Is Sex Really *That* Important in a Relationship?

Is Sex Really *That* Important in a Relationship?

And can you guess the number one excuse surveyed couples gave for not doing it?

By Marianne Garvey

In a new relationship, the sex is usually hot — and often — but eventually, the spark fizzles and that’s normal. But why it fizzles varies from couple to couple.

Over 1,000 people were asked to be honest about the sex in their relationships to uncover when it goes from hot to, well, not.

The number one excuse couples give for not doing it? Too tired. Second, one of the people in the couple claims they are in pain for one reason or another.

According to respondents regarding the frequency of their sexual antics, it may not take a full year into a relationship to see a dip in the time spent between the sheets.

“More than half of participants said they started to see a decline in the amount of sex they had after six months into their relationship — and that might be normal,” says the survey. “According to relationship experts, sex may be easier at the beginning of a relationship because the chemicals that get us turned on take a front-seat approach. Passion and lust can keep a couple energized at first, helping them to explore each other and their new relationship thoroughly.”

However, over time, that fades. Even though 59 percent of women wanted more sex than their partners, in general, 61 percent told us the amount of intercourse they were having with their partner declined over time.

Another reason sex slowed down for some couples was a bad experience, such as contracting an STD.

Even though a decline in sex over time was pretty consistent among the couples, in some cases, it was sign the relationship was in trouble.

Sex can keep you close as a couple, keep stress levels down, boost immune systems, and make people feel better physically. Losing that intimacy made other parts of the relationship suffer as well—affection, communication, happiness, and trust all decreased when a couple stopped getting it on.

How important is sex anyway?

While Americans were slightly more likely to rate the importance of sex a four or five (with five being extremely important), Europeans who didn’t think intercourse was as relevant to their relationships were overall more satisfied with both their sexual frequency and quality, saying on average they had sex three times a month.

Americans who rated the importance of sex the lowest also had the lowest satisfaction ratings with their sexual frequency. Those same people thought the sex they were having wasn’t very good. When those surveyed placed a higher importance on sex, their frequency and quality of sex also improved.

Yawn. For nearly 3 in 4 people, being too tired was their go-to excuse for avoiding sex, even though the survey found that the average sex session lasts anywhere from three to seven minutes. Over 50 percent cited work and being too busy as the reasons why their sex life had declined, followed by their children.

So what can couples do to stay on track?

Experts recommend a simple fix: schedule sex and just do it.

More than half of people asked said they blamed their partner for the decline in sex, but women tended to blame themselves, too. Nearly two in three women believed the lack of intercourse in their relationship was their fault compared to around 35 percent of men.

For those able to improve their sex lives, they talked it out. Participants whose sex frequency increased talked about sex the most often. For people who saw a decrease, 61 percent said they were at least talking about their sexual habits, compared to 53 percent of people who saw no change. Both men and women who saw a decrease in sex felt frustrated and sad.

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