Frequent sex in marriage IS important, but only if you both understand this first ...
Can the amount of sex you have each week "save" your relationship and transform it from so-so to sensational?
Conventional wisdom says sex twice a week is the magic number.
I'm not so sure. Though research does suggest that happy couples have sex two or three times a week, I believe that putting an unhappy couple (especially one with different libidos) on a set sexual schedule is potentially a recipe for disaster.
When I work with clients who are unhappy in their relationships, sex in marriage is always one of the topics that always comes up. Either he wants it too often, or she complains he isn't interested enough (it's not just men who want more sex!).
Differing libidos causes stress in a relationship, but that stress isn't relieved by pressuring the couple into having sex twice a week. In fact, bowing to an outside arbitrary number just adds more strain and disconnect.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong believer in frequent sex! But who's to say that you can't have gourmet sex once a month and feel happy?
When I work with a client who's not satisfied with their sex life, we usually dig into the "why" behind the issue before digging into the frequency of intercourse.
First and foremost, let's be honest here. When we have sex, we are satisfying primal needs of human connection.
Now, I know that gender differences aren't always exact, but let me share some general observations based on my own personal experience, my research and the work I do with my clients. I also know that when an emotional topic, like sex, is on the table, it helps to step back and apply some logic to the situation.
Here's the truth — Men "need" sex to feel.
In society, men are regularly told that "boys don't cry," "real men are strong," and "real men control their emotions." Historically, men shoulder the task of going out into the wild to provide food and shelter for their families. Men go into battle to defend the kingdom. "The Job" for men is to protect and provide, and to do this effectively, they need to shut down emotions and feelings.
When a man has sex, he is able to feel something positive again. He is able to open his heart and feel emotions and he's able to connect to his own humanity, so to speak.
What men are often unable to say is that cuddling next to you — both before and after sex — allows them a moment's freedoms from being the strong man society expects. He recharges his strength and comfort from the feel of your body against him. He finally lets down inhibitions. He can surrender.
Though during the act of intercourse, a man is hard and strong, entering a women allows him to experience not only her warmth and softness, but his own. Sex allows a man to feel loved, accepted, supported, and masculine.
Women "need" safety and connection to open up sexually.
Though women more easily access feelings and emotions (by talking, writing and reading), even strong women feel more secure in a relationship when she is able to safely express her vulnerability. Women usually want to communicate and connect on an emotional level before they're "ready" to connect on a physical level. Doing so allows them to test the soundness of their safety with you in that moment.
As a result, it's not unusual for a woman to"withhold" sex from her partner if she isn't feeling emotionally connected.
And don't think I don't get it! When a couple has sex, the woman is physically open and allowing entrance into her body (her temple). A man hungers for sex, because he wants to reconnect and share love. Women hunger for sex, too … but often they want the emotional fulfillment and communication before they willingly surrender to the physical aspects of sex. So, falling into a cycle of no sex can happen easily.
I will never tell you that you should have sex when you don't want to — I would, however, ask you to ponder if you use sex as a part of control in your relationship.
Surprised? There is a lot of power in sex, and being the person that says "yes" or "no" wields tremendous power in your relationship.
But, are you using that power for the good of everyone involved — including your own physical and mental health (and your partner's)? Or are you using sex to keep him in line? Are you using sex to punish or reward her for meeting your expectations? (Often, expectations you've never even discussed).
I'll tell you from personal experience that withholding sex on either partners part as a way to "punish" the other partner ultimately leads to the demise of your relationship. Withholding sex breaks the bond of trust and intimacy between people ... and without trust, your relationship is without a foundation.
So, what's the solution when a couple is struggling with opposite sex drives?
Throw out the idea that having sex twice a week will magically "fix" your relationship. Instead, what if you experimented for the next 30 days with sex?
What if you open yourself to the real possibility of sex any time your partner makes advances of any sort? What if you initiate sex on occasion?
What if you open yourself up to being genuinely kinder to your partner? What if, instead of trying to maintain control, you allow yourself to lose control and receive love and pleasure from your partner?
If the 'frequency of sex' issues is already a stressor in your relationship, I know that my 3-day suggestion likely makes you feel all kinds of vulnerable. But within vulnerability, we can reach our greatest potential for true intimacy, authentic connection, and deeper happiness.
Debra Smouse believes that within every woman is an Inner Sex Kitten just dying to go from "meow" to "roar". To connect with Debra, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, where she shares snippets of creating a life she loves.