In a world where, in the US, for example, roughly half of all marriages eventually end in divorce, one should pay close attention to another alarming statistic, which is that 20% of men in America, on average, will admit to having had sex with someone other than their spouse while married, as well as 13% of women. Both are symptomatic of the hypothesis that many in relationship psychology are putting forward these days, which is that sexual frustration is one of the leading causes of divorce and relationship breakdown.
Why is Sex so Important?
It isn’t, right up until the point that you want it and are not getting it. In other words, it is not the absence of sex from one’s life that is psychologically damaging, but rather the rejection of one’s sexual interest. This rejection directly impacts self-esteem and strikes at the belief in one’s own attractiveness.
While in the context of a non-committed relationship, this may not be a bad thing, especially if sexual advances stem ultimately from a sense of overconfidence or arrogance, to be rejected by someone one is already in a committed relationship with is something else entirely, as it signals that all may not be well within that relationship.
Why Sexual Interest Fades with Time
Unfortunately, the happily ever after narrative is misleading when looking at real-life relationships, as getting together is not the end of the story but rather the beginning.
Like all good stories, there are trials, tribulations, conflicts, twists and turns, stakes and disappointments, and for some people, great tragedies – all of which take their toll on even the most smitten of couples. In addition, having sex with the same person, over and over again, without seeing any real change or nuance, can be boring – and the evidence speaks for itself on this.
Preventing Sexual Stagnation
However, it should also come as no surprise that those couples that survive tend to be those who take their sex lives seriously (though not too seriously) by actively and creatively adding to it as time goes on, as old fantasies fade and new ones develop.
Whether it is revealing new intimates upon an anniversary, roleplaying fictional characters and dramatic situations, or experimenting with various new toys, equipment and outfits, there is an inexhaustible reservoir of ways to express oneself sexually, provided one has the confidence to communicate this with an open-minded partner. That last part, unfortunately, is where so many marriages fall down – communication truly is the key to the bedroom.
Don’t Force The Marriage
However, it would be remiss not to point out that some marriages do need to end, for example, if your partner simply cannot give you what you need in that way, and this being something that you genuinely feel you cannot be without in your life. However, even then, it is far healthier for all involved to be open and honest about this rather than to secretly receive it from someone else behind your spouse’s back, as that never ends well.