Sex in Marriage – A Must-Have or a Nice-To-Have?

Once you get married, the sex comes to an end. While that statement may be a bit of exaggeration, there is a reason why married sex is butt of many jokes.

Why does the sex subside?

Let’s start by looking at some important differences between men and women when it comes to how they perceive sex. While men don’t actually think about sex every 7 seconds, studies show that they do think about it more often. According to the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, the majority of men think about sex every day or several times a day, whereas the majority of women think about sex only a few times per month or a few times per week.

Men and women are created differently. When it comes to getting in the mood, men tend to be susceptible to more immediate sexual stimuli, including touch, smell, sight, thought or fantasy, whereas women often rely on an emotional connection and environmental factors to become aroused. So, oftentimes, a man can be ready to go within seconds, while it may take a woman several minutes or longer

Married sex and the rut

So we know that some distinct differences exist between men and women when it comes to sex. Now add on top of that the everyday pressures of married life and conflicting priorities – kids, work, in-laws, cleaning the house, financial headaches – and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster. It becomes harder and harder to find time for sex because so many other distractions take precedence.

Next thing you know, you’ve got one partner who views sex as a priority while the other sees it merely as a nice-to-have. To one, the lack of sex becomes a significant void, but to the other, it’s no big deal. And the lack of communication on the subject only perpetuates the problem.

If not resolved, this issue can turn into a long-term marital problem, as noted by a recent Psychology Today article — “Four years into a secure relationship, fewer than half of women wanted regular sex, and after 20 years, only 20 percent did – whereas men’s sex drives held steady. “

Why is it important?

Like any other priority in life, this piece cannot get lost. Sex serves its own very important purpose in a marriage. This physical bond is a way of celebrating intimacy between two people. But when it loses its place in the marriage, resentment builds and arguments ensue. Sex becomes a chore. Intimacy and romance are out the window. And before you know it, what once was supposed to be an activity that connects the couple ends up driving a wedge between the two. “Unsatisfying sexual relationships,” according to Weiner-Davis, “are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity and divorce.”

How bring sex back into the marriage:

  1. Understand each other’s attitudes towards sex. “Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex,” says Esther Perel, a New York City psychotherapist and author of Mating in Captivity. “For men, sex is the connection. Sex is the language men use to express their tender loving vulnerable side. It is their language of intimacy.” Acknowledging this simple truth is the first significant step in the journey towards a healthy sex life.
  2. Re-prioritize. Look at your list of priorities. If sex is not on that list, add it. If it’s at the bottom of the list, move it up. When the kids go to a play date or down for a nap, resist the urge to clean the house or pay the bills. Instead, seek out your partner and get it on!
  3. Compromise. As we explored earlier, men and women approach sex differently. Both partners cannot always be satisfied, and that’s okay. Both partners may not always be in the mood, and that’s okay, too. He may want a quickie just before the kids get home. No romance, no sweet seduction, just a quick roll in the hay. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Go for it. Or maybe she wants to set aside some time for soft music, candlelight and foreplay before launching into the deed.  Find the time and make her happy.
  4. Talk about it. It can be an embarrassing conversation, but the more you talk about your sex life, the more you understand the degree to which you are meeting your partner’s needs. Put your embarrassment aside and ask for what you want — and while you’re at it, ask for some feedback, too.

Some final thoughts…

It should be noted that in general men have a higher desire for sex than women. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, neither partner is interested and other times, the man is the low-desire partner. But regardless of where the lack of desire originates, the fundamentals still apply. Sex in marriage is a key ingredient to a happy and healthy marriage.