How Important Is Sex In A Relationship? Sex Therapists Weigh In


Sex is not inherently more important to men than it is to women or other genders.

Sure, plenty of studies have found men are more likely to have a higher interest in sex than women do, and some research1 has shown sexual satisfaction has more impact on how happy a man is in his relationships than it does for women and their relationships. Men on average tend to have higher levels of testosterone2 than women do, and testosterone has a significant role in sexual desire and functioning. But male desire is far more complex than a blanket statement like “all men want sex.”

Men, like all of humanity, are not a monolith. Some men will have more desire for sex than others, and there are certainly relationships between men and women where the woman has the higher sex drive.

“We gender sexual desire, mostly as an extension of the sexism that over-polices women’s bodies and centers the needs of men in relationships,” says Francis. In other words, we push the narrative that men want sex, and women just put up, and the more we hear it, the more we internalize those stereotypes as inherent truths—which subconsciously impacts how we act and even how we feel, and can impact patterns on a societal level.

“Men are socialized to put heavy emphasis on sex as a primary vehicle for connection and intimacy, but that doesn’t mean that it is equally as important to each person,” Francis continues. “These scripts are limiting and create shame and fear for folks whose bodies, emotions, or relationships don’t fit comfortable within the narrative.”

But, she adds, “As we mature, unlearn miseducation, resist societal pressure, and get to know ourselves, we come to recognize our own individual relationship to sex.”


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