Maintenance sex may not sound like the most titillating thing in the world, but it is crucial to the health of your relationship.
When we say maintenance sex, we mean having sex just to have it, even if you donâ€™t feel like doing it. It means keeping the sex up to ensure both people in the relationship are sexually satisfied.
Sometimes your partner wants to get it on and all you want to do is binge your latest Netflix obsession. Sex sounds time-consuming and annoying. Or maybe when you really want to have sex, your partner always seems to be too tired or stressed. In long-term relationships, itâ€™s important to have sex even if youâ€™re not necessarily randy. Maintenance sex shouldnâ€™t be the only kind of sex youâ€™re having, but it should absolutely be on the menu.
There will always be two different sex drives in a relationship
There will inevitably be times in a relationship when one partner wants to have sex and the other doesnâ€™t. Itâ€™s rare for two people to have matching sex drives. It happens occasionally, but to expect that your partner will always want the exact amount of sex as you do is not particularly practical.
Weâ€™re fed this idea that we should only have sex when weâ€™re â€œin the mood.â€ This is how unfulfilled, sexless marriages happen. One partner isnâ€™t â€œin the moodâ€ and doesnâ€™t think he or she needs to be, and therefore the partner with the higher libido feels ashamed for wanting sex. This leaves one partner feeling hounded for sex all the time and the other pathetic for wanting itâ€”not a healthy relationship.
You wonâ€™t regret having it
Maintenance sex is designed to keep both partners content. When youâ€™re in a long-term relationship or marriage, you wonâ€™t regret putting in the extra effort to have sex. If your partner really wants you and you just go for it, youâ€™ll feel better afterwards.
Obviously, if this is the only way youâ€™re having sex, there is a problem. If you feel fully sexually unsatisfied or are experiencing an unusually prolonged dip in libido, that is a separate issue and you should address it with your therapist or healthcare provider. Sex is like going to the gym: You donâ€™t want to do it before, but once you suck it up and hit the elliptical, you feel amazing afterwards.
You need to show up for your partner and vice versa
In relationships, you need to show up for your partner. This goes back to that â€œshameâ€ thing; we think if one person doesnâ€™t want to have sex, we shouldnâ€™t have sex. Sometimes you need to show up for your partner and be engaged. If you need your partner to make you feel desired, he or she should be willing to do that for you. Sex is a principal part of happy relationships.
It breeds intimacy
Sex breeds intimacy. Orgasms release oxytocin, the feel-good bonding hormone in your body. Sex helps you feel closer to your partner. It is the most intimate physical activity you and your partner can experience. Without it, itâ€™s easy to lose sight of your connection. Relationships and a healthy sex life take constant work. You have to check in with each other and take the temperature of your relationship on a regular basis.
Having sex, feeling your partner on top of you, the scent of his or her skin brings you back into that loving mindset. Donâ€™t skip out on it just because youâ€™re tired from work and would rather watch television. Having maintenance sex will remind both of you what you mean to each other. Always take an opportunity to work sex into your schedule. The more you have it, the happier youâ€™ll be.