To Have Sex, Or Not to Have Sex?
In a perfect world, we'd only have sex out of love and to increase intimacy. And yet, many have sex for different reasons: to relieve tension, out of guilt, to avoid conflict. One study asked, is it better for couples to get down and get it over with it, or not even bother?
Canadian researchers have found that in most cases it's better for couples to have sex than to avoid it, even if you're not the mood. But, you'll find, there's a caveat.
Two University of Toronto studies published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin have found two main reasons why couples in a long-term relationship or marriage have sex: approach and avoidance. The positive (or the "approach" reason) is to feel closer to a partner. The other is negative (or the "avoidance" reason) is to avoid an argument or out of guilt.
For the study, 108 heterosexual couples completed daily surveys for two weeks about their sex lives. After sex, they answered 26 questions about why they had sex, such as "To prevent my partner from becoming upset" or "To feel better about myself." They also charted how satisfied they were in their relationship.
The results, as Wall Street Journal reports: "On days when a person's motivation to have sex is more positively oriented, he or she felt more satisfied—both in the relationship and sexually—and had a higher level of desire. Conversely, on days when someone was motivated to have sex by more negative goals, he or she felt less satisfied and less desire."
The ultimate reason why you have sex heavily influences how happy you are in your relationship. So yes, it's better for couples to have guilt-ridden sex than not at all -- but you already know that you're not doing anyone any favors. If you're at that point with your partner, it's best you talk about it.
Do you and your partner have guilt sex?