Why is Sex Important in a Relationship? (17 Reasons)

Undeniably, sex feels good, and in the rarest of times, the experience may even feel beyond euphoric. But sex is more than just a physical act. It’s a way for couples to connect on a deeper level—both emotionally and physically. It’s a form of communication that can bring partners closer and strengthen their bond.

In a world where communication, trust, and shared values are considered key factors in a successful partnership, why does physical intimacy hold such a prominent place in the equation? The truth is that sex offers a multitude of benefits to a relationship, from physical and emotional fulfillment to increased intimacy and deeper connections.

The regular and fulfilling expression of sexual desire within a relationship not only enhances the physical and emotional bond between partners but also reinforces the commitment and love they share.

“Sexual energy is just that, it’s energy. And where we choose to expend that energy makes all the difference in the world.”

– Joy McMillan

Physical Benefits of Sex

Sex is a form of exercise and a source of pleasure. It has a whole range of physical benefits for both yourself and your partner which can improve your physical health and daily life.

Helps Burn Calories

Sex is a form of physical activity that requires energy expenditure. This means that your body burns calories as it works to perform the movements involved in sex. The amount of energy expended during sex can vary widely depending on factors such as the position, intensity, and duration of the sexual activity.

On average, men burn an estimated 100 calories during a 30-minute session of sexual activity, while women burn approximately 69 calories. Of course, the exact number of calories burned during sex will vary based on your own body weight and the intensity of the activity, but these numbers give you a general idea of the calorie burn potential of sex.

Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is a major health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. While you may have heard that physical activity can help maintain a healthy heart, you may be surprised to learn that sex can also have positive effects.

First off, sex helps increase blood flow throughout the body and particularly to the heart. During sexual arousal and intercourse, the walls of blood vessels widen, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to be circulated throughout the body. This helps improve the functioning of different organs, such as the heart, and provides it with adequate nourishment for optimal performance. 

Sex has also been found to reduce stress levels which is beneficial for heart health. During intercourse, endorphins—the feel-good hormones—are released in both men and women, reducing anxiety and tension in the process. When we experience less stress, our bodies remain calmer, thus helping protect against hypertension which can lead to stroke or heart attack if left unchecked. 

Improves Immune System

Having a healthy sex life can do wonders for one’s immune system. Engaging in sexual intercourse can increase activity in the parts of the immune system that fight off infection and illness. 

Sex triggers the release of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that helps fight off infections and diseases. IgA is a type of antibody produced by the mucous membranes throughout our bodies and helps protect us from illnesses such as colds and flu. 

Additionally, sex can also stimulate the production of natural killer cells, which are white blood cells that help fight off viruses and cancers. These cells are produced in higher numbers after sexual activity, boosting the immune system.

Lowers Risk of Certain Diseases

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when it comes to cancer, that adage couldn’t be more accurate. Engaging in sexual activity can actually lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer, namely prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, and men with frequent sexual activity have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. This is due to the fact that sexual activity helps to clear out the prostatic ducts, which can reduce the build-up of cancer-causing substances in the prostate. 

Similarly, women may also benefit from increased sexual activity to reduce their risk of breast cancer. The exact reason for the occurrence is still unclear. However, some experts attribute it to increased oxytocin levels during orgasm, which can help protect against certain types of cancers and promote healthy cell growth and development. 

Increases Pain Tolerance

Pain tolerance refers to the ability of an individual to withstand pain without experiencing significant discomfort. It has been observed that sexual activity can increase pain tolerance in some individuals.

The theory behind why sex might increase pain tolerance is due to the release of certain hormones during sexual activity, such as:

  • Endorphins – aka the “feel-good hormone.” This hormone is a natural painkiller produced by the body during physical activity, including sexual activity. It works by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain, thus reducing the perceived intensity of pain.
  • Oxytocin – aka the “cuddle hormone.” This hormone is released in large amounts during sexual activity, especially during orgasms. It has been shown to reduce pain sensitivity and increase pain tolerance in some individuals.

Additionally, exercise has been shown to have a pain-relieving effect, and physical exertion during sexual activity may produce similar results. The increased heart rate and adrenaline release during sexual activity may also play a role in pain tolerance.

Enhances Cognitive Function

Having sex is like an intense form of exercise for the brain. It activates regions associated with memory, learning, and pleasure, which leads to better cognitive performance, including:

  • Enhanced memory recall
  • Increased learning ability
  • Improved focus and attention
  • Increased alertness and arousal

Moreover, sex has also been linked to increased creativity due to its ability to simultaneously stimulate both hemispheres of the brain. Once again, this comes down largely due to the hormones released during orgasm.

Better Vaginal Lubrication

Vaginal lubrication is a crucial aspect of sexual health and pleasure. It not only helps reduce friction during sexual activity but also protects the delicate skin of the vagina from injury and infection. One of the most significant natural triggers of vaginal lubrication is sexual arousal.

Sexual arousal triggers the release of hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. As the body becomes aroused, the hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland to release hormones that increase blood flow to the pelvic region, including the clitoris, vagina, and labia. This increased blood flow results in increased vaginal secretions, including lubrication, making the vagina wet and slippery.

The increase in lubrication protects the delicate skin of the vagina from friction and tearing during sexual activity. This is especially important during penetration, where the friction between the vagina and the penis can be significant.

Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles

The pelvic floor muscles are an important group of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles can weaken over time, leading to common problems such as urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Sexual activity is a form of exercise that can help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. During sex, the pelvic floor muscles are engaged to support the weight of the organs and to help control the release of urine. The rhythmic contractions that occur during orgasm can also help improve the muscles’ strength and tone.

In order to reap the benefits of sex for pelvic floor muscle strengthening, it is essential to engage in sexual activity regularly and to focus on using the pelvic floor muscles, as this will help to engage the muscles and improve their strength. Additionally, incorporating pelvic floor muscle exercises into your daily routine also strengthens these muscles and reduces the risk of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Emotional Benefits of Sex

Boosts Mood

As mentioned above, during sex, the body releases a flood of feel-good chemicals like endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine. These hormones work together to positively impact our mood and well-being.

  • Endorphins – help relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Oxytocin – promotes feelings of relaxation and contentment. 
  • Dopamine – elevates our mood and increases our overall sense of happiness.

Keeps Things Exciting

As human beings, we all have a natural inclination towards novelty and excitement, especially when it comes to sex. Keeping the spark alive in a relationship can be challenging, especially after some time. However, incorporating different techniques and ways to keep things exciting in the bedroom can help revive the passion in your intimate life.

Sex can keep things exciting in several ways, including:

  • Variety is the spice of life: Trying new positions, locations, and techniques can keep sex fresh and exciting. It can also help prevent boredom and monotony from setting in.
  • Exploration: Exploring new fantasies and fetishes can bring an extra thrill to your intimate life. It is vital to have open communication with your partner about what you are both comfortable with trying and respecting each other’s boundaries.
  • Building anticipation: Engaging in foreplay and creating sexual tension can help increase the excitement leading up to sex. It’s a great way to build anticipation and keep the passion alive.

Improves Emotional Connection 

Sex can go beyond just physical pleasure and help build emotional connections with your partner. Through sex, partners can explore each other’s bodies, learn each other’s needs, and become more familiar with each other’s physical and emotional responses.

When you engage in sex with your partner, you open yourself up to each other in a way that can be vulnerable and intimate. This vulnerability allows you to connect on an emotional level, as you are both revealing a side of yourself that is often hidden from the world. This emotional connection can deepen the bond between partners and create a sense of trust and comfort.

“The deepest moments of intimacy occur when you’re not talking.” 

– Patricia Love

Psychological Benefits of Sex

Helps You Relax

Sex is a great way to relax, especially when it’s done with the right person. Not only does it provide a physical release, but the emotions and hormones released during the act can help reduce stress levels and help you unwind from even the most trying of days.

Aside from the release of feel-good hormones, during orgasm, your body experiences a decrease in cortisol, a hormone responsible for stress. This helps you to feel more relaxed and at ease after sex.

Having sexual intercourse with your partner also has psychological benefits that can contribute to relaxation. The intimate connection between partners helps create feelings of security and trust, which can help alleviate anxiety or depression. 

Also, having someone there who cares about you deeply—while engaging in something pleasurable like sex—can often help dissipate worries or stressors that are weighing heavily on your mind. You’ll often find yourself feeling much more relaxed after a session with someone you love than if you were to try other methods, such as reading or taking a nap alone.

Enhances Quality of Sleep

Sleep and sex both play critical roles in our overall health and well-being. When it comes to the relationship between sleep and sex, the two activities can complement each other in ways that enhance the quality of our rest. 

To begin with, sex helps relieve stress and anxiety. When stressed, it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, engaging in sexual activity has been shown to reduce stress levels, which in turn can lead to a better night’s sleep. 

Moreover, the sexual activity requires physical exertion, which can lead to feelings of physical exhaustion. This physical exhaustion can help to promote feelings of mental and physical relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep. 

Helps to Express Yourself and Your Desires

Sexual expression is a natural and important aspect of human life. It allows individuals to explore their desires and intimately connect with others. Engaging in sexual activity not only brings physical pleasure but also helps express one’s emotions, feelings, and desires.

Additionally, sexual expression can also serve as a way for individuals to explore their own desires and preferences. Engaging in different sexual experiences can help individuals better understand their own bodies, sexual needs, and what brings them pleasure. This self-exploration can lead to greater confidence in communication and the ability to express desires and boundaries with a partner.

Builds Trust and Commitment Between Partners

During sex, partners are often physically close to each other, and this physical proximity can do wonders in a relationship. When two people are sexually involved, they may feel more comfortable talking about their feelings, desires, and insecurities, which can help to create a deeper sense of understanding and emotional connection between them.

Sexual experiences can also deepen the connection between partners and reinforce the idea that they are a team. When partners engage in sexual acts, they work together to create a shared experience, making sense of mutual respect and commitment. This shared experience can also help reduce the stress and tension in a relationship and increase feelings of bonding and attachment.

Helps Resolve Conflict

When conflict arises, it can be easy for partners to feel attacked and defensive. But suppose they can find a way to move past that and focus on their physical and emotional connection. In that case, they may be able to work through their differences more effectively.

One way that sex can help resolve conflict is by providing a temporary escape from the issue at hand. When we’re in the moment, it’s easier to forget the problems causing stress and tension. This can allow partners to clear their minds and return to the situation with a fresh perspective.

In addition, sexual pleasure releases mood-boosting chemicals. Endorphins can help reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction. When partners feel good, they’re more likely to approach conflicts calmly and rationally.

Improves Self-Image

Having a healthy self-image is essential to living a happy and fulfilling life. A positive self-image can help us navigate our way through difficult times and enable us to take on challenges with greater confidence. Unfortunately, too many of us struggle to maintain a positive view of ourselves, but engaging in consensual sex can be an effective means of improving our self-image.

For starters, having sex with someone can build feelings of trust—both in oneself and one’s partner. Therefore, it helps create an atmosphere where one can feel appreciated and accepted the way they are. 

With this sense of security, one can start to see their body in a more positive light. It also boosts our confidence as it reinforces that we are desirable and attractive enough for another person to want to engage in sexual activity with us. 

On the Flip Side of the Coin,

Though sex is of great importance to couples who decide to make it a part of their relationship, this is not always the case. Sex is not necessary for everyone who’s in a relationship, and in fact, some relationships can be just as fulfilling without it.

There is a multitude of reasons why a person may choose not to engage in sexual activity with their partner, such as:

  • religious beliefs
  • health issues
  • personal preferences
  • age-related concerns

It’s important to note that these relationships can be just as valid, loving, and intimate as any other type of relationship. Love and intimacy can be expressed in many different ways, and it’s up to each individual and their partner to determine what works best for them. 

Relationships don’t follow a cookie-cutter mold. What works for one couple may not work for another, and that’s okay. As long as both partners are happy and fulfilled, that’s all that matters. So let’s celebrate the diversity and beauty of all relationships and embrace every creative way individuals do to connect with their someone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Do After Sex?

After having sex, it’s important to practice proper aftercare in order to maintain good physical, mental, and emotional health. Here is a guide for after-sex care:

• Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water can help replenish fluids lost during sexual activity and can also reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

• Clean up: Washing yourself and your genitals with soap and water can help reduce the risk of infections. You should also clean up any toys or props used during sexual activity to prevent the spread of bacteria.

• Practice safe sex: If you and your partner did not use a condom or other barrier method during sexual activity, you should consider getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

• Reflect on your experience: Take a moment to think about how you feel after the sexual experience. If you feel overwhelmed or have any concerns, it may be helpful to talk to a trusted friend or healthcare provider.

• Connect with your partner: If you had sexual activity with a partner, it’s important to talk to them about your experience and how you’re feeling. This can help maintain a strong and healthy relationship.

• Rest: Sex can be physically and emotionally draining, so getting plenty of rest and allowing your body to recover is essential.

What Is a Healthy Sex Life?

A healthy sex life can mean different things to different people, but there are a few key components that are important for everyone.

• Mutual consent: Both partners must be willing and enthusiastic about engaging in sexual activity.

• Communication: Open and honest communication is vital to a healthy sex life. This can include discussing sexual desires, boundaries, and any concerns.

• Diversity: Experimenting and exploring different forms of sexual expression is natural and can enhance a relationship.

• Safe sex: Protecting yourself and your partner against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy is crucial. This includes using barrier methods like condoms and regular STI testing.

• Physical pleasure: Sexual activity should be pleasurable and satisfying for both partners.

• Emotional connection: A healthy sex life often involves an emotional connection with your partner and a sense of intimacy.

• Respect: All partners should feel respected and valued in their sexual relationships. This includes respecting each other’s decisions about sexual activity and avoiding any form of coercion or violence.

• Physical and mental comfort: Engaging in sexual activity should not cause physical or emotional discomfort.

Takeaways

Sex is a crucial aspect of many relationships. It is a way to connect with your partner physically and emotionally and to express love and affection. When sex is good, it can deepen the connection between partners and bring them closer together.

However, it is important to note that not everyone values sex in the same way and not all relationships involve sex. Whether you value sex highly or not, what is most important is finding a relationship that works for you and your partner. Lastly, the key is to communicate openly and honestly about what you both want and need from each other.

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Clariza is a passionate writer and editor who firmly believes that words have great power. She has a degree in BS Psychology, which gives her an in-depth understanding of the complexities of human behavior. As a woman of science and art, she fused her love for both fields in crafting insightful articles on lifestyle, mental health, and social justice to inspire others and advocate for change.

In her leisure time, you can find her sitting in the corner of her favorite coffee shop downtown, deeply immersed in her bubble of thoughts. Being an art enthusiast that she is, she finds bliss in exploring the rich world of fiction writing and diverse art forms.