Why do we need sex?
Sex is a basic human need and is important for emotional well-being. On a physical level, having good, healthy sex is beneficial for your health. It helps you have:
- Less depression and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Better heart health
- Lower risk for heart disease
- A better immune system
- Pain relief
- Better sleep
- Less stress
- Greater self-esteem
Part of these positive effects happen because your body releases hormones like oxytocin during sex, which boost your mood and make you feel great.
That said, studies show us that it’s not necessarily the act of sex by itself that is so beneficial. In fact, sex through masturbation doesn’t give you as high of a hormone release as sex with your partner.
You’ll still get some benefits either way, but sex in a loving relationship causes greater physical and emotional benefits.
How does sex make a relationship stronger?
Safe sex in loving relationships leads to greater happiness and well-being for individuals and couples. It’s not just sex that is important, though. Instead, it’s the affection that sex brings to your relationship.
In several large studies, researchers have found that regular kissing, hugging, and touching between you and your partner make stronger relationships. It promotes intimacy, which is the feeling of closeness and connectedness that helps build trust and safety.
Cuddling and affection can even have physical benefits. Your body will release those feel-good hormones even when you don’t have an orgasm. Simple things like sex talk and kissing can give you a hormone boost.
Moreover, while sex helps build closeness, affection also leads to healthy sex. It’s a two-way street that leads to positive emotions. When you’re having sex and engaging in sexual activities, you’re likely to feel happier and more satisfied in your relationship. Your relationship is consequently likely to be stronger. At the same time, when you feel close to your partner, you’re also more likely to have sex.
Women tend to need emotional connection and closeness to be in the mood, but both men and women need intimacy in general. Higher amounts of intimacy are linked to higher sexual desire and more sex for both male and female partners in long-term relationships.
How much sex should a couple have?
Lots of people assume that more sex means better relationships, and that’s true, but only up to a point. Studies have found that partners who have sex once a week are happier and have more satisfied relationships than those who only have sex once a month. Having more than that, though, isn’t always better.
Quality of sex also matters. A 2016 study talked to different groups of partners who had satisfying sex once or twice a week versus those who had terrible sex once or twice a week. The people who were having a lot of great sex had were doing better.
- Were more in sync with each other
- Had a greater sense of love
- Had a greater sense of affection
- Displayed more variety in sex activities
Is it okay to have sex every day?
So, the billion-dollar question: 365 nights of sex—can it strengthen a marriage, and is it healthy? If you consent to daily sex and you enjoy it, you can have sex every day. The research shows that more than once a week doesn’t necessarily make your relationship better, though.
Research also shows that lots of sex when you’re single isn’t always better, either. This is probably because close relationships are a key to happiness apart from sex and because sex when you’re single is more complicated.
Can sex revive your relationship?
There are many factors to healthy and satisfying relationships, including respect and good communication. Sometimes, you might feel distant or disconnected from your partner, like you've grown apart.
If so, you’re not alone. Many people have this experience, and it can be caused by different things, including:
- Having babies or small children, which leads to less private time, as well as exhaustion
- Working long hours and having less time together
- A longer relationship where the newness has worn off
- Poor communication
A dip in your relationship can lead to less sex, but lots of people also stop having sex without having a relationship breakdown.
Sex is important even so, and it can bolster your partnership and your sense of well-being, though it’s not a cure for problems. The key is affection.
Studies show that as long as you keep love alive and active in your relationship, you can balance out the effects of not having sex. These studies also show that if you have a lull in your sex life, turning up your affection can bring your sex life back.
Sex matters in your relationship, but quality, love, affection, and communications are more important than the amount of sex.
- Your Child Is Sick. Do You Call Your Doctor or Head to the ER?
- Mental Health Care Shortage Could Play Role in U.S. Youth Suicides
- Shopping Black Friday for TVs, Furniture? Don't Forget the Tip-Over Kit
- Keeping Thanksgiving Day Kitchens Safe for the Whole Family
- All the Flavor, Better Health: Holiday Dinner Ingredient Swaps That Work
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: "The associations of intimacy and sexuality in daily life."
Oregon Health & Science University Center for Women's Health: "The Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life."
University of Alabama: "Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships."
University of California Berkley - The Greater Good Science Center: "Are You Having Enough Sex?" "Why Sex Is So Good for Your Relationship."
University of Florida: "Will Having More Sex Improve Your Relationship?"
Top Does Sex Make a Relationship Stronger Related Articles
30 Reasons Why People Have SexSince ancient times, the reasons people have sex have been assumed to be few and simple. However, several proposed theories suggest reasons to perform the carnal act may be larger in number and psychologically complex.
4 Sex Topics You Should Discuss With Your PartnerOne-on-one contact, empathy, and emotional connections are all usually very important in establishing sexual intimacy. Four sex topics you should discuss with your partner include physical limitations, gender history, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and religious upbringing.
7 Most Erogenous Zones On a WomanEveryone has sensitive touchpoints or erogenous zones on their bodies. The seven most erogenous zones on a woman are the ears, fingertips and palms, nipples, inner thighs, clitoris, A-spot, and the bottom of the feet.
Do Men or Women Feel More Pleasure During Sex?Everyone feels pleasure differently during sex. Both men and women can feel great pleasure during sex.
Does Use It or Lose It Apply to Sex?While it's normal for your sex life to slow down as you get older, sexual health is important at any age. When it comes to sex, the saying, "use it or lose it," applies to both men and women.
Is It Normal to Have Sex Every Day?Sex is known to be a proven stressbuster that elevates your mood instantly, and yes, it is completely normal to have sex every day. There are phases in life when you have sex more frequently.
Healthy Aging: Better Sex After 50`It's never too late to improve your sex life. Learn how older adults can overcome common health conditions affecting seniors over 50 such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis in order to have a healthy sex life.
Sex & Love QuizRelationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex & Love Quiz to challenge yourself on healthy human sexuality!
Sex-Drive KillersNoticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can cause low sex drive in men and women.
Sexual Problems in MenMale sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical or psychological problems. Common sexual problems in men include erectile dysfunction (impotence or ED), premature ejaculation, and loss of libido. Treatment for sexual dysfunction in men may involve medication, hormone therapy, psychological therapy, and the use of mechanical aids.
Female Sexual ProblemsSexual dysfunction refers to a problem that arises during any phase of the sexual response cycle, preventing an individual or couple from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Physical, medical, and psychological conditions may affect sexual functioning, resulting in inhibited sexual desire, inability to become aroused, lack of orgasm, and painful intercourse. Treating the underlying physical and psychological problems usually resolves most female sexual problems.
Sexual AddictionThe term sex addiction describes the behavior of someone who has an unusually strong sex drive or sexual obsession. Sex and thoughts of sex dominate a sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships. Sex addicts may engage in exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitution, compulsive masturbation, or cybersex. Treatment for sex addiction includes individual counseling, marital and/or family therapy, support groups, 12-step recovery programs, and in some cases, medications.
Habits of Couples Who Have Great SexWant better intimacy and connection with your partner? Try these habits of couples who enjoy great sex.
Benefits of SexHow would you like a stronger immune system or better sleep? Action between the sheets can help you get all of this and more. Read on to discover the surprising health benefits of sex.
What Causes Low, Normal, and High Sex DrivesYour sex drive, also called your libido, refers to how much you would like to have sex. Low, normal, and high sex drives may be due to hormones, medical problems, medications, mental health issues, and other factors.