The New York Times recently ran an article that explored the premise that couples in egalitarian marriages had sex less frequently.
So how is a union defined as “egalitarian?”
According to “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” it’s where husbands and wives “share the housework and child care, communicate openly and prioritize each other’s careers.”
Researchers found that couples in these types of marriages have sex 1.5 fewer times a month than those who subscribe to more traditional gender roles.
Some might read this and assume it means that couples in this arrangement experience less sexual fulfillment in their marriages. But when you think about it, the frequency of physical encounters isn’t the only measure of a healthy sex life.
Characteristics of Satisfying Sex
There are many things that together form part of the “formula” that helps make for mutually satisfying intimacy. So what are the characteristics of a healthy sex life that husbands and wives can keep in mind when they talk through their own relationship?
Focus’ marriage experts recommend considering the following five items:
1. Open communication
Husbands and wives would be wise to periodically “check in” with their spouse and talk through any issues that they may be facing. These conversations can be used to work through and agree upon all the different factors that make up a healthy sexual relationship.
How often a couple has sex depends on many factors, and frequency can go up and down as those factors change. As long as a couple is being intimate with regularity and they are working together to keep their sex life a priority, a fairly wide range can be considered healthy.
3. Understanding and working through different life stages
Times of sickness or high stress caused by a new job or trouble with kids might impact a couple’s sex life. Different seasons of life – like when a couple has young children – can also influence marital intimacy. Husbands and wives who work together to take a long view of marriage will achieve the perspective they need to weather the tougher times.
For those of you raising younger children, my blog post on keeping intimacy alive during the toddler years might be a helpful read.
4. Tending to the marriage outside the bedroom
Sex doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it’s part of a marriage. In other words, you can’t ignore the overall relationship and expect to have a satisfying sex life. So take care to nurture your relationship. “Date” your spouse. Make sure your interactions are respectful, affirming and affectionate. Be kind to each other.Have fun together. Offer forgiveness.
5. Emotional safety
In order for married couples to experience the true fulfillment of their sexual relationship, the foundation of their union should be built on emotional safety. This means husbands and wives need to feel valued for all of who they are. This frees them up to be vulnerable, even at the deepest levels, with their spouse. Ultimately, when husbands and wives feel safe, they can be open to experience the fulfillment everyone hopes for and desires in their sexual relationship.
Focus’ website has more good advice and perspectives on sex, as does our Pure Intimacy website. As always, please know you can call us at 1-800-A-FAMILY if you would like to speak with one of our Family Help Specialists.