Do You Need Sex in a Relationship?

need sex

Do you need sex in a relationship? I ask this because my opinion has changed quite dramatically over the years, mainly due to my current partner and our personal lives. You see, when I was much younger, before I’d even had sex, I assumed that it was the be all and end all to any relationship. Without that you were friends rather than lovers. Hell, I even thought this into my early 20s, so as you can see, it’s been a tense subject that resonates on a very personal level for me.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that myself, and others, think this way – you only have to search Google with the phrase ‘is sex important in a relationship?’ and several pages of results will load up. Every single one places a huge amount of value on stripping off and getting nasty with your partner, and so we become obsessed when we think we’re not doing it enough.

Of course, as all people are different, I appreciate that to some people no sex can be a deal breaker when it comes to their relationship; the lack of sex could be destroying the connection they feel they have. So I don’t wish to dismiss those individuals who need sex, but what I do want to point out is that I’m not getting it on every night and, surprisingly, I’m not on the verge of leaving my partner. I miss sex, that much is true, and I still get turned on and want sex, but I’ve learnt that it’s better that my partner loves me. It’s better that we have an emotional and deeper connection than just sex. I’ve had a purely sexual relationship before and it was the worst: I felt used and ultimately unwanted on any other level other than a physical one.

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What this article is trying to do is to point out that if, like me, you’re in a relationship that has put sex on the backburner, that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to be ripping clothes off every time you see one another. You also don’t need to be swinging from lampshades or posting naked pics together on Instagram (and ticking off the moderators) to declare your love, and there’s many reasons as to why that is.

Understanding intimacy

When we think of intimacy, we initially think of sexual intercourse and something very physical; rarely do we take it for what it actually is: a form of closeness. That connection doesn’t always have to be one involving naked bodies and writhing around, it can, in fact, be about being as one on an emotional level. Intimacy isn’t just about sex. I can’t stress this truth enough, but stressing it doesn’t pinpoint where this misunderstanding has come from, where our obsession with intimacy equalling sex has been born.

One area I think that is hugely to blame is the version mediums we see depicting intimacy revolving around sex. When a couple are in love, they have epically long and passionate sex. If they need to show their love, they hop into bed and have lots of sex. Even in depictions like 50 Shades of Grey, which are terrible examples that pollutes a sexual preference, all tell us that sex is crucial to happiness and fulfillment.

We’re being told, oh so subtly, even when seeing lots of gagging and spanking, that we should be living anything but the ‘vanilla’ side of life. That’s an absurd notion, even more so when it comes to sex! Not all of us are gagging for it every second of the day, and the fact that we’re made to feel bad if we don’t constantly need sex is unacceptable. Statistically we’re not all going to be nymphomaniacs.

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No pressure relations

One of the biggest issues that comes from these type of interactions is that we pressure our loved ones into sex, without even realising we’re doing it. I’m not talking about forcing someone in a malicious or violent way, though there’s a fine line between the two, which of course makes the matter a grey area. I’m talking about the subtle ways you attempt to get your own way: pouting, moaning about the lack of sex, pointing out others do it more, and so on. What I take away from this is that we need to learn not to see our own needs as the only ones that matter, but respect our loved one’s feelings as well.

Should you be reading this and feeling bad, thinking you’re a terrible person for going crazy over the lack of sex, don’t be. I used to be the type of person who would hound my girlfriend relentlessly, yet I didn’t want her to do it if she didn’t want to. I’d cry myself to sleep when I was told no because I thought only of myself and not of her. I wasn’t being a monster, but neither was she, we were just in two different moods that didn’t interconnect, and that’s okay. We don’t have to constantly be on the same wavelength. Funnily enough, what’s most ironic is that I put the brakes on constant sex early on in my current relationship, but I digress.

Due to my behaviour, it got to a point where my partner felt like absolute rubbish, thinking she was denying me happiness, and yet it was me doing that to myself because of an obsession I didn’t understand. It’s taken me a long time to understand these truths, and there’s been many arguments about sex along the way. Thankfully now I appreciate that, while compromise is needed in relationships, sex isn’t really a factor you can compromise on. If someone needs sex and the other doesn’t, there’s no easy way to please both of you, and so you need to consider what really matters in the grand scheme of things.

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Nowadays I take a step back from sex and choose to instead cuddle up to my partner, and by taking more time to tell her that I love her. We do what most couples do, and if and when we want sex we will do, but only when it works for both of us. And if we don’t have sex for months on end, so be it, it doesn’t mean that we don’t love one another, and it certainly doesn’t make us “just friends”. Not that being friends with your partner should even be seen as a bad thing. Come on, guys, who wants to be with a person they’re not that keen on or emotionally close to?

Emma is a published author and a freelance writer, with a passion for speaking her mind. Most of her time is spent with her partner and their young labradoodle, Finn. Human behaviour, and their complex interactions, is something that interests Emma greatly, and something she hopes to explore further via her blog Literate Elf.


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