Sex And Your Long-Term Relationship. Not Enough Or Too Much?

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A study published this month by Australian researchers finds that both men and women are unhappy by the frequency of sex they’re having (or not having) in long-term relationships.

“The real issue here, I think, is that couples are not finding enough time for sex,’’ said Dr. Smith. “I don’t think you can keep forcing more and more activities in people’s lives and still expect them to take the time it takes to have sex, let alone good-quality sex.”

Read the New York Times article here. And please leave your comments below. Will you change anything about the way you currently talk to your partner about sex?

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Selena

    @#62

    40% of babies are born to unmarried parents in the US. And given the divorce stats?…a staggering number of children born to married parents will  experience   changed circumstances at some point.  So how is a passionless, perhaps loveless marriage a preferred situation to have a baby?

  2. 62
    starthrower68

    @ Gem #59,

    So, unconditional love not being part of eros love, what keeps you in a relationship on those days when you don’t feel passionate about that person and really don’t even like them very much?   What makes you forgive that person if he hurts you?   And how many times has Evan said that part of the reason his wife is his wife is because she loves him unconditionally?   You’d better hope there’s unconditional love in there or you may find yourself alone when someone isn’t really feeling it for you a few years into the relationship.

  3. 63
    starthrower68

    Sorry comment meant for Laine #58.   My bad Gem!

  4. 64
    Gem

    Starthrower,

    “So, unconditional love not being part of eros love, what keeps you in a relationship on those days when you don’t feel passionate about that person and really don’t even like them very much?”

    Commitment does. AND the underlying reasons for why I chose my partner to begin with: love, friendship, passion, respect, acceptance…

    I know one does not  *feel* passion every day, but  if it’s never there to begin with, I don’t see the arrangement Sarah is considering  lasting. Just my opinion. I don’t think she or her man would be wrong for creating such a union, but deep down, I’m sure they both want  passion and to be “in love” with their partner and I fear that it wouldn’t stand the long term.  Once the wedding cake is eaten and the day to day business of marriage is underway, I predict that they’d start focusing on what they are missing.

    It’s a risk that she seems to be eyes-wide-open to because she fears what she really wants will never come. I think once she HAS the settled-for marriage, her human nature of pining for what she really wants will take over. I’m concerned for both of them and the potential children in this scenario. But if they are both 100% on board with settling and have given up the dream of the *right* one, hey, they’re grown adults,  go for it.

    “You’d better hope there’s unconditional love in there or you may find yourself alone when someone isn’t really feeling it for you a few years into the relationship.”

    Again, I’d say commitment is more important than unconditional love. Commitment will see you through when you may not *feel* very loving. It’s a choice and an action to commit to honor, respect and be there for your partner and not bail because you had a bad day.

  5. 65
    Margo

    Another thing that Sarah probably hasn’t considered is that if she marries this man not really loving him, when any kids they have realize she doesn’t love their father-and they will-the likelihood of them turning  on Sarah is high.

  6. 66
    Laine

    63-Probably easier than doing it on your own, especially financially and some no doubt want their children to have both a mother and father.

  7. 67
    Vicki

    You don’t have to choose a passionless, loveless marriage in order to have a family.
    It’s not a question of either/or. A lot of the best marriages start as friendships, and aren’t particularly passionate in the beginning. However, if you’ve been dating him for a while &   just can’t see the guy in a romantic   light at all; if you can’t see *ever* being attracted to him… Well, you *have* kissed him, right? When a woman kisses a man, either the bells go off or they don’t. It’s nature’s way of letting you know whether he is a compatible match genetically, so you can have healthy offspring. If the kiss is like kissing a dead fish, you should rethink marrying him anyway. The odds are it’s not a good match, genetically, and you might even have difficulty conceiving with him.
    I have a male friend who is very romantically interested in me, but I can’t see it at all. And I mean NOT AT ALL. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but this friendship will always remain a friendship. There is no mutual attraction. He’s nice to me, even watered my cats and watched the house when I was out of town last week at a relative’s funeral, but if he asks me out I will have to explain to him that I’m seeing someone already. At this point, he hasn’t really *asked* me out (he mentioned something about taking me out to dinner sometime, but I don’t count that as asking, since it was vague and he didn’t suggest a day or time). As far as I’m concerned, my personal life is none of his business, so unless he specifically asks me out on a date for a specific day and time, I’m not going to tell him about my boyfriend, b/c it’s simply none of his business. I’ll give him the “bad news” when he asks, and not before.
    Attraction is tricky. A lot of people have false attractions, based on early childhood experiences. Others don’t realize that what they have on their “list” are qualities that they aren’t actually attracted to in the real world. What I mean by that is, they will experience chemistry with someone they don’t expect to have chemistry with, because so many books and so much dating advice tells you to find someone who is the same as   you, instead of finding someone who is *complementary* to you. (Evan never makes this mistake of course!!)
    My current bf has a lot of good qualities, but he has a lot of personality “quirks” I might have rejected him for, if I were still trying to find a guy who is “just like me.” His sense of humor is a lot more raunchy than mine, probably b/c of his military background, but the basics are there: we both want a long-term relationship, marriage, and maybe even a child (in his case, he would like to have another, since his 2 are grown, but it doesn’t appear to be a deal-breaker for him if I’m too old at this point – not that I wouldn’t try anyway!).
    In addition to that, because I gave him a chance even though we weren’t the same personality type, the relationship has a LOT more attraction!
    I will just recommend a book to you that I think Amazon has: “Relationship Strategies: The E & P Attraction”, by Dr. John G. Kappas. It’s a really good exploration of how and why “opposites attract” and how to find your perfect opposite –it even gives a few tips for writing personal ads, although nothing about online dating, since the book predates the internet – it has stayed in print all these years b/c E & P is such a simple yet elegant concept that really helps people improve their relationships and start choosing the right kinds of people to date.
    I suspect Sarah has met someone who is the same type that she is (either they are both E’s or they are both P’s). They get along well because they understand each other, and it is possible to have a good friendship with   someone who is the same as you, but the chemistry of attraction won’t happen. You can’t have the chemistry without some oppositeness (is that a word?) in your partner.
    I am an E and I was always so scared of the male P’s that I met, so I dated only other E’s — for over 20 years, until I turned 40 and wondered why the heck am I still single? I read Kappas’ book, and when I met my current bf I realized he met every qualification of a perfectly opposite P. In the past, I would NOT have dated him!! But because I was willing to try, and go out with him a few more times, I’m amazed at how strong the attraction is!

  8. 68
    Margo

    @Gem #66, IMHO commitment is not going to keep a marriage together without unconditional love. People break commitments all the time.   Just check out the current divorce rate.

    So, if a man doesn’t love you, I don’t see him sticking around. If he does stick around, without that unconditional love, I believe he’ll  be much more prone to having one or more affairs during the marriage. Ouch!

  9. 69
    starthrower68

    @ Gem #66,

    I must respectfully ask, where does the commitment come from? When that person isn’t doing what you want them to do or “earning” your love?   It might take years to transition from pure “eros” to a mix of eros, agape, etc. but its part of the equation.   When a spouse treats the other spouse unselfishly and puts the other spouse first, that is unconditional love, unless there are other motives driving that.

  10. 70
    Gem

    Starthrower,

    “I must respectfully ask, where does the commitment come from?”

    It comes from a choice.  

    I never said anything about someone “earning” my love or doing what I want them to do in order for me to love them.

    Margo,

    “IMHO commitment is not going to keep a marriage together without unconditional love. People break commitments all the time.   Just check out the current divorce rate.”

    As I  said, commitment is a choice.  People  stop loving each other every day too resulting in divorce.

    When people go through very dark times when they don’t feel love for their partner, when they don’t even like them, it’s the commitment that keeps them there working through it when they are feeling anything but love.

    Example: I watched a friend’s marriage crumble because her husband had a long term affair and the affair woman had his child. She wasn’t sure she loved her husband anymore. The pain, betrayal, disrespect and devistation took her over. Yet, she made a commitment to him that she wanted to honor. It took years for her to fully re-discover the love she once felt for him. She wasnt’ sure she ever would. It was her commitment that made her stay when she didn’t FEEL unconditional love. In fact, she felt homocidal for quite some time.

    An extreme example but nontheless big problems or small, feelings can be deceiving and tricky. You can choose to stay with someone and work out any number of painful things if you commit to do so when you can’t even find the love.

    I personally identify more with my commitment and  desire for the survival of the relationship during those times to push to the other side.

    But I wouldn’t choose to marry someone that I didn’t love first anyway so it’s not like I’m choosing one over the other. I want both.

  11. 71
    RW

    Great article Evan!    It is getting very tough to “make” the time with a lot of things these days – but finding time to be intimate with our mates is a must (technology is changing our ways of living each and every day).

    As far as changing the way that I talk to my partner about sex … no, I don’t think it is necessary.

  12. 72
    NonExist

    Whoa!
    I’m a guy who has never really been picky about too much except for honesty and direct communication.
    I just dig the feminine essence so much that…just being around a lady whose interests match mine is just wonderful.   Maybe because I do not believe there is a one for me, just some ladies who happen to be awesome supplements to my own enjoyment of living.

    But reading some of the ladies comments makes me rather hesitant to continue dating.

    And knowing I’m not the top percentile guy I’d really feel bad knowing someone just settled for me….just because I was a stable choice and yet she did not find me particularly sexually or physically appealing….. yet some have and have not told their mates.  

    Makes me rethink why my ex wife did what she did.  I kind of felt it but it would have been easier to take if she told me and would have not wasted time for either of us.

    And even girlfriends in the past.

    lolz…nuts

  13. 73
    judy

    I had a relationship with a man who just didn’t want sex.   We loved each other – of that I’m sure.   But he just didn’t want sex.   Or he didn’t want it with me.
    Me being the more passionate type, this caused huge problems and it ended the relationship, amongst other things.
    But yes.   Why not consider the 6.5 factor cos if it’s just about sex, there’ll be problems there too (I have had that one as well – the sex was wonderful UNTIL……… name the “x” factor – we all have one!

  14. 74
    Christina

    I don’t think you’re going to have a solid relationship only on hot sex. That has been my experience. But I feel like I have a problem because my boyfriend will not give me enough sex and physical intimacy touching etc. so therefore I feel like my needs are not met. So I don’t think you can totally discount sex in a relationship. There’s a lot more to a relationship than just that but you still need it. It’s a part of it. At least that is the truth for me. It may be different for others.

  15. 75
    Debbie Halsey

    Wow!

    I’m amazed at the replies on this blog!

    I met a man 2 1/2 years ago that I moved in with on the first date!

    He and I were a perfect from the moment I walked in the door!

    He was seeing two other women for a year and a half.   When I came to his house we made dinner together and talked for 6 hours.   He asked me to spend the night and said “We don’t have to have sex, just stay.”

    I stayed and slept with all my clothes on as he held me in a spoon position all night long.

    The next morning, I kissed him and he didn’t even have bad breath!   I noticed that he had an amazing erection so I felt him and put him in my mouth.

    He was a perfect fit! At that point he said “Game on girl!” Pulled me down on the bed, took my clothes off, threw them across the room and dove in!

    Perfect fit indeed! Amazing sex!

    Amazing man!   He then made breakfast and told me that he’d contacted the two women he’d been seeing and told them that he was now with me.

    He said that “He had to let them go so he could grab onto me with both hands!”

    He then asked me to pack a few bags and come stay a couple days. After that he asked me to stay another week. Then, I asked him if I should move back to my place.   I said that I know men need space and I could give that to him.

    He said he didn’t need any space from me and asked me if I needed space.

    I said no I’m good. He said stay with me permanently.   I did and every moment was the most incredible time of my life.

    We had sex every day 5- 12 times or more. We just couldn’t get enough of each other. We were soulmates completely! Always on the same page!

    I met him June 26th 2013 at 4pm and he died of lung cancer June 26th 2015 at 4pm. exactly two perfect wonderful years together!

    We were married and lived happily ever after in that two years.

    The point is, don’t settle for anything other than love because you are worth the love of your life!

     

     

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