When most of us think of marriage, we think of dwindling sex. Of course, that’s not always true, but the cliched picture of the union is this: The long suffering man who is never getting enough nooky, longing to up his weekly numbers. The frigid wife. Well, guess what people: A new study reveals that more sex is not going to improve your marriage.
A new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization shows that frequency of sex between couples actually doesn’t improve the quality of their relationship. This is especially true when the sex isn’t necessarily wanted so much as required (for the purposes of this experiment). As it turns out, what people really want in their marriage isn’t more of the act of sex. It’s intimacy.
It makes a lot of sense.
My husband and I have been married 12 years. In that time we have moved several times, brought three pets home, lost one, had three children, held full time jobs, quit full time jobs, traveled all over the world, and tried to maintain our bodies through exercise and eating right. Given all these constraints, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain our intimacy.
Sure, we can find the 10-15 minutes it takes to squeeze in a quickie after bed or while the kids watch a movie on Saturday morning. But real intimacy requires time. It’s something in short supply in our world.And to be honest, the longing for sex doesn’t come from a physical place. Yes, the sight of my husband still moves me and yes I want him even when we are not terribly connected otherwise. But I want him a lot less.
The times I want sex are the times when we are alone for the weekend. Or when we are on a date night. The times when we have moments alone where we can really talk, where he can ask me about my day and I his. That’s real foreplay. So would frequent sex make us happier? Maybe. But more time together would really do it.
But how do couples do that? That is the timeless question. It shows how much those date nights and those infrequent weekends along together really matter. They may save the marriage.