I was talking with a friend the other day, and she was saying that her relationship felt dull, dry, and in a rut. Then she added a disclaimer: "Don't get me wrong. We still love each other dearly, have a lot in common, and love raising our daughter together..."
I can't tell you how often I've had this exact conversation, with friends and patients alike. It is especially common with couples in recovery because sex tends to be one of the casualties when partners are dealing with the complexities of recovery and building a lasting relationship.
When this issue comes up, I ask, "How often do you have sex?"
As expected, he or she will say, "Not very often at all."
No, I don't say, "Well, I could have told you that!" Instead, I say, "Well, if you want my advice, I can tell you that if you want your relationship to feel more exciting, wet, and alive, then you are going to have to force yourselves to have sex!"
Trust me, no one likes to hear this. I get it. We're all tired. We're all achy. We're all looking for desire to wake us up and get us going. And if you are also dealing with recovery, these issues may be even stronger. So understand that you're going to have to put some effort into your sex life.
Here are the best reasons you and your partner must turn off the TV, shut down your phone, lock your bedroom door, and force yourselves to have sex with each other:
Sex stimulates a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin promotes connection and empathy between partners. It literally juices up the relationship. Honestly, think about the last time you had sex with your partner. Didn't you think afterwards, "Why don't we do this more often?!" It doesn't even have to be good sex. Just do it and you'll see what I mean.
Having sex releases endorphins. If you are exercise averse, you can get your endorphins turned on by having a little hanky-panky with your partner a couple times a week. Endorphins are the perfect way to keep your mood up without turning to drugs or other substances. Just make sure you don't let yourself become addicted to your own endorphins (which can happen).
Sex relieves feelings of alienation, isolation, depression, anxiety, and anger. Having skin-to-skin contact with your partner and getting off with your partner will increase the feeling of belonging and decrease feelings of isolation.
Having sex with your partner regularly keeps you looking young. It increases hormone activity, estrogen specifically, and makes your skin and hair look shiny and rejuvenated.
Couples who have sex more regularly sleep better. Again, the release of hormones and endorphins helps the central nervous system calm down so you can drift off to sleep more easily. All you insomniacs out there, take heed!
Regular sex can protect your relationship by keeping your partner from straying outside the relationship to get sex. I'm not suggesting you keep your partner a sexual hostage by tying him or her to the bed and having your way with him or her regularly. Or, am I?
So if you are stuck in a rut and sex has gone out the window, welcome to the 21st century. It’s time to get sex with your partner on your radar now!
Upcoming events to be announced.