No matter how we personally define our relationship with sex within the context of our lives and relationships (and I’m absolutely not here to tell you what that should be), its multifaceted nature means that it serves a purpose regardless of what form it takes, or the needs it fulfills.
In any case, I’m aware that I’m preaching to the choir here, so allow me to skip the preamble.
Sex Helps Resolve Conflicts
While sexual conflict tends to dominate the public eye, sex’s ability to tame relationship conflict is often overlooked.
Sex is a fantastic tool with regards to evaporating tension and resentment without actively addressing those issues (thus making the process far more comfortable).
Just to be clear though, sex alone is not an all-in-one path towards conflict avoidance, nor should it be, however I do feel it is a great way to iron out day-to-day stress and thus limit the more redundant forms of conflict. The kind of conflict that doesn’t stem from the relationship itself, but from the ins and outs of life.
Additionally, sex is a great way to stay in sync, both physically and metaphysically (spiritually, if you like) and avoid the resentment and insecurity that can build from the emotional disconnect and distance that naturally arises without proper relationship housekeeping. In a sense then, sex is more of a conflict prevention tool than one geared at actively addressing grievances in the present. Nevertheless I feel the point should stand.
Sex Helps Build Trust
Intimacy makes vulnerability okay. It is one of the very few scenarios where the majority of us feel comfortable opening the gates and lowering our defensive masks.
The obvious side-effect of this vulnerability is that we are grateful for this exercise in trust, not only to our partner in crime, but also as a channel for our own therapeutic ends.
Handing our partner what amounts to the fragile, pulsating core of our being, and not having it crushed mercilessly is one of the most empowering moments in our lives. It greatly catalyzes feelings of self-worth and the subsequent erection of trust is immeasurable. Leading to stronger relationships and more transparent communication. To not allow the transparency of intimacy (and by intimacy, I don’t just mean sex) to infect our lives is to risk remaining at a distance.
Sex Helps Manage Stress
The relationship between stress and sex is a bit of a snake biting its own tail. On the one hand stress can negatively influence sex — or prevent it happening at all. On the other, sex is a proven way to reduce stress (and, as it turns out, other stress related side effects such as heart disease). So where does that leave us?
Firstly, I would advocate removing all expectation regarding sex. Poor performance, lack of libido and other aspects of sex that stress can impact should not be viewed as signs of a larger relationship problem, but as entirely natural reaction to circumstances outside the control of both partners. As always, good communication is key, or there is a risk that if we internalize our doubts our partner might erroneously suspect we are no longer attached to them.
Secondly, sex does not preclude intimacy, it is merely one of many forms it can take (and thus we have an endless array of options from which to choose from).
Sex Is Good For Your Health
That fact that sex has positive physical effects is beyond doubt, as a multitude of scientific studies gleefully attest. To sum it up concisely, rather than rave on incessantly:
- Sex has a positive effect on stress, and therefore on the cascade of symptoms that arise from it.
- Sex bolsters the immune system by producing more immunoglobulin A (IgA) , which in turns serves as an important first line of defense against many common ailments.
- Sex increases levels of estrogen. Women may realize that the much heralded “sexual glow” is not a myth, but a direct result of the increased levels of estrogen, improving skin tone and turning back the clock.
Of course, the benefits do not end here, but rather than draw out an already lengthy post, I’ll point to one dedicated to the subject that does an unquestionably better job at giving you a detailed run-down.
Sex Is Fun
In of itself, sex tends to be a worthwhile endeavor because of how pleasurable it can be (granted, not always), outside of any kind of bonding-based logic. The act itself, mechanically speaking, is inherently rewarding. Even many of those who are anorgasmic profess to enjoy the resulting closeness and contact. It may sound crass to describe sex so lifelessly, but it really isn’t, from the right vantage-point sex is an exercise in fun to be indulged in like many others.
Sex Is A Great Communicator
Ever met someone, or heard about a couple where verbal communication appeared to be severely compromised but nevertheless functioned very well sexually? I bet you have!
Verbal communication accounts for the minority of communicative transactions. To borrow a common saying, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then sex is quite literally an encyclopedia of cues and interactions.
While not having a great verbal connection is obviously a very large, and looming relationship issue, sexual compatibility can greatly bridge the divide over time. Sex is communication, in a very real sense, and if we allow to be. Especially over time, it can be used as a therapeutic tool to resolve glaring communication issues.
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