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prolificus's avatar

[Rated PG] Within a long-term, committed relationship, how much does sexual/sensual expression prove or not prove how partners truly feel towards one another?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 6th, 2010 from iPhone

If both partners have different sex-drives or desires, does it mean the level of passionate love measures differently between the two?

What are some examples of long-term, committed relationships in which there is practically no expression of sexuality/sensuality?  How do these relationships function?

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18 Answers

Idknown's avatar

Sex is a healthy part of a relationship. Different things work for different people – and that statement I just said might not be true. To me it is important, and while I’m nothing thinking of doing it 3 times a day, 7 days a week – if it’s once a month…

In the short term, do do end up having a lot of it. Then as it becomes more long term, maybe a bit less. But still not once a month…

jfos's avatar

Example of long-term, committed relationships in which there is practically no expression of sexuality: A man owning a dog. There is a lot of committment, but (hopefully) no sexuality.

I think that it is important, but not necessary. Without expression of sexuality/sensuality, both parties are likely to crave it and find some way to get it. Sometimes, this way may be harmful to the relationship.

jfos's avatar

I want to make it clear that my first and second paragraph are unrelated.

Trillian's avatar

@prolificus According to some psychology stuff I was reading last night at work, intimacy is vital to any long term committed relationship. That does not necessarily translate to sexuality.
I woman that I worked with lives with a man and has for over twenty years. he had a stroke about five years ago and they have not had sex since then. Apparently they are still intimate as in physical closeness and kissing, but no sex. Period.
If you were to ask me about possible oral sex I would tell you that she hates the very idea and tells us that if we do it we’re all going to hell. So, no sex but lots of intimacy. I think that as you get older the passions recede a bit and the other feelings in a relationship remain.

Idknown's avatar

@jfos I LOLed at work… thanks jerk :P.

Exhausted's avatar

I think compatible sex drives are important when you are younger, but I also think that when you are young, you substitute sex as a remedy for many cravings you have in your life. As you get older and learn more about relationships, you realize that other aspects of a relationship can be as satisfying as, if not more than, the actual sex act itself. @Trillian indicated that intimacy can be expressed in many other ways than just sex and when we become older and wiser, we come to appreciate this.

JeffVader's avatar

Im pretty convinced that sex drive & love are unrelated things. The way I see it, sex drive is a purely biological thing, like how tall you are & has no relation to how much, or little, a person loves another.

marinelife's avatar

Sex drive and amount of passionate love are not lockstep with one another. The first can be driven by physical state of being and innate sex drive.

Just_Justine's avatar

I don’t know how other relationships function, I don’t believe it’s about passion it’s about who’s the horniest.

wundayatta's avatar

I find that making love is a confirmation of love for me. Without it, I feel like my lover is not really my lover. I feel like our relationship is more like a business partnership. I feel lost. I don’t feel I am a real person. Having someone who I have an otherwise deep relationship with be willing to make love completes everything for me. It turns me back into a person. It makes me feel a part of humanity. It makes me feel I am ok and loved.

About a decade ago, my wife stopped making love with me. Not completely, but almost. Slowly I lost my sense of self-esteem, and began to feel there was something wrong with me. I felt dirty and small. I felt like there was something wrong with me.

Lately we’ve been in therapy and for me, this is the major issue. I’ve told her this over and over, but she thinks I’m saying that sex is love. I know sex isn’t love. Making love is love. Making love to someone who I have a deep relationship with in other ways.

In any case, she only wants to do it once a week. Even then, it seems like she’s only doing it because I want to; not because she is at all into it. It makes it hard for me to maintain a stable sense of self. It makes me fantasize about other lovers who might actually be into me.

My relationship is in trouble at least partly because of this disparity. It’s also a disparity in the things that mean love for her. She is happy with me helping her do her stuff (she never has to help me), and massaging her and constantly talking about the business of our family.

She does like being hugged, which I like, too, except that our son keeps on wanting to join the hug, which is cute, and I know when I was his age, I wanted what it looked like my parents had, but was never included, and that has messed me up. But I also want her for myself. Time where we are just us and she is as into me as I am into her.

It’s a difficult time. She’s a wonderful woman—talented; very caring parent (one thing we do well together); very graceful; organized (perhaps too much so)—and I’m committed to making this work out. I don’t know how we’ll solve this issue, though. I guess sometimes people who love each other a lot can’t stay together. Which makes the issue of sexuality/sensuality something that could cause our relationship to come tumbling down.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If both partners are not into sexual expression then I don’t see a problem. If there is a difference in drive and it’s not adderessed, then there is a problem. Personally, I wouldn’t want a partner who’s not into sex as much as me.

hug_of_war's avatar

Sexual and sensual expression are quite distinct to me. Sexual activity can be sensual, but sensuality can exist without sex. I’m not sure exactly how I define sensuality, but it is closely coupled with intimacy. And intimacy is how you maintain a relationship. Intimacy is special because you don’t have it with everyone. You can have sex with nearly anyone. I don’t have a high sex drive. Just because I don’t want to have sex with him as much as some people doesn’t mean we lack intimacy or I don’t love him as much as I should. I think if you only express love through sex that is a bigger problem. All couples must define their relationship on their own terms – too much or not enough sex only exists as a relative term based on their own needs and desires.

Cruiser's avatar

If you are not feeling the love, sex then will simply be masturbation.

netgrrl's avatar

I’ve been in a relationship where intercourse wasn’t possible, but our sex life was great. :)

I do think the relationships that work best are the ones where the desire for sex is fairly evenly matched. But the heart wants what it wants, so people will fall in love regardless. :)

A little compromise… the highly sexed person expect a little less often, the one with lower desire – eh, it won’t kill you to have sex when maybe you didn’t want to so much, once in awhile. If you have a sex life, you’ll be glad you did.

phillis's avatar

This is true especially for women, generally speaking. When we are upset (not necessarily at our SOs), we don’t feel like making love. We prefer to be nurtured, instead. THEN we can make love :)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

For me, a healthy relationship involves sex which means a compromise between the sex drives. What’s tough is if you go through changes with someone and it affects their sex drive because then you have issues come up about your own desirability. For some people, once a week is steady sex and others want daily… or more.

What gets to me is the number of people I meet who spend more time watching TV, playing video games and other stuff than they do actually physically touching (in any way) their partners other from snuggling up in bed and falling asleep.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve been in both a mis-matched and a perfectly matched and I believe the perfectly matched is much better for both partners.

evandad's avatar

It’s different for different folks.

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