Sex is important or why sexual incompatibility shouldn't be suffered

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Whenever people like me give the advice to end a relationship due to sexual incompatibility, there’s always a group of people screaming that bad or absent sex is something you should just endure for love. Honestly, that’s complete horseshit. Sex may not be the most important part of a committed relationship, but it’s still pretty dang important. We deserve more from our romantic relationships than martyrdom.

Although people like to simplify sex into a craven act of debauchery, it’s really an activity that serves many purposes. Depending on the situation, it’s a pleasant hello, breathtaking goodbye, time-waster, expression of love, sport, comfort blanket, game, gift, fourth-meal or bonding experience. Oh, some people also use it for making smaller mash-ups of themselves. Put simply, sex is really important and it’s perfectly fine to need it.

Despite its importance, sex alone isn’t enough to maintain a long-term relationship. It’s equally true that commitment alone can’t always satisfy one’s soul-wrenching hunger for physical closeness. For the vast majority of people, a fulfilling life requires both.

Because emotional intimacy and romance are seen as generally good, going without them is seen as a problem. Sex and other “decadent” necessities, on the other hand, are often seen as an uncivilized indulgence; therefore, going without it isn’t a problem at all. If sex is something a person wants or needs, going without it is most certainly a problem.

Just like extreme hunger and thirst, extreme sexual desire can cause incredible physical and emotional pain. When that pain is paired with the feelings of longing, helplessness and rejection from one’s only approved source of sexual satisfaction and validation, it can feel like and be a slow, painful death. I simply fail to see how murdering one’s soul, light and bliss could ever result in happiness.  

In our culture, we have this idea that pleasure should only be a reward for suffering. Run 6 miles, “I deserve a cookie.” Eat a cookie because cookies are fucking awesome, “that greedy, fat bitch.” Despite what our Jesus-centric culture tells us, we don’t have to sacrifice everything that makes us feel alive for love. We also don’t need to seek anyone’s approval for making the most of our lives.

Living without fulfillment and pleasure doesn't make you a good person, just as wanting to truly live doesn’t make you a bad one. It is what it is. Even though society puts a lot of pressure on us to put our needs on the back burner to make the relationship a “success,” the truth is that no one gives a shit about our feelings.

Just as with the anti-abortion nut jobs, those who pressure you to stay in unfulfilling relationships only want to shame and punish you for daring to live by your own rules. They want you to despair for having the gall to satisfy your natural and irrevocable drives. Frankly, I think that’s absolutely ass-backwards and unacceptable. Everyone has the right to live their truth. Seeking sexual satisfaction is our birthright.

With every long-term relationship, there will be ebbs and flows in sexual desire and activity. Sometimes, this is survivable; other times, it’s relationship-ending. Knowing the difference and taking action to stop the bleeding isn’t selfish, it’s life-saving. 

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