Science, Sex, and Relationships

What does science tell us about sex and how does this shape our relationship with our partner? I often hear from couples that their sex life isn't what it was when they first started dating and that they wish they could go back to that time in their relationship.  Is it true that the best sex in relationships is when you are just getting to know each other?  Actually, science tells us the opposite is true. 

What we have learned from science, is that sex isn't just about procreation.  Sex is a potent bonding activity between a couple.  When two individuals have sex the potent hormone oxytocin is released in their bodies.  When this is hormone is released, it decreases their fear, increases their safety, and they learn to open up and trust our partner.  

We have also learned from science that, contrary to popular belief, securely attached couples in long term relationships have better sex than those who are single or are new to their relationship. Couples in long term, committed relationships, are able to read each other's cues and tune into each other unlike those in new relationships.  When you are securely connected, sex is a safe adventure!  You are open to new ideas, curiosity, and risk taking!  Individuals need to feel safe in their relationship before they can become adventurous.  Long term relationships provide that.

We also know that sex is an emotional dance.  How you connect emotionally is how your connect sexually.  Securely attached couples are open emotionally.  In new relationships, when courting each other, you often try to provide only the best sides of ourselves and you aren't as open emotionally as you are trying to build trust.  When a couple has trouble with emotions and feeling safe in their relationship, it is a recipe for an unsatisfactory sex life. 

If sex doesn't seem satisfying in your relationship, consider how well connected you are as a couple. Do you both feel emotionally safe with each other?  Do you both feel secure in the relationship?  When conflict arises are you able to manage through it without name calling, eye rolls, or bringing up past hurts?  If the answer to any of these questions is "no" it is likely it is effecting your sexual satisfaction.

Good sex therapy will begin with a thorough relationship assessment by a therapist trained in both couples therapy and sex therapy.  If you are interested in setting up an appointment to discuss your relationship concerns with a counselor/therapist, call us at 701-478-4144.