How Important Is Sex In A Relationship?

 
Q: If you are unable to maintain a healthy relationship then something is going very wrong. Is it SEX?
Expert Answer

It’s interesting to think about the evolution of sexual practices in relationships throughout history. Although being “chaste” was considered an absolute necessity in many relationships existing prior to the mid-20th century, particularly in Western cultures, the “use” of sexual intercourse and our views towards it have undergone a fundamental psychological shift throughout the years. Using the previous example, it is, in some ways, ironic to think that the emphasis on sexual “purity” was combined with an almost entirely utilitarian view of the process, one which rendered sex a tool for procreation. Although this is, of course, an over-simplification of a more complex topic, it seems reasonable to state that sex has become much more of a pleasurable, emotion-building tool that it has been in previous centuries.

Because of this, many psychologists and sociologists have begun to analyze the relative importance of sexual activity to a romantic relationship. Although there is no quantifiable way to address the “relevance” of sex to a large group of people, certain generalizations will obviously be made based upon an average consensus of those being interviewed. This article is meant to serve as a brief overview of the core elements that sex serves to bolster and support within a romantic relationship. Readers can use this article to gain more information about recent research into sex and, in the process, gain further insight into their own relationship. As stated previously, the information presented here is not meant to serve as a unanimous “truth” for all relationships. The subtle nuances of interpersonal dynamics will obviously vary significantly between couples. Regardless, both men and women may find something of worth here. Enjoy!

Sex as a Tool For Emotional Development

A large number of individuals believe that sexual intercourse is an important tool for cementing the feelings and sentiments developed during the platonic period of a relationship. Whereas a large number of friendships do not require physical activity in order to maintain the ties they have established, a significant number of couples have stated that sexual activity, at least in the early stages of a romantic relationship, serves a formative function. On the other hand, it could be argued that this level of physical intensity in the early stages of a relationship may, at times, supplant the emotional development that could have been gained through less “direct” methods of interaction. Obviously, the merits of these contrasting methods can only be determined by the couple in question. That being said, it is interesting to observe both the interpersonal dynamics and the longevity of relationships that exist within this strikingly different modus operandi.

Sex as a Tool For Pleasure

Obviously, one of the primary benefits of sex during a relationship (or otherwise, for that matter) is the level of pleasure received from the act. Whereas casual sex retains some of the social taboos established by earlier generations, sex within a relationship setting, even in an “out-of-wedlock” scenario, has become a significant “perk” for both men and women. It is interesting to consider whether this type of pleasure is sustainable, however. It is common knowledge that, as couple spends more time together; the frequency of their sexual activity diminishes. Although the mechanics of the process remain identical, some individuals have reported that their desire for sexual union diminishes. In this scenario, the point could be argued that sex alone is not a pleasurable enough activity to sustain a relationship over time. The sentiments expressed by these individuals defend the view that the emotional intensity of a relationship helps “validate” sexual activity. Because of this, sex may not be as important of a relationship tool as it may have first seemed.

Sex as a Tool For Reproduction

On a strictly biological level, sexual intercourse is of paramount importance to monogamous romantic partnerships if a goal within that relationship is the creation of a child. As a contrary point of argument, however, it could be observed that sex and procreation exists outside the “confines” of emotional relationships. Whether or not an individual is part of a relationship is irrelevant. In this particular instance, however, we can observe the importance of cultural and religious values which have developed stigmas concerning the creation of a child outside of marriage.

Conclusion

Like it or not, sex remains a valuable and significant point of focus for individuals in and out of relationships. As our cultural opinions on love and relationships changes, our views and opinions on sex will most likely change with them.

 
 
Author

Expert Author : Mark Simms (Consumer Health Digest)

Mark Simms is a prolific freelance health and beauty writer, independent researcher with a long history and expertise of providing reliable and relatable health content for magazines, newsletters, websites including blogs and journals. He also enjoy exploring men’s and women’s health category writing articles about sex and relationships, product review and providing information on sexual health.