Couples everywhere are busy. So busy that they barely have time to get busy. Yes, we’re talking about sex. If you look around you, there is sexual imagery everywhere. Yet, strangely, couples are having less sex than before. In the US, for example, people were found to engage in sex nine fewer times each year in the 2010s compared to the 90s. That’s 15% less sex!1
Sex Is Vital To Your Relationship
Sex is a normal and necessary part of a healthy relationship and not getting enough of it can often lead to resentment, frustration, and lack of emotional intimacy. Studies have shown that sexual dry spells can make you more prone to stress and more likely to feel sad or depressed.2
Think of it this way: sex is probably the only thing you share with your partner that you don’t share with anyone else. It is, therefore, unique to just the two of you – something that makes you more than merely friends or roommates. A good sex life not only keeps your relationship going, it is one of the key anchors of a healthy relationship – the glue that holds you together!
Sex Offers You Several Benefits As A Couple
More Emotional Intimacy
Sex necessitates that partners talk to each other about what turns them on and how they like to be touched. This brings you closer as a couple and forges deeper levels of openness, trust, and vulnerability to each other, ultimately paving the way for more emotional intimacy and fulfillment.3
Studies have shown that couples in relationships where there is little to no sex are generally less happy and more likely to consider divorce than couples who have more sex.4 Experts say that when sex leaves a relationship, it can be a sign that emotional intimacy is gone too. This often makes partners wonder if they’d be happier and more fulfilled with others.
Better Quality Of Life
Sexual intimacy and a satisfying sex life are correlated with the overall quality of your life.5 Having sex regularly enhances your sense of well-being and also makes you more confident and powerful. In part, this is because sex makes your brain release endorphins and oxytocin, the feel-good hormone which fosters feelings of attachment and bonding with your partner.6
It Makes You Smarter
Believe it or not, sex could actually make you more intelligent! A 2013 study conducted at the University of Maryland showed that mice who were allowed to have sex demonstrated better cognitive function and mental performance.7
Better Physical Health
If the emotional and mental benefits of having sex weren’t enough, just take a dekko at its physical benefits. Studies show that sex activates a whole bunch of neurotransmitters that impact the brain. Sex has been scientifically shown to lower blood pressure, promote better sleep, strengthen the immune system, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and ease stress. It also improves self-esteem and lowers anxiety and depression.8
For men, sex can help improve erectile function and for women, it promotes better vaginal health, says Dr. Jan Shifren, co-author of the Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond report published by Harvard. Lastly, a better sex life makes you more likely to age healthy and live longer.9
There’s No Golden Number But Have Sex Often
There is no ideal number of times that you should have sex. The ideal number is what both partners are satisfied and happy with. That said, a study based on 40 years of data showed that couples who did the hanky panky at least once a week were the happiest.10 So the question of “how often” is best discussed between partners. The key is to keep at it and work at it!
Nurture Your Sex Life
It is vital to really nurture your sex life as a couple and give it the time and attention it deserves. Waiting for sex to happen spontaneously is okay, but being deliberate about it makes it more likely that you’ll actually get down and dirty.
Work On Your Mindset
One of the most wonderful things you can do maintain a healthy sex life is to accept the idea that you are a sexual being and that you deserve to be pleasured by your partner – not just give pleasure to him/her. Sex is an activity that both partners need to enjoy.
Make Lifestyle Changes
A report published by Harvard University suggests that quitting smoking and exercising regularly can spice up your sex life by improving blood flow to your sex organs and strengthening your cardiac muscles. The same report also points out that losing weight can make couples more comfortable with the idea of sex since they feel less inhibited.11
Address Unresolved Issues In Your Relationship
Unresolved issues between a couple can be deadly for your sexual health and intimacy. Therapists almost unanimously agree that when couples experience sexual problems, it is usually caused by a deeper problem in the relationship. Some of the most frequent culprits that lead to couples having less or no sex are pent-up feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, and disappointment. When couples don’t resolve these issues, it festers and becomes toxic over time, leading to lower libido and lack of physical affection.
Talk. Really Talk.
To nurture your sexual relationship with your partner, you should be able to express your thoughts and feelings to your significant other without feeling judged or ashamed. When a couple is able to do so, they foster understanding and acceptance, which also makes it easier for them to express their sexual desires, needs, and, yes, even fantasies in the bedroom.
Keep Stress At Bay
Easier said than done, but being stressed and exhausted does not bode well for your sexual wellbeing. Not only do stress and exhaustion make you feel physically drained, they sap you of your libido. Stress and anxiety over finances, kids, careers, elderly parents, illness in the family are common causes of couples withdrawing from each other sexually. If possible, take short vacations often, just to get away from it all.12
Remember, It’s Not Just About Intercourse
Sex does not always have to mean sexual intercourse. Kissing, touching, snuggling, massages, whispering sweet nothings, naughty talk, and foreplay can all help maintain that spark and spice things up for you as a couple. Foreplay is especially important to building an intimate sexual relationship and makes each partner feel desired.
It sounds weird and unromantic, but it actually helps to be methodical about sex and put it on your to-do list. Set at least one hour a week aside to spend with your partner cuddling, talking, doing foreplay, touching each other, and yes, having sex. Do not use being tired or your kids as an excuse. That’s just not acceptable. On that note, once you hit the bed, keep your electronic devices away no matter how tempting it might be to check your social media. Remember, your partner is the priority here.
If you’ve gone without sex for way too long, it helps to have an open conversation with your partner. And if you’re scared to do so or have trouble talking about it, consider seeing a couples’ therapist and/or sex therapist to facilitate the conversation.
|↑1||The many reasons that people are having less sex. BBC.|
|↑2||9 Things That Happen to Your Body If You Stop Having Sex. Reader’s Digest.|
|↑3||Sexual Intimacy And Emotional Intimacy. University of Nebraska.|
|↑4||When Sex Leaves the Marriage. The New York Times/|
|↑5, ↑12||Attitudes about sexuality and aging. Harvard University.|
|↑6||Love, Actually: The science behind lust, attraction, and companionship. Harvard University.|
|↑7||How Sex Affects Intelligence, and Vice Versa. The Atlantic.|
|↑8||The Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life. Oregon Health & Science University.|
|↑9||Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer. University of Michigan.|
|↑10||How often should you have sex with your partner?. USA Today.|
|↑11||Spice up your sex life with these 6 steps. Harvard University.|