Is Sex Important in a Relationship? The Answer May Be Different Than You Think

Is sex important in a relationship? That’s a great question. If you’ve ever watched a TV show or heard just about anyone talk about sex, you might think it is the most important part of a relationship. 

So how vital is sex to a healthy relationship? 

This guide will help you navigate the importance of sex in relationships. 

Keep reading to find out how you can keep your relationships fun and sexy, even if you don’t want to have sex. 

Table of Contents

sex is important in a relationship

The Importance of Sex in Relationships Is Highly Debated

Despite the typical portrayal in media, the importance of sex in relationships is highly contested. 

It is true that sex has plenty of benefits and can be incredibly enjoyable for those involved. But sex isn’t everything. You can have a successful and enjoyable relationship without having sex all the time. 

One media outlet talked to eight different experts — or sex-perts — about the importance of sex in relationships. Here is what a few of them had to say. 

sex in a relationship is important

Expert #1

Renée Suzanne is a Love Coach who prides herself on helping women find love without lowering their standards. 

When asked for her thoughts on the importance of sex, she said that she considers compatibility in all areas to be more important. It is vital to make sure your potential partner has similar relationship goals and wants the same lifestyle. 

In Suanne’s own words:

“If [you are] not [compatible], getting sexual can take you on a heartbreaking detour from your dreams and goals in the area of relationships.”

Expert #2

Michele Fabrega is a certified relationship coach with some thoughts and opinions on sex in relationships. 

“I think it's important that people share their thoughts and desires around sexuality even if they aren't ready to act on them yet.”

Fabrega holds that communication is essential, no matter what. She encourages couples to share their needs and preferences with one another. This helps couples know if they will be compatible. 

Sex is important, but communication — especially about sex — is even more important. 

Expert #3

Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and relationship coach, says that while sex shouldn’t be the most important thing:

“It’s important in that you should be compatible sexually. If you aren’t, this issue will grow over time and often becomes a deal breaker for couples considering commitment.”

Again, sex matters and you should take the time to make sure you are compatible. Just don’t make it your only focus. 

How Important Is Sex in a Relationship? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Instead

People often want to know if sex is important in a relationship and, if so, how much it matters. 

These are the wrong questions to ask. 

Instead, you should ask, “how important is sex in my relationship?”

Sex in a relationship is important, but the degree of importance varies from couple to couple and person to person. 

Instead of trying to figure out why sex is so important in a relationship, ask yourself these three questions. 

#1: How Important Is Sex to You?

There is no right or wrong here so be honest with yourself. 

Are you the type that can go all night and still want more the next morning? 

Maybe you can go weeks — or even months — without sex and be just fine. 

It is okay to be incredibly sexual, barely sexual, or somewhere in between. No matter where you fall, you deserve to have an enjoyable and pleasurable sex life. 

Here are some questions to help you think through how important sex is to you:

  • Do you feel disconnected from your partner when you haven’t had sex recently? 
  • Do you find sex enjoyable and pleasurable?
  • Do you find that you want to have sex often? 
  • How would you feel if your partner wanted to have sex very often? 
  • How would you feel if your partner only wanted to have sex every couple of weeks? 

#2: How Important Is Sex to Your Partner?

Once you know how much sex matters to you, it is time to think about your partner. 

You may want to take the time to have a conversation with them and talk about how much they value sex. Do they want to have sex as often as possible? Do they prefer to have sexual intimacy every few weeks?

It is essential to know how important sex is to your partner. You want to make sure that you both place similar values on sexual connection. 

#3: Are You and Your Partner Sexually Compatible?

Thinking through one another’s needs is important because sexual compatibility — real or perceived — matters

If you want to have sex three times a week but your partner prefers to keep it to once a month, you may find that this causes some problems to arise in your relationship. 

It might be an awkward conversation to initiate, but it is incredibly important if you want a strong and healthy relationship. 

relationship

The Importance of Sex vs. Intimacy

While these words are often used interchangeably, sex and intimacy are not the same things and it is important to know the difference between the two. 

Sex is a specific act between people, but intimacy is more of an all-encompassing term used for multiple forms of affectionate human interaction. 

Intimacy is vital to relationships. It's where trust is found. 

It is essential to define what intimacy looks like for you and to discuss it with your partner. What is intimacy to them? What does it look like and feel like? 

What Does Intimacy Look Like?

From physical to relational, intimacy looks different for each person. Here are some common forms of intimacy:

  • Cuddling 
  • Kissing/making out 
  • Holding hands
  • Having a deep conversation
  • Sharing a bath
  • Spending time simply being with each other
  • Sharing personal details or stories
  • Giving each other backrubs 

Intimacy is being known deeply by someone else. This might mean sharing your deepest fear with someone but it could also mean just sitting in silence while holding hands and watching the sunset. 

Is Sex Necessary in a Relationship?

Not necessarily. Is sex important in a relationship? Absolutely. Is it a requirement for a healthy and happy relationship? No. 

Some women find that sex is downright painful and unpleasant. If that’s you, don’t lose heart. You can still have a great relationship with your special someone, even if you don’t have sex frequently. 

5 Ways to Keep Things Sexy if Sex Is Too Painful

If you find sex too painful, there are plenty of ways you can still keep your relationship spicy and sexy. 

#1: Try Oral Sex

If penetrative sex causes too much discomfort, give oral sex a shot. 

Especially for women, oral sex can be even more pleasurable than penetrative sex. 

Giving and receiving oral sex can be a great way to strengthen your relationship and deepen intimacy without ever having to work through the pain that penetration might bring. 

#2: Explore Other Forms of Intimacy

There are tons of great non-sexual ways to experience intimacy with your significant other. 

Five great intimacy-boosting activities include:

  • Sharing your positive thoughts about your partner often and at random 
  • Experiencing new things together
  • Asking each other questions
  • Valuing transparency and communicating with each other — the good and the bad
  • Touching each other — holding hands, massages, gentle caresses throughout the day
how important is sex in a relationship

#3: Experiment With Different Sex Positions

If you’re open to sex but find that your current positions are painful or simply not enjoyable, try switching things up and finding new ways to do things. 

Especially for women with conditions like endometriosis, sex can be a painful and difficult experience. There are specific positions — or modifications — that can help reduce pain, such as using a pillow to elevate your hips or trying positions that offer you more control. 

#4: Take Things Slow

There is no need to rush into the deed. 

Take it slow. Light some candles. Turn on some smooth, sexy jazz. Use massage oil and gently rub out that tension. 

Incorporate a good buildup of foreplay. Explore the other’s body. 

Take your time and really enjoy the process. When it comes time to try out penetration, have your partner keep the slow and steady pace. 

Remember, you can always ask your partner to stop if something is painful. 

#5: Use a High-Quality Lubricant

Sometimes uncomfortable or painful sex is due to a lack of proper lubrication. 

Vaginas can create their own lubrication but it doesn’t always work, for a variety of reasons, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need some outside help. 

Enter Chiaveye. 

Chiaveye is an all-natural, endometriosis-friendly, water-based lube designed to make sex as natural and enjoyable as possible. 

I created Chiaveye after struggling for years to find a lube that didn’t make my endometriosis symptoms worse. The combination of gentle oils — like coconut and almond oil — provides moisture and allows you to engage in sexual intimacy without having to worry about making sure everything goes smoothly. 

Chiaveye is the lube for people who want all the benefits of a good lubricant without the negatives like chemicals and allergic reactions. Try Chiaveye today and see what you’ve been missing. 

sex in a relationship is important

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