their primary areas of concern in marriage. Sex is a huge deal-breaker because it is that one act that defines marital oneness and distinguishes it from other types of relationships. With this understanding of its importance, can we then assume that the absence of sex or its diminished quality can have a negative impact on the rest of a marriage? Can we consolidate all other areas and ignore sex or can a bad sex life actually ruin an otherwise good marriage?
I believe we can answer these questions by confirming all the things that great sex can do for marriage. When we know what we may be missing, then we’re unlikely to relegate sex to the back burner. This can then create a context for us to get back on track if, perhaps, we’ve allowed our sex life to be derailed.
“Sex is a huge deal-breaker because it is that one act that defines marital oneness and distinguishes it from other types of relationships.”
Sex operationalizes our marital commitment: While sex literally demonstrates the physicality of two becoming one, it is also the first point of reference from which the other elements of oneness can outflow. Through the release of the hormone oxytocin known to occur at sexual climax, sex provides an emotional and spiritual bond between couples, which can function to solidify their commitment. In literal terms, sex binds us to our partner in a way that no other activity can.
Sex has the power to diffuse anger: While confirming that sex should not be used as an escapist strategy when serious relationship issues need to be confronted, there is no shunning the power of some sensational make-up sex. Make-up sex can cause couples to get back to what is really important in their marriage and the infusion of feel-good hormones can just make what was a volatile issue, seem really frivolous. If done right, it can also break down the barriers of hostility and open up the doors for the exploration of areas of concern. There’s nothing like a good, long, soul-searching talk after a round of sex to bring some resolution to challenging issues. Serious problems will not be automatically fixed, but sex can confirm that you and your spouse are fighting on the same team.
Sex facilitates self-knowledge and self-exposure: There is no doubting it—sex causes us to look at ourselves in a whole new light; and this is especially true for women. As we get in touch with our inner sexual tigress, we can begin to accept the idea that we deserve sexual pleasure and will hopefully remove some of the limits associated with it in our minds. This will not happen if we’re living sexless. Sexual success can also cause us to push the limits on our own sexual expectations and lead us to tapping into previously unexplored areas of our sexuality. This may include women assuming sexual positions, which allow for greater control and or exposure. It could also lead to wives adding practices like strip teasing or lap dancing to their sexual repertoire.
“Serious problems will not be automatically fixed, but sex can confirm that you and your spouse are fighting on the same team.”
Sex is plain old fun: Sex can be such a fun-filled activity, if we learn not to take ourselves too seriously. While today great sex seems to require us to follow a detailed 10-point plan, great sexual freedom can come with simply lowering our inhibitions and doing what comes naturally. Being crazily enthusiastic, shouting the house down, laughing, giggling or just smiling quietly from ear to ear are all great ways in which we can relish the pleasure that is sex, without thinking we have to impress anyone.
Sex bolsters health: Scientific studies consistently prove that sex has great health benefits. Apart from being a great stress reliever and a wonderful form of exercise, it can boost heart health, improve our immune system and cause our skin to glow. These obvious benefits bring fresh meaning to the positive connection between mind, body and soul; a connection that can only prove beneficial to any marriage.
Denise J Charles is an educator, counselor, relationship-coach, published author and blogger. She holds a Masters Degree in Education and is a qualified trainer-of-trainers. Denise is Executive Director of "Better Blends Relationship Institute," a counseling and training entity founded by herself and her husband Gabriel. Denise’s blog on sex can be found "here". Denise’s new book is "How To Have Mind-Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain." Follow her on Google+.