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Between you and me and 10 million other people who read this blog: sex is important.

In a good marriage, sex is the icing, not the cake. But who wants a cake without icing?

You shouldn’t marry for great sex, but you must have good, regular sex to prevent the marriage from lapsing into a business partnership.

I’ve been with my wife for 10 years, and at this point, with two little kids, we have sex once a week. This is down from the “every time we saw each other” set-up from our first 2 years together, but more than many of our friends who also have kids.

Somehow, just by making a conscious effort to prioritize sex every week, we have an arrangement, that, for us, is mutually satisfying. For a relatively vanilla couple with relatively low libidos, we have managed to avoid these 7 sexual pitfalls that can derail even the best marriages.  

You shouldn’t marry for great sex, but you must have good, regular sex to prevent the marriage from lapsing into a business partnership.

Take a look and let me know if any of these are familiar to you.

  1. The couple no longer has sex. Surprisingly, you can be in a sexless marriage and still have sex. Therapists define a sexless relationship as one in which the couple are physically intimate less than 10 times a year.
  2. One partner doesn’t feel sexually desired. Feeling wanted and desired is a huge turn-on, especially for women. When a partner fails to reassure a woman of her desirability, their sex life naturally takes a hit.
  3. There’s a breakdown in intimacy after an affair. Broken trust after an affair can be a hard thing to mend and your sex life will take even longer to restore,
  4. There’s no physical attraction.  “Sometimes, it’s a matter of one spouse letting themselves go,” said Moushumi Ghose. “Obviously, life happens and the daily stressors of work, marriage, and having a family can take its toll, but people who are no longer physically attracted to their partner sometimes take it as a sign that their partner has given up on themselves and their relationship.”
  5. Physical barriers to sex become a scapegoat. There are plenty of physical and health-related reasons couples stop having sex, from premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction, to pain during intercourse for women. These problems should be addressed with a doctor, but there’s usually some emotional work that needs to be done by the couple as well.
  6. Sexual interests and fetishes are laughed off. When your partner opens up about how they want rough sex or to role play, the worst thing you can do is disregard it or laugh it off.
  7. There’s a desire discrepancy. This poses a big problem for most couples because the lower-desire spouse holds all the control of the couple’s sex life, whether they realize it or not. “Sex mismatches are at risk for affairs and divorce if not addressed, since the more sexual partner often can’t imagine living the rest of their lives this way. After all, they committed to a marriage, not a life of abstinence.”

Speaking openly with compassion for your partner is truly the best way to relationship-proof your marriage.

It’s not easy to broach these subjects, but they are corrosive if you bury your feelings out of fear of making waves. Speaking openly with compassion for your partner is truly the best way to relationship-proof your marriage.

Which of these issues has affected your relationships? What could you have done differently to create a different result? Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.