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How important is sex in a marriage?


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#1 of 90 Jeffrey Noel

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Posted May 03 2003 - 08:08 PM

I've been thinking about this for quite some time. I'm engaged to my soulmate but we have conflicting views on the importance of sex in a relationship/marriage. I've heard this same situation with many of my male friends. I've even had this discussion with my mother (I can talk to her about anything) and she tells me that that's just the way it is. Men, in general, have a higher sex drive than do women.

So is this a reason/excuse for so many divorces/break-ups? I'm serious. I've personally heard about many couples separate because the differences of their sex drives.

And yes, I know you can make a relationship work without sex, but I don't know if I could ever do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a sexaholic, fiance won't allow it! Posted Image (Right now she's definitely the responsible one!) That's just the way I feel. I do think it plays a large role in a successful intimate relationship and it always will.

Am I way off base here?
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#2 of 90 Kevin T

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Posted May 03 2003 - 10:45 PM

Quote:
So is this a reason/excuse for so many divorces/break-ups?


from what i remember from one of my sociology courses, the primary reason for divorce in america is financial hardships. don't know if i can answer the rest of your question as i'm not married so i can't comment on the relative amount of sex one would "require" to stay happy. sex drives vary from human to human and it's suggested that women have a higher sex drive when they're in their mid to late 30's while men's sex drive is much larger earlier on. maybe if it's not too personal, you could give more information like frequency of sexual encounters, ages, and how long you've been with your fiance. when i was with my ex-girlfriend, we had sex quite often in the beginning of the relationship and it eventually tapered off. however, if you're seriously uncomfortable with the situation, you should discuss it with your fiance and let her know how concerned you are. if she cares for you as you say, then she should at least listen and perhaps she could give you more insight into what turns her on or gets her in the mood. if she just blows you off (no pun intended) and refuses to listen, perhaps you should reconsider the "soulmate" moniker. just a few random thoughts.

kevin t
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#3 of 90 Don Black

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Posted May 03 2003 - 10:46 PM

Not if that's how you feel. I think the best thing would be to talk to your SO and see what it would take for her to enjoy sex more frequently. If things are rough this early on, the problem will only get worse with time. Moreover, the temptation to stray will increase (which is fine if your SO is okay with it).

#4 of 90 Rob Gillespie

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Posted May 04 2003 - 12:24 AM

Jeff, it sounds like you're not happy with this situation now.

It isn't going to improve when you get married.

I don't mean to sound hard, but I think you need to seriously consider the long-term.
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#5 of 90 Eric_L

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Posted May 04 2003 - 01:25 AM

If your SO thinks sex IN a relationship is not signiigant, see how she feels when you suggest you get sex from OUT of the relationship!

#6 of 90 dave_brogli

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Posted May 04 2003 - 02:16 AM

To me sex is everything in a realtionship (well almost, that and foot rubbing....lol)

Im 24 so is my wife. We have been together for 8 years and married for 6!! We have sex on average of 4-6 times a week. THeyres nothing then feeling close from sex. Theres just no better feeling, and actually just not having sex but making LOVE Posted Image

FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS!! OH man my wife and I are perfect, but when money problems come up. Theres nothing worse.


Did i help probally not. Sorry Posted Image

#7 of 90 Michael Boyd

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Posted May 04 2003 - 02:44 AM

I have to second what Rob said. I just broke up with a my fiancee 6 weeks ago and sex was a BIG problem. We basically had sex 5 times between December and February. It was very frustrating.

Of course there were other factors which don't even sound relevant in your situation since you say she is your soulmate. Soulmates have to like the same things for the most part right? My ex didn't like widescreen, foreign films (she doesn't want to read a movie or books for that matter), my political opinions (she barely had any), jazz(she likes Eminem), my Passat (wanted me to get a Trans Am) . . . the list could go on and on how opposite we are.

Solve any problems now BEFORE marriage. Wouldn't it be awful to divorce your soulmate?
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#8 of 90 Malcolm R

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Posted May 04 2003 - 04:00 AM

My ex didn't like widescreen, foreign films (she doesn't want to read a movie or books for that matter), my political opinions (she barely had any), jazz(she likes Eminem), my Passat (wanted me to get a Trans Am) . . . the list could go on and on how opposite we are.

How did you even have a second date, let alone become engaged?

On the sex question, it would also depend on your religious beliefs. Don't most teach that sex is only for reproductive purposes? So unless you're trying to get pregnant, sex is a no-no.
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#9 of 90 Todd Hochard

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Posted May 04 2003 - 04:01 AM

I think it's important to both, regardless of what people really say. Of the eight or so couples (all late twenties-early thirties) that we know that are having problems, basically all of them have confided in my wife (why does everyone tell us these things??) that the "bedroom action" is non-existant. We've also noted that within this group, several are also having money problems. It could be that the void not filled in the bedroom, is attempting to be filled through shopping. Which came first (without having them tell me) is ultimately a "chicken and egg" type argument.

The point is- particularly from a man's viewpoint- sex, with regard to maintaining an intimate relationship, is ALWAYS important. Just my opinion.

Todd
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#10 of 90 John_Bonner

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Posted May 04 2003 - 05:14 AM

Quote:
Jeff, it sounds like you're not happy with this situation now. It isn't going to improve when you get married.


Rob is right. Marriage won't "fix" any problems you are having beforehand. If anything it will amplify them since you are living together and getting settled into a routine.

Then comes the house and all of the pressures and time that goes along with it's upkeep.

Then comes the kids. And if you think you two don't have enough "quality time" now, just wait... When the kids come along your focus in life really shifts. Ask one of your male friends who has children how often he and his wife have sex. Then you'll see what I mean.

I hate to sound negative because marriage is a great thing! You just have to be prepared that things will change. What's important to you now may have to take a backseat to other things in the future. Better to resolve your differences before you walk down the aisle.
JB

#11 of 90 Michael Boyd

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Posted May 04 2003 - 05:29 AM

To answer your question Malcom (not trying to hijack the thread), I was okay with all the opposite tastes for awhile. When she became cold towards me they were suddenly amplified. Ive dated plenty of girls who enjoy the exact same things as I do. Those didn't work out so why not try the opposite, right?

Jeffery, I noticed your dorm room theater. Is sex actually convenient? I never had sex in my dorm the year I lived in one.

I never suggested counseling in my situation, but it might be worth looking into for you. I know thats the ubiquitous soultion for all problems of this nature. By the end, I didnt truly believe my girl was my soulmate. If you believe yours is, then it's probably worth trying out.
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#12 of 90 AjayM

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Posted May 04 2003 - 05:34 AM

Marriage does not equal an end to a healthy sexual relationship. Or at least it shouldn't. Like just about everybody else has mentioned, if you are having problems now they aren't going to magically fix themselves in the future. And despite the fact that sex in the physical sense is fairly simple, it's VERY important to have a healthy intimate side to a relationship, basically to be on the same page when it comes to intamacy. Otherwise what will probably end up happening is that you'll end up frustrated (not in the teenager-back seat of the car type way), which will end up leading to some resentment down the line, and it will amplify other problems in the relationship.

Andrew

#13 of 90 RobertR

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Posted May 04 2003 - 05:38 AM

Quote:
sex, with regard to maintaining an intimate relationship, is ALWAYS important.


It's not always more important to the male than the female. I know personally of an instance where the exact opposite is very much the case.

#14 of 90 Stacie

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Posted May 04 2003 - 06:57 AM

Jeffrey, it's not clear from your post if you and your fiance have even had sex yet (you mentioned that she's "the responsible one" -- does that mean she wants to wait?) Not that that's necessarily a problem, just that if that's the case, you won't know if there's a deal-breaking sexual incompatibility until after you're married. It's a pretty tough position to be in.

From my perspective, I think you should make sure of a few things before getting married. First, can you both talk about your sexual needs openly with the other person? Just like almost everything else in a committed relationship, sex is an area that demands excellent communication between partners, especially if your sex drives don't always mesh, or if the same activities don't do the trick for both people. Second, if you do find incompatibilities in terms of either desired frequency or preferred activities, can you reach some sort of compromise where both people are satisfied and neither one feels used or negatively imposed upon? That's a pretty fine line to walk, but it can be done (in most cases). Third, are you both prepared for the probability that your desires will change over time and will be impacted by other things going on in your lives? What that means is that the communication and negotiation need to be an ongoing process -- it's not a one-time deal.

In my experience, two people who love each other deeply and who want to make it work can find a workable compromise, but only if there's absolute honesty and completely open communication -- and that's pretty hard for some people when the subject is sex. I think you're already on the right track, since this issue has come up at all -- I've known plenty of couples who didn't think about this at all before getting married, only to see it turn into a major problem area as the years passed.

Good luck.

#15 of 90 Jeffrey Noel

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Posted May 04 2003 - 07:27 AM

I was actually just meaning to ask how important sex is to you all personally. But while were talking about me Posted Image, my fiance and I have had sex before. We were each other's first and will be each others last, hopefully! Of course, I found out sex is like Pringles, "Once you pop you can't stop!" Typical male! But she seems to be a more level headed person. The main reasons she says why we rarely have sex is because she doesn't even want to think of the possibilities of being pregnant(don't blame her) and she needs to get her career/college finished. It's mainly due to risk of pregnancy. I understand exactly what she's saying, but it's much more difficult for me to control myself.

I guess I'm just worried if this will change when we're all settled down and both out of college. I've told her that her "resistance" kind of hurts my feelings but then she gets upset because she is upsetting me.

Don't get me wrong. I love this girl with all of my heart, and will definitely be with her forever. I guess I'm just trying to pry into all of your private lives to see what you guys/girls think.

Stacie, we do have a very open relationship and have talked about this before. This is one reason I love her so much. I'm sure that once the stress of Occupational Therapy school subsides, everything will be much better.

Damn, she'd kill me if she knew I was talking about this. Posted Image
God bless!
jeffrey noel

As we slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.

#16 of 90 Stacie

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Posted May 04 2003 - 07:58 AM

Jeffrey, sorry if I pried too much. I'm right there with your fiance on the whole pregnancy thing, but are you sure that's the only reason she doesn't want to have sex? Does she enjoy it when you do? Don't feel obligated to answer -- I just think that you should make sure she doesn't have any other issues about having sex (either in general, or with you specifically). If she does, that could pose a huge problem down the road.

And since you asked...

Sex is VERY important to me personally. However, my sex drive is definitely up and down depending on a lot of things, many of them outside factors (job and school-related stress, exhaustion, etc.) So my focus tends to be on quality rather than quantity. I'm not always up for it, but I want to be really good for both of us when we do have sex.

My husband and I (married for three years, living together for six years) have definitely seen the frequency taper off over the years (typically 1-2 times a week as opposed 4+ times a week), but this is okay for both of us since both of us are really busy and stressed out right now (I have full-time work and full-time grad school, he has two jobs). I'm almost done with grad school, so I'm hoping that will make a difference.

Can I imagine my marriage continuing happily without sex? Hmmm. Well, I love my husband so deeply and on so many levels that have nothing to do with sex that if for some (presumably physical) reason we couldn't have sex anymore, I would try to work with that. But if it were a question of one of us preferring to have our sexual needs met elsewhere, I think that would be an indication of a bigger problem. I guess the answer is, unsurprisingly, "it depends."

How's that for clarity? Posted Image

#17 of 90 AjayM

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Posted May 04 2003 - 08:13 AM

The pregnancy thing is obviously a huge concern but it sounds like a bit of an excuse as well. Do either of your religious beliefs frown upon the use of birth control? Between condoms and the pill your risk of an unwanted pregnancy basically become nill.

Quote:
I've told her that her "resistance" kind of hurts my feelings but then she gets upset because she is upsetting me.

This is a HUGE redflag as well. If you can't tell her your feelings without her getting upset then there are other problems there as well. Because sooner or later that will lead to you not communicating with her. And things go downhill real quick from there.

Granted we don't know how often you're doing the deed, you may be wanting it three times a day...in which case your probably asking for to much. But there's a million studies on the net about how often couples will have sex, for your age group (young 20's?) I think the average should be around 3-4 times a week...of course a million things will change that, but it is still an average.

As to prying in others lives? My last "long term" relationship it was maybe once a month....now you know why I'm single (among a bunch of other reasons including the communication problems). And the first woman I had a relationship with as an adult (we were together when I was 18-21) we averaged almost every day (gotta love being a teenager).

Andrew

#18 of 90 Rob Gillespie

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Posted May 04 2003 - 08:30 AM

Jeff - you might want to go over to www.ivillage.com

It's primarily a women's site but there's plenty of blokes there to. They have stacks of discussion boards for all kinds of relationship issues.
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#19 of 90 Vince Maskeeper

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Posted May 04 2003 - 09:26 AM

I've thought a lot about this question- and came upon something interesting. The idea of Monogamy in our culture seems to apply only to sex and physical contact. In a relationship, you are not frowned upon for getting emotional stimulation outside the relationship (Fron friends, relatives, etc) and are not shunned for seeking spiritual fulfillment outside the bond (like from Church, Literature, etc)... yet physical fulfillment is only sourced from inside the relationship.

I'm not saying that you don't get Emotional or Spiritual fulfillment from within your relationship, but I would say that any other need, other than physical needs, can also be fulfilled outside that relationship without "violating" it, so it seems that physical compatibility is the absolute ultimate in importance. Since you can get everything else from other people in your life, you had better make sure your phycial fulfillment is coming from that person, or else you're not getting it without violating that relationship.

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#20 of 90 MarcVH

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Posted May 04 2003 - 09:30 AM

Agree with the sentiments that, unless there's some religious objection to effective contraception, fear of pregnancy is not a very compelling reason for functional adults to have little or no sex. It sounds like an excuse, and if your partner feels the need to make excuses instead of being honest then clearly there's something wrong with the relationship itself.

On the other hand, if the woman asks the guy to wear a condom (either as primary birth control, or secondary to the pill or some other method) and he refuses, then that's another story entirely.

I don't think there are any blanket rules that apply to anyone, so what's important isn't that you have compatible sex drives (even if you do now, over time you'll both change) but that you have a relationship that allows you to be happier together than you would apart. The only other suggestion would be, if you are in your 20s, to date older women.


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