Want a happy relationship? Having more sex could be the answer
For most people, it was a mutual sexual attraction that got them together in the first place and ironically it’s often the first thing that drops away and disappears in a long term relationship.
Many couples stop having sex
I see couples in my therapy practice who are in conflict and who feel disconnected from each other. An aspect these couples always have in common with other couples who think their relationship is in trouble is that they commonly haven’t had sex with each other for many, many months – sometimes years. This lack of sexual intimacy is prevalent with couples even though they declare their love for each other and tell me they desperately want their relationship to work.
It’s easy for sex to fall off the radar in long term relationships. When Valentine’s Day fell mid-week this year 60% of people in *couples surveyed (see the LadBible link below) said they didn’t have sex because they were too tired or worried about work the next day. It’s easy not to have time and energy for sex unless its prioritised and time and effort is invested in making it happen.
Sexually active couples are happier
People in sexually active relationships cut each other more slack and are more supportive of each other both verbally and in their behaviour with each other. Couples not having sex are often silently resentful or passively aggressively not wanting to be intimate because they are holding on to disappointment, anger or regrets.
When I see someone for therapy whose relationship is failing, I ask them if they are looking for an exit strategy or a way to reconnect with their partner?
If they are committed to reconnection, my therapy approach involves bearing witness to how they currently feel about themselves and their partner.
Some people who feel aggrieved by their partner’s past poor behaviour take up residence on the moral high ground which acts to keep their partner permanently in the dog-house. Working to help resolve and release old resentments they are holding onto and erasing old pain from relationship betrayals is crucial to finding a way forward for them as a couple.
One hundred nights of sex
After several weeks of being in therapy and depending on how much clearing work has been successfully achieved I often then recommend homework of one hundred days of sex – no excuses.
Although ostensibly the focus is on a sexual activity the side effects are increased intimacy and often a welcome return of humour in their relationship.
Being instructed to have sex together in the way, I frame it ensure couples unite and joke with each other about being made to have sex. I’ve seen this approach work its magic with fractured and troubled couples tens and tens of time.
Having sex on the agenda for 99.9% of couples is key to a happy and contented relationship.
In a long term relationship, all kinds of time pressures and practical considerations mean the sex couples have can’t always be an indulgent, sensual session that lasts hour upon hour of mutual pleasuring. There is a place in a balanced relationship for times when perfunctory or maintenance sex is all there is time or energy for.
Maintenance sex is essential for maintaining a happy relationship
Maintenance sex verses special event or date night sex is part of a balanced relationship. If either partner doesn’t want to have sex for any reason their ability to refuse must be respected 100% If you begin with a partner who is not so mutually keen be willing to stop immediately with no bad grace if they don’t come around to the idea of sex. Being bad-tempered about being turned down for sex is decidedly unsexy and will be remembered and held against you so be generous, always be kind and go sort yourself out in the bathroom if you need to.
Maintenance sex can tend to be more perfunctory and less elaborate than the bells and whistles sex people often wish they were having, but that’s okay if as part of a more significant picture time will be made to include opportunities for greater and more exotic intimacy together.
Does this resonate with you?
If you are looking to reconnect with your partner and realise you are holding on to old pain it could be time for you to reach out and book an obligation free discovery call with me to explore how you can move forward together. There’s a link on this page.
Some of the comments I made in this post were originally written in my response to a request from journalist Laura Hensley for her feature in Global News “Why some people have sex even when they don’t want to?”
*I was recently quoted about sex and Valentine’s night in LadBible which goes to show even date night sex or key event sex can disappear in relationships too ‘Think you’re missing out on Valentines night?’
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com