1 Cor. 7:3-4
Men and women cite various reasons for sexual inactivity with their partners, including: fatigue, lack of interest, use of pornography, a prioritization of other benefits to monogamy (companionship, financial stability, childbearing, etc.), health issues, and age (hormonal changes).
Those factors acknowledged, there's an overplayed notion about "marrieds," both in social conversations and in Hollywood.
You know the one where monogamous people stop having sex after a while?
The one that says singles are having more and better quality sex?
We're about to blast through some major relationship myths this week! Here's the truth about committed sex and intimacy and why we should make it a priority:
1. Regular physical intimacy increases commitment in already committed couples.
Whoop, whoop for oxytocin! Oh yes indeed, hot and heavy marrieds, God did remember us in His creative fury. This fun little hormone is responsible for feelings of connection and security. Bonding. Women secrete oxytocin when we do things like breastfeed, cuddle, or during a sexual encounter. A man secretes the hormone more specifically related to sexual experience, resulting in connection with his partner. The effect is that a preference for her, over any other woman, is reinforced!
What does this mean for all of us? It means that:
It may surprise you when I tell you this: marrieds are physically intimate more often than singles. I know, I know - what are you us selling, Hollywood? Also interesting to note is that, though couples who live together have about the same amount of sex as marrieds, "They don't seem to enjoy it as much," according to Linda J. Waite's research at the University of Chicago. We would do well to acknowledge that there are good reasons for treasuring the instructions given in the inspired Word of God.
Emotional safety occurs more readily in socially committed, culturally reinforced marriages - increasing vulnerability, trust, and a willingness to try new things in the bedroom.
Additionally, there are certain groups of married folks who are more physically intimate than others. We have great data on the frequency of sex (and satisfaction) throughout the duration of a marriage. Here's what researchers have found:
- Sex decreases while we're raising young children. This is not groundbreaking news. We're tired. We're covered in poo. Prolactin from nursing is decreasing drive, as is a drop in men's testosterone. We're reeling from the transition of coupledom to larger family life. We have different ideas about our bodies, new identities and there are tiny little hands needing something at all times. It's normal.
- The issue above does improve! Rather than children making marriage and sex harder for couples, it's widely accepted that parenthood only exacerbates already present problems in relationships. As children become more independent and parents are able to regain energy and time for one another, couples are more likely to navigate nagging issues. Intimacy can then be re-established.
- Sex and satisfaction increases as years of marriage are added. People 55+ are more physically intimate than any other age group. Many will also tell you that their sex lives are the best they've ever been.
- Men and women with positive body image are more likely to report sexual satisfaction.
- And finally, men and women with secure emotional attachments have better sexual relationships, and are intimate more often with one another. This supports the notion that our spiritual lives are of the utmost importance, laying foundations for healthy marriages and intimacy.
We've learned quite a bit together, so I hope that you're encouraged to begin making physical intimacy a priority in your life, if it's not already. It's refreshing to see God's always-relevant principles explained in scientific detail. How amazing that He's given us both the spiritual guidance and the biological know-how to connect to one another!
Cuddle on coupled soldiers!