Is the mercy sex you're having helpful or harmful?
Are you having a lot of what sex therapists call "mercy sex"? Is having mercy sex your "go-to" solution for desire and sexual recipe differences?
Many couples and sex therapists actually advise this — bad idea.
Routine mercy sex actually brings you further apart, NOT closer together.
What is mercy sex? Well, if you go on the internet, you'll see a lot of different definitions. But what I'm talking about here is mercy sex in the context of an ongoing relationship.
In this case, mercy sex is the sex that a woman offers to her partner to meet his (or her) sexual/emotional needs when that woman is not in the mood to have sexual pleasure for herself. And here, it certainly has its place.
It is a way to show love, to show closeness, to soothe, to make the other person feel special and to show your generosity.
Those are all good things. You can happily and lovingly give mercy sex and have it strengthen your relationship. It's an act of kindness. In fact, I think it would be unusual if a good relationship didn't have any mercy sex.
My "Healthy Mercy Sex" recipe includes:
- You only do it occasionally.
- You feel physically embodied, mindful, in the moment, spiritually connected and close when you're doing it.
- You feel closer to your partner, more embodied and emotionally satisfied after you do it than you did beforehand.
BUT watch out for these "Misguided Mercy Sex" red flags:
Your attitude toward the sex you're having or are about to have is let's get this over with or let's check off the 'sex' box. The actual sex has certain characteristics — disengaged, no foreplay, lack of arousal and interest, painful or routine.
If you raised many of these "Misguided Mercy Sex" red flags, then you're slowly damaging your relationship. Here are three reasons why:
1. Your View Towards Sex Turned Sour
You're having such unsatisfying sex that you begin to tell yourself you hate sex. You detest how grumpy or sullen or unfriendly your partner has become. So you cave.
By not being assertive, even if it means a kerfuffle, sex has turned into a drag — just another job. This begins a terrible cycle. You have done your mercy sex trick so many times that you forgot what yummy sex can feel like with your partner.
The more you begin to believe you always hate sex, the more you speed the process of the mercy sex up. Sex gets shorter and shorter, more and more genitally focused, more and more empty. If your whole relationship is worth keeping, it's worth fighting over this, even if you need to get some professional help from a sex therapist.
2. You're Not Fooling Anybody
Your partner is not fooled and will begin to feel unloved and inadequate despite the fact that you're technically doing the deed. Partners often get their sexual self-esteem from giving you pleasure. You tell yourself that this is fine for them, but it's not.
3. It'll Only Get Worse
Your resentment toward doing it is only going to grow stronger. You may even begin to develop a general aversion to your partner's touch — a situation that takes a lot of work to reverse. Check here to see if your BodyMap has been negatively affected.
If you routinely are having destructive mercy sex, the time to address it is NOW. Even if some other professional told you that this was the way to go in your situation, you could still cause some serious damage to your long term relationship.
Look at the results of the checklists, be honest with yourself and get help if you show many of the danger signs listed here.
You can read more on my SexSmart blog.