Would you have answered this differently 10 or 20 years ago? Read More
My answer is, VERY important.
To me, sex is the thing that distinguishes a couple romantic relationship from all others. You have sexual commitment and sexual play/connection in the couple that you wouldn't have -- well, I wouldn't have -- outside it.
As a practical matter, good, frequent, engaging, and varied sex is more important to me than having lots of money or a vacation house at Big Sur.
As a practical matter, my partner and I are together for two decades, now. I would imagine that we have sex twenty times a month; more on vacation weeks. We truly find each other hugely attractive. We touch and kiss a lot. It's pretty wonderful. And I have found with my friend that when sex is a main kind of glue in their relationships as well, they're happier.
I'm in my mid-30's and if anything, I'd say it's more important now than it was before. Not that I didn't want it at least as much when I was younger. I think it's more important to me now, being married, because I'm stuck depending on my spouse for it and she's lost interest.
I think the commitment, makes sex hugely important. And if the sex is lacking, it becomes even more important... it can be such a source of resentment. All the other trials of marriage are so much more easily handled with a good lover. All the minor issues become fights when you feel like you've signed up for sexual fidelity and aren't being given sexual satisfaction.
You feel like the quip I quoted that air or sex isn't important unless you're not getting enough, and I know it's less than funny. I have written here on the misery of a marriage where one partner is resentful about feeling deprived and the other feels rseentful about being hounded for sex. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-sociability/201102/sexual-desire....) I strongly suggest relationship counseling to see if a happier arrangement can be found.
Sex declined steadily after my wife (then girlfriend) moved in, and then cratered after the birth of our son two years ago. We now have sex (or try) three or four times a year. I've pretty much given up, because there's no time or energy left for it, and I can't even remember what the point was in the first place.
How we treat one another day to day is more important. How we care for our child is more important. Sex is a selfish indulgence by comparison. There are better things to do.
Male, my answer, very important, always has been. Once a day on average.
I feel like emotional intimacy is but sex isn't really. I don't really feel you have to be intimate emotionally intimate in order to have sex with someone. But you have to be emotionally intimate to have a good, solid, loving relationship.
Some people are able to split the two to some degree in order to preserve their marriages. If their spouse is no longer interested or able to have sex, they maintain an emotionally intimate relationship with their spouse while have a friend with benefits for sex. So they get both, just not with the same person.
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Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."
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