image of a couple being physically close to conceptualize the question: how important is sex in a relationship

Inquiring minds would like to know: Is sex important in a relationship? The answer is… well, it’s complicated. Sex and intimacy are such a complex part of a person’s individual world and there are so many varying preferences on sex, that it’s difficult to offer a general answer to the question. Individuals can have different sexual drives, desires, and kinks- so when we blend two individuals into a couple, there is some exploring to do.

A better question, then, might be: Is sex important in our relationship? From there, we’re able to explore the drives, desires, and preferences of partners to determine where sex resides on the hierarchy of relationship needs. Read on to explore 3 factors that could impact the importance of sex in a relationship for you and your partner.

Sexual Attraction & Orientation. There is such a variety of sexual attraction and orientation. Different priorities can be put on the emotional aspect of the relationship versus the sexual or physical aspect of a relationship. For example, someone who identifies as asexual experiences very little sexual attraction. So for this person, sex in a relationship isn’t that important. Someone who identifies as sex adverse might not be interested in sex in general- even discouraged by it. It’s important to get to know the sexual attraction and orientation of your partner, to better understand how important sex is in a relationship for them.

Values. Values are what are important to individuals within the context of their personal lives, and in relationships. Values can help drive behavior and can help prioritize certain aspects of life. If sex and intimacy have high value in your relationships, this may mean that sex is important to you within the context of intimacy. Maybe your partner doesn’t value sex and physical intimacy as highly. Maybe they value trust, dependability, or deep, emotional connections. This would put sex and intimacy lower on their list of values and priorities in a relationship. Placing a different priority on sex and intimacy than your partner doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re incompatible, it just means that you will both need to work harder to understand these differences in values.

 Sexual History & Trauma. Sexual trauma can have a huge impact on someone’s sexual attraction and orientation. Someone who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault in the past might not have sex as high of a priority on their list. It’s important to explore these past experiences with your partner and it’s important for partners to be open and honest, as long as the relationship is a safe space for you to share. Understanding someone’s sexual history is imperative to understanding how important sex might be to them in a relationship.

The bottom line is, the importance of sex within a relationship depends on each individual and the couple. Open and honest conversations are essential to get to know what impacts your partner’s sexual desires, and what experiences they’ve had in the past that may be impacting the present. There is no right amount of sex to have in a relationship- you and your partner get to figure out what works for both of you.

If you or a loved on are interested in exploring this topic as it shows up in your relationship, a relationship coach could be a great fit. Please don’t hesitate to reach out – you don’t have to navigate this alone.