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November 11, 2022

How Understanding Healthy Sex Can Help You Have a Happier Relationship

By: Milan Pasic 

Recent psychological studies support a key strategy to improve your romantic relationships: have sex. This may seem obvious, but, upon closer examination, it isn’t as simple as you think. Sex in the context of relationships can seem simple or one-dimensional. You may view sex between monogamous partners as a way to satisfy each other’s needs, but its role in relationships is often deeper than that. In this article, we will first discuss the importance of a healthy sex life, then we will move onto the methods you can use to not only improve sexual satisfaction, but also improve the relationship as a whole.

First, let’s talk about why sex is important for your personal well-being. Studies have long supported that sex is important. As humans, we have sexual needs and desires that can boil over in nasty ways if left unsatisfied. However, the importance of having sex goes beyond just meeting our evolutionary needs. In fact, unaddressed sexual desires can result in an overall decline in mental and physical health. It is also an intense source of affection within a relationship. When you are vulnerable with your partner in this way, you are choosing to share your body and desires with them which can create a bond and experience unique to sexual intimacy. Affection at such a high level communicates that your partner is attracted to you and trusts you. Now that we’ve established that sex, in general, is beneficial for you and your partner, let’s discuss what steps to take to have a healthier sex life that also benefits other areas of your relationship.

When you have the urge, tell your partner!

For several internal and external reasons, sex can be difficult to discuss. Due to anxiety or societal taboos, you might be nervous or embarrassed to discuss the sexual desires you have with your partner. As hard as it can be, communication is essential for better and healthy sex. One reason for this is simple – sex is better when both partners want it. Studies show that people have more frequent and better sex when sexual desire is higher. Open communication can help one another understand when each person desires sexual activity. If you find yourself wanting to have sex, do not hesitate to tell your partner. They may be feeling the same way! However, present your desires in a welcoming, pressure-free way, as it’s extremely important to only have sex if your partner shares your desire.

Discuss your specific desires and needs.

It’s also important to discuss the specifics of what you want and do not want in your sex life. Not only does this lead to better sex, but sexual communication is strongly associated with relationship satisfaction. If you have a sexual fantasy or desire that you are too shy to tell your partner, do your best to be open with them. If it’s difficult for you to discuss sex with your partner, you could show them what you want physically or work your way up from a desire you suspect they would be open to.  Open sexual communication improves more than sexual satisfaction. When you decide to share these thoughts with your partner you are telling them that you love and trust them enough to share your deepest and most private thoughts. This level of vulnerability can  bring you even closer to the one you love.

Create an emotionally welcoming environment.

Although communication is important, you should never force someone you love to discuss something that makes them uncomfortable or that they are not ready to share. It’s important to be aware of our partners’ feelings and behaviors when discussing intimate topics. It can be very difficult for some people, particularly those who tend to avoid situations that require them to open up about their emotions,  If your partner falls into this category, try your best to create a warm environment by showing unconditional support and by communicating you would never judge them for who they are. Receiving the messages that you care for and accept them may encourage them to stay and talk with you rather than avoiding difficult conversations about sex. As we’ve explored, this communication can then lead to a healthier sex life, and more importantly, a happier relationship.

The critical takeaway from this conversation is that communication and authentic sex is crucial for sexual and relationship satisfaction. Studies tell us that the expression “quality over quantity” applies to healthy sex lives as well. In fact, there is, at most, only a small correlation between sexual satisfaction and sexual frequency. However, sex can provide emotional and physical intimacy in a way that no other activity can. When you choose to share your physicality with your partner you can show love and trust in a very impactful manner. Try your best to communicate your sexual needs, frustrations, desires, and fears with your partner. First, have a conversation with your significant other about your sex life. Ask them if there’s anything about your current sexual relationship that they are unsatisfied with. Remember to be understanding and open to new ideas. Having these types of conversations can lead to a happier relationship with enhanced trust and intimacy.

 

References

Debrot, A., Meuwly, N., Muise, A., Impett, E. A., & Schoebi, D. (2017). More Than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association Between Sexual Activity and Well-Being. Personality & social psychology bulletin, 43(3), 287–299. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167216684124

Khoury, C. B., & Findlay, B. M. (2014). What makes for good sex? The associations among attachment style, inhibited communication and sexual satisfaction. Journal of Relationships Research, 5. https://doi-org.access.library.miami.edu/10.1017/jrr.2014.7

Lee, E. (2019). Sexual desire and sexual activity among individuals in romantic relationships: A longitudinal perspective [ProQuest Information & Learning]. In Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering (Vol. 80, Issue 1-B(E)).

Mallory, A. B., Stanton, A. M., & Handy, A. B. (2019). Couples’ sexual communication and dimensions of sexual function: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sex Research, 56(7), 882–898. https://doi-org.access.library.miami.edu/10.1080/00224499.2019.1568375

Roels, R., & Janssen, E. (2020). Sexual and relationship satisfaction in young, heterosexual couples: The role of sexual frequency and sexual communication. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 17(9), 1643–1652. https://doi-org.access.library.miami.edu/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.06.013 Chicago 17th Edition

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