What is the one thing we want and need most in relationships?
If you said sex … you’re wrong.
According to Ph.D Sue Johnson, inventor of Emotionally Focused therapy, secure couples only attribute 15-20% of their happiness to pleasing sex. So for happy relationships, sex is a small but important part of a tasty and satisfying pie. But for those in unhappy relationships, a full 50-70% of their misery is attributed to sexual dissatisfaction. Where is the disconnect?
Since sex is important to feeling close, unsatisfied partners come to the faulty assumption that sex is the culprit.
Since sex is important to feeling close, unsatisfied partners come to the faulty assumption that sex is the culprit. If they had more or better sex, then the relationship would also be better, so they reason. But what comes first—the relationship, or sex?
Recent studies have shown that people who have the highest sexual satisfaction and the most sex are married couples. This statistic defeats the commonly held notion that intimacy for couples must decrease with time, and that novel sexual encounters are the most satisfying.
The importance of emotional connection
In the context of a committed relationship, it is not novelty that determines satisfaction, but emotional connection.
The deeper you are able to connect with your partner emotionally, the more dynamic your sexual experience will be. The greater your emotional connection is with your partner, the more in tune you will be with their physical and sexual needs as well. Emotional connection requires the most sensitivity of any of our needs, so it is the most important connection to practice.
Emotional connection often fades in couples because it requires so much attention, and our lifestyles leave little room for it. Through our hectic work schedules and lives, we barely have enough time for our thoughts, let alone the feelings of our partners.
When we lose sensitivity to the emotional needs of our partners and ourselves, we tend to shut down physically—and sexually. Since emotions are the least known connection and the hardest to observe, we tend to place too much importance on sexuality and physicality in our problems.
Sexual dissatisfaction is the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, and never a cause of relationship problems itself.
For many people, decreased emotional connection is the root cause of their sexual problems. Sexual dissatisfaction is the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, and never a cause of relationship problems itself.
If you want to experience a deeper and richer sex life, try to re-establish a meaningful emotional connection with your partner.
What are emotions?
Because male culture has been so quick to dismiss feelings, many of us have entered into relationships with an emotional handicap that prevents deeper intimacy.
Because of an emotional disconnect, many women lose hope in themselves and their partners when all they need is an emotional breakthrough.
Males have come to take pride in how unaffected they are, and how they can overcome their emotions. Not crying has been viewed as a masculine trait, and not speaking about feelings has become standard for guys. But we all have emotions, even the toughest and hardest among us, and the more we repress them, the less able we are to connect with our partners and ourselves.
Emotion stems from the Latin root emovere, which means to move through or out. Emotions are what move you.
Emotion stems from the Latin root emovere, which means to move through or out. Emotions are what move you. Repressing emotions inhibits the flow of connection through you and out to other people.