Some may argue that sex is not everything in a relationship. Or is it? Although there are many important components that make a sentimental relationship successful, the sexual aspect of the relationship is a driving force that binds or separates couples.
IS IT REALLY TRUE?
In spite of the romantic aspect of the “love that conquers it all” paradigm, the truth is that sex is the back bone of most committed relationships. Sexual satisfaction has been linked to relationship quality and even love. For instance, Susan Sprecher conducted a study among premarital heterosexual couples. The study investigated the association between sexual satisfaction and love, commitment, and the stability of the relationship. The author found evidence that changes in sexual satisfaction lead to changes in the satisfaction with the relationship, the love, and the commitment of the participants. Moreover, the author also found that sexual satisfaction was a significant factor in the stability of the relationship. Both men and women showed stronger bonds within their relationships when sexual satisfaction was high.
Doctors Cindy Meston and Paul Trapnell developed quantitative scale to measure sexual satisfaction and distress in women called The Sexual Satisfaction Scale for Women (yes, there is an instrument to measure that!). Sexual satisfaction among women has been found to be affected by age, marital status, income level, personality and affective factors such as self-esteem, selfishness, sexual guilt, anger, physical affection, positive sexual attitudes of the family, and sexual education, to name a few. However, the most important factor in sexual satisfaction has been found to be communication between sexual partners. Studies have shown that married couples who disclose more about sexual and nonsexual aspects of their lives and relationships report the highest levels of satisfaction. Thus, good sexual communication has been proven to be a good predictor of overall sexual satisfaction among couples. Effective communication leads to closeness, intimacy, and enhanced sexual arousal and better orgasms. Women who talk about their sexual desires and preferences and who are more sexually assertive enjoy better sex. Conversely, women who don’t feel capable of communicating with their partners about their sexual desires tend to have more orgasm problems and sexual dysfunction.
SEXUAL DISSATISFACTION IN MEN & WOMEN
Sexual dissatisfaction can be a predictor of infidelity. Moreover, studies have shown that sexual dissatisfaction is a common cause for divorce. Women and men have different views on the value of their sexuality within the context of the relationship. For women, intimacy and the emotional aspect of the relationship greatly impacts their sexual desire and enjoyment in a relationship. On the other hand, men use sex as a mean to intimacy. Therefore, women need intimacy in order to have sex and men need sex in order to lead them to intimacy. What a quandary!
IF HE ISN’T GETTING WHAT HE NEEDS IN THE BEDROOM…
When sex loses its place in the relationship, men can take it personally. Men define their masculinity and self-worth by their ability to have sex. Therefore, in the absence of sex, men feel disconnected, which makes them “free agents” in the market of love. Men who are dissatisfied with their sex lives are most likely to cheat than those who enjoy greater levels of sexual satisfaction within their relationships.
IF SHE FEELS UNAPPRECIATED…
Women are not infallible to infidelity. On the contrary, sexual dissatisfaction in women can also lead them to infidelity. However, the formula for sexual dissatisfaction among women is different. A woman who does not feel emotionally connected to her partner is not able to enjoy her sexuality. Therefore, when a woman finds a “substitute” for her attention with whom she can make a connection and feel romanced, she becomes more vulnerable to infidelity.
Here’s what to do if you feel sexually dissatisfied:
- Communicate: Talk to your partner about your concerns. Share your sexual fantasies. Be assertive in your communication.
- Try Therapy: Couples therapy may help you get your relationship back on track. Sexual therapy may also help to specifically tackle any sexual issues.
- Get Creative: Find ways to add spark to your love life. But you don’t have to invest a fortune or make this a chore. Your home can be a shrine to your renewed sex life.
If you feel you are sexually dissatisfied or frustrated, do not let the situation progress into something you will later regret. Take matters into your own hands and give sex the importance it deserves in your life and your relationship. You will both enjoy the results!
Here’s what some women we talked to had to say on the subject:
Definitely, sexual boredom leads to apathy for me. If our sex is good, our relationship is stronger. —Nelia H., Fort Worth, TX
I feel much better about us when we connect at a sexual level. It does lead to higher levels of intimacy for us. —Belinda R., San Juan, PR
And here’s what a couple of men had to say:
We make time for sex and find sex to be an essential component of our relationship. If sex is good, my wife and I can tackle all challenges! —Alberto C., Dallas, TX
Sex is essential for me. When my wife and I have sex, I feel connected, loved, appreciated. It is a gift. When we don’t have sex often, I feel unloved, abandoned, and unappreciated. I need to have her close to reach that level of intimacy with her. —José V., Denver, CO
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