Tell yourself what you want but it won’t change the fact of how sex is important in the life of every human being. We start discovering our own bodies, likes and dislikes already as young children. Time flies and we get to know that people’s bodies are different from each other and that we all can have different visual and sensory preferences. We get curious and develop new needs.
Two of these needs are relationships and sex. Denying their integrity or not satisfying one of them enough can result in many inner conflicts and serious interpersonal issues.
How to understand the role of sex in relationships? How has its role been changing in our lives? Is there anything we should be afraid of? In this article, we’ll try to answer these questions.
What Actually Is Sex?
Usually, when we think of sex, we’re picturing two naked persons in bed, optionally accompanied by sex gadgets (handcuffs, anal toys, lubricants, etc.).
Another thought that comes to our mind might be a porn film — a couple of guys in a changing room excited after a played football game or an incredibly handsome plumber helping out a woman in need. All with one common denominator — sexual intercourse.
How come we very often don’t consider masturbation, giving each other orgasms just with touching, oral sex or threesomes as actual forms of sex? We even tend not to count them as relationship’s consummation (it’s also an unclear and stretched matter from a religious point of view, e.g. in the case of church marriage annulment).
We think of them just as of curious varieties of our intimate life. We couldn’t be more wrong! Just because an extreme intimacy doesn’t always lead to penetration, it doesn’t make the act less of sex.
What Makes Sex Significant in a Relationship?
The intimate life we’ve mentioned above begins just there where our sexual needs and instincts — including the need for human touch and warmth. Even though it’s necessary to be able to differ sexual drives and preferences from emotions, we can’t deny that the aspects are connected — especially in a relationship.
When you’re in a loving relationship it’s in many cases impossible to put a visible line between pure sexual drive and your feelings towards your significant other. Involuntarily, sex starts to get associated both with feelings and the sense of trust.
Relationships are like giant spider webs of what we want, need, like, dislike, dream of, and so on. These aspects of two persons’ lives, experiences, and personalities are getting tied to each other very closely. Even though we know that both the relationship parties and their personal characters are separate, it’s extremely difficult to set them apart completely.
Also, sex becomes one of the main parts of this mixture.
Why Is It So Important to Be Aware of What Sex Is?
Neglecting the great variety of sex and not considering different forms of this physical intimacy to be sex is simply belittling and can make us feel sexually inefficient. And that can lead to complexes, prejudices, and sometimes even complete sex withdrawal. The more sensitive a person is the bigger the risk is.
Being aware of how complex sex can also help us set our boundaries. Getting more and more experience, we begin to discover our physical preferences, mental limits, how broad our sense of safety with someone is. With the sexual-psychological growth, we’re becoming more self-aware and that should support us in taking good care of our assertiveness.
Furthermore, sexual awareness clears up what sexual abuse means to us. It might be a deeply uncomfortable aspect to take into account, however, it’s just as significant. The perspective of what we’re used to call sex defines to a large extent what exactly we’ll call sexual abuse and how we’ll deal with the problem (regardless of the victim was yourself or your loved one).
What Impact Has the Awareness on a Relationship?
Taking sex seriously enough (seriously enough to use the word sex probably more often than we’re used to) supports the slow discovering of each other’s preferences, boundaries, and phantasies.
The sexual development of a relationship grows parallelly with trust and the sense of safety and comfort you can feel being next to your partner. This fundament makes you more encouraged to experiment in the bedroom — with different forms of sex, new positions, sex toys or maybe even inviting another person if you and your partner feel like you need it.
Supporting each other’s sexual fantasies without judging brings the trust in your relationship a few levels up! Accepting your partner’s personality aspects that they might find embarrassing gives their self-esteem a huge boost and makes them open up to you more step by step.
Your and your partner’s sex preferences and fantasies can be unexpectedly different but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it work. Every action in a relationship requires mutual respect and patience. Sex can’t be relationship’s bare fundament. However, sexual intimacy is a necessary brick in building up a complete connection between two people. Don’t be afraid of getting to know each other’s deepest dreams and secrets. It’s one of the most beautiful and intriguing journeys of two people deciding to share their lives with each other.