Falling and love and staying in love are two very different things. The first can happen in an instant — in the doorway of a Upper East Side Brownstone on a rainy summer night, or at the quarter jukebox at a small-town diner. Wherever it happens, when the feeling hits you, you hope it lasts forever.
But it doesn’t — not in the same way, anyway. As months and years pass, life intervenes and the love you first felt evolves into something bigger and stronger. It’s a powerful evolution, but sadly sometimes the sexual spark feels like it’s on the verge of flickering out. Many long-term couples let that flame go out. They undervalue how important sex is in a relationship and don’t fight to keep the spark alive. Here are 15 reasons why you should:
1. You’ll be less stressed
Did you know that the feel-good hormone oxytocin, spikes right before orgasm? At the same time cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases. That’s why you feel so relaxed after great sex, and it’s a big reason for the importance of sex in marriage — the less stressed you are, the less likely you’ll be to have a petty fight over a Facebook message or stain on your new couch!
2. It reminds you that conflict doesn’t mean the relationship is over
Sometimes the best sex is makeup sex. And getting out some of that frustration in the bedroom doesn’t mean all of your problems are magically solved, but it does remind you that you’ll continue to work on things together.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Laura L. Ryan says, “Most experts say that 80% of relationship conflict will never be resolved, so it's best to work on accepting each other and learning how to respectfully resolve conflict.”
Reconnecting through sex can remind you that you’re a team — both in and out of the bedroom.
3. It builds trust
If you’re wondering how important sex is in a relationship, think about this: nothing says “I trust you” like sharing your naked body with another person. In a way, it’s the ultimate form of “opening up.” Being intimate on a regular basis will help you build a level of trust that can form the basis for a rock-solid relationship. And remember — being intimate can mean a lot of different things. Oral sex, hand jobs, even just passionate kissing and sensual massages are all ways to be intimate and build trust.
4. It stops you from becoming a “caretaker”
In long-term relationships, it’s easy for one partner to slip into the “caretaker” role. Sometimes it’s a necessity to take care of your partner’s physical and mental needs, but if your role of “lover” is completely lost in the process, you’ll both suffer.
Shlomo Slatkin founded The Marriage Restoration Project with his wife Rivka. He had this to say: “The problem is, that in all of the care-taking that comes along with marriage, we sometimes lose the curiosity that we have for each other because our spouse has become more like a caretaker rather than our passionate lover.”
If you continue to make good sex a part of your relationship, you’ll keep that curiosity alive.
5. You’ll sleep sounder
A good night’s rest helps improve every aspect of your health, from your immune system to your mood. Daily stress can make sleeping soundly hard, but great sex can help! Sex helps your body release the hormone prolactin, which is naturally higher when we sleep. Try having more sex before bed and notice how more well-rested you feel in the morning!
6. It keeps you grounded in reality
With society becoming increasingly obsessed with social media and reality shows, it can become easy to look at your own relationship and think it just doesn’t measure up.
Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go says, “We appear to have a more grandiose ideology around relationships these days. Relationships are often something to advertise — vacation pictures, nights out, perfect families etc — it makes relating more of a competition than the hard work of the day to day drudge of a relationship. As such, people may be more prone to "boredom" in a relationship and the blush fades off the rose a bit sooner when relationships are often anticipated to be more sizzle and less steak.”
But if you’re having great sex on a regular basis, the proof is in the pudding. You may still find yourself comparing your relationship to others’, but remembering last night’s marathon session will put things in perspective and remind you that while many couplings may LOOK like they’re full of passion, your relationship actually is.
7. It’s a great way to communicate without talking
Everyone wants to feel close to their partner, but not everyone wants to spend hours candidly talking about their feelings. When you want to express how much you love, desire, admire, and appreciate your partner, being intimate is a great way to show instead of tell.
8. You’ll have fewer headaches
Researchers from the University of Munster in Germany found that, “sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients.”
You can thank the endorphins your brain releases during sex — they can act as natural painkillers. We’ll take good sex over an aspirin any day!
9. Your non-sexual moments will be full of happiness, not anxiety
The longer you go without having sexual contact, the more emotionally loaded the act will become. Mark Stefanishyn, founder of Relationship Minimalism, explains: “If a man only touches his woman when he wants to have sex and she feels like that touch is loaded with expectation then she's going to develop a negative Pavlovian response that eventually associates his touch with bitterness, resentment, and then ultimately anger.” (The same is true for all genders.)
But if intimacy is just a regular part of your life, you can sit back, relax and enjoy all the hugs and massages you want without getting too anxious or excited about where they might lead.
10. You’ll feel younger
Keeping the spark alive isn’t just about having great sex — it’s also about being adventurous and spontaneous.
Psychologist Barbara Winter says, “To get couples back in the game I often suggest that they go back to their hot dating days and reenact that time, wear a piece of clothing they wore on an early date, go to a place they recall having romance; change the venue and remove themselves from their daily living space.”
The result? You won’t just have good sex — you’ll have a great connection and social life that keeps you feeling young and active!
11. It strengthens other parts of your relationship
How important is sex in a relationship? Is it possible to have a strong relationship without sex? Author Dr. Chris Donaghue says, "It is, but without sex a couple misses out on having the deepest level of connection, bonding, and intimacy. Verbal intimacy and time together is valuable and important, but adding sex takes it further and adds another layer of intimacy."
The deeper your connection, the stronger your relationship — and intimacy helps make that connection even deeper.
12. It may reduce your risk of dementia
Some animal studies have shown that sex stimulates cell growth in the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
‘There is some evidence that older people who are sexually active are less likely to have dementia and this could be for a variety of complex reasons. It appears that the more active the neurons, the more oxygen they withdraw from the blood — so more oxygenated blood is supplied to the region, delivering a fresh supply of nutrients,” says Dr. Arun Ghosh, a GP specializing in sexual health at the Spire Liverpool Hospital.
And what does a great job of increasing blood flow to the brain? You guessed it — sex!
13. It’s a great way to get exercise
Want to burn some calories and have fun doing it? Great sex can help! During sex, men burn 100 calories on average, while women expend 69. That’s for an average 25-minute session. Use long-lasting lubes like ASTROGLIDE X Silicone to help stretch your workout and burn even more calories!
14. It can make you look 7 years younger
Yes, you read that right! Scientists credit human growth hormone (which is produced during sex) for the youthful boost. It helps skin retain elasticity, leading to tighter features and fewer wrinkles. This fact definitely supports the importance of sex during marriage. Think about it — not only will you feel more attractive and confident, but you’ll also be more attracted to your partner and vice versa. It’s a win-win all around!
15. It creates a unique bond
Lots of married couples will talk about how their partner is their “best friend.” But aside from a joint checking account, there’s one thing that makes your partner very different from your friend — sex! Great sex and physical intimacy are some of the main things that make your relationship more than just an amazing friendship.
Sex is something you can share with a long-term partner that you wouldn’t share with anyone else (unless you’re polyamorous, a swinger or in an open relationship, of course!) So think of sex as a way of celebrating your unique bond!
Keeping the spark alive in a long-term relationship isn’t easy, but it’s important to remember your efforts shouldn’t be confined to the bedroom. Send flirtatious texts throughout the day. Try out one these date ideas. Cut loose with a few cocktails on the weekend and leave the dishes or the laundry for another day. As you can see, great sex and lasting intimacy are worth the work — so keep that flame flickering!
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