Like many relationships, the answer is a little complicated.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to determine the best time in a relationship to have sex is because there haven’t been a ton of studies that address that specific question.
My friend Lilly* and I were taking a power walk along the sun-drenched sidewalks.
As usual, we were discussing sex.“Well, Thomas* just doesn't think sex is important in relationships,” Lilly said.
How is this an argument that someone would use: Sex just isn't that important? I've spent the entirety of my career promoting healthy representations of sex and sexuality.
I am friends with some of the most interesting, sexually liberated women in all of New York. In all of my comprehensive rhetoric, designed to remove the stigmas surrounding sexuality and promoting its healthy consumption and practice, I realized I had never once just written a real article about the importance of sex in healthy relationships.
In any case, we look first for a physical cause which can often be improved upon. Is it really a loss of interest in sex itself (does he/she masturbate or fantasize, for instance) or is it a loss of interest in the partner? “My partner no longer turns me on.” This is a more difficult situation but not impossible.
Few studies have taken a look at the health of a relationship as it relates to when the couple first had sex. Back in the early 2000s, Illinois State University communications professor Sandra Metts did a study to find out if having an emotional connection — in particular saying “I love you” before having sex — could have a positive impact on the trajectory of the relationship.
When there is no sex within a marriage or a romantic relationship the couple will sometimes consult me together, but most often it is just one of them.
You might think it would always be the dissatisfied partner but it can be the one who is refusing sex too.
For instance, a 2004 study of nearly 300 college students in dating relationships showed that when couples were highly committed, sex was more likely to be seen as a positive turning point in the relationship, increasing understanding, commitment, trust and a sense of security.
However, when commitment and emotional expressions were low, the initiation of sex was significantly more likely seen as a negative event, evoking regret, uncertainty, discomfort, and prompting apologies.