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I'm A Sex Therapist – And Sex For The Sake Of It Is A GOOD Thing

We’ve all been there. You look at the calendar, do a quick calculation and realise shit, has it already been a week (or two) since you’ve had sex? No it can’t be…

You start to feel the pressure to have sex. Isn’t it bad if you go “too long” without getting busy? Surely, it’s better to just knock one out before the weeks turn into months and then my marriage implodes? I think that’s what someone said I should do on TikTok?

You check the clock and think, I’ve got 10 minutes…But then you wonder, as you side-eye your partner, am I only having sex with them because I think I’m supposed to or because I actually WANT to have sex now? Does it even really matter? 

So here’s the thing. It does matter.

Maybe not in the short-term but definitely in the long-term. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with maintenance sex or having sex with a long-term partner just for the sake of knocking one out, not because you actually desire it. 

Professionals will disagree on this. Some will say you should only ever have sex when you’re in the mood and not just do it because you feel some type of pressure.

The problem with that outlook is that a lot of women who are disconnected from their sexuality are never in the mood. And the amount of perceived work it takes for them to get into the mood isn’t viewed as worth the potential benefits their current sexual relationship is offering them. So in those instances, sex would almost never occur, which is incredibly problematic for most long-term romantic relationships. 

The other school of thought here, where I find myself, is based on the view that sex isn’t always going to be spontaneous or passionate or result in toe-curling orgasms.

That doesn’t make the “less exciting sex” any less valid. Sometimes, sex is just a time when two people’s bodies come together because they need to feel connection. And sometimes, the only way to accomplish this is through maintenance sex.

The fun thing about maintenance sex encounters is that they hold the possibility of being passionate, pleasure-filled sessions. You just never know what can happen when you give yourself permission to engage sexually with your partner. But you don’t know until you actually are willing to put yourself in those sexual situations. 

This is why I believe maintenance sex is an acceptable short-term solution.

Now, if you’re only ever having maintenance sex, then a larger discussion needs to take place. Because if sex is an important part of the relationship for at least one of the partners, then there needs to be an examination of why it’s not a priority to both or why there’s a disconnect between saying it’s a priority but not actually making the time for it.

Of course, you will go through seasons where sex drops on the list of important things to do. But unless both parties agree that sex isn’t that important (which is absolutely fine, despite what society may tell us), then a conversation (or several) need to take place. I cannot emphasise that enough. Relationships breakdown when expectations go unmet.

If one (or both) partners really does not enjoy sex or the kind of sex they are having in that relationship, then it’s critical to discuss that as early on as possible. Because when we ignore it and pray that those feelings go away, we are deceiving ourselves and planting the seeds for resentment to grow. No one wants to have sex with someone who is only doing it every time because they feel like they have to. Going through the motions every time actually makes your relationship worse by eroding trust and connection. 

I want you to know that sex is one of the most powerful acts a person can engage in. It can be more than just a way to achieve gratification. And when we only do it to check the box, we miss out on the opportunity to heal, transform, love, and transcend. Can maintenance sex serve a purpose? Of course, but I believe it should be the exception and not the gold standard for sexual intimacy in a long-term romantic relationship. 

You deserve more than just maintenance sex. And if you’re in a relationship where that’s the rut you’re in, then I encourage you to have a conversation by sharing WHY you want to have more meaningful, more connected sexual intimacy with your partner. 

Courtney Boyer, M.Ed., M.S is a relationship and sexuality expert and author of Not Tonight, Honey: Why women actually don’t want sex and what we can do about it.

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