Physical needs – the importance of sex in a relationship

September 30th, 2022

physical needs and intimacy in relationships

Importance of Sex

Sex is an extremely personal and unique thing for each person. 

Some want it, some don’t. 

Some like this, other’s don’t like that.

It is completely down to personal preference and it is important to advocate what you do and don’t want when it comes to physical needs and intimacy in relationships – communication and consent are the priority, nothing can happen without them. It is important to stress that every relationship and personal circumstances of the individuals involved is different, and thus sex or physical intimacy will be different. 

Sex is not a necessity for a healthy relationship, however for those who decide they do want to further explore their sexual and sensual selves, sexual intimacy between consenting adults can be a truly wonderful and fulfilling experience. There are both physical and emotional benefits to engaging in sexual activity, some of which include:

  • aiding in physical health and maintenance – there is evidence to suggest that frequent sex can help to improve cognitive and immune function, heart health, and can also work as a form of pain relief in some instances.
  • exercise – studies show that sex can actually be quite a good form of exercise.
  • building a bond – becoming physically intimate with someone is an extremely personal experience; you are sharing and exploring each other’s bodies up close and personal – discovering what feels good, both giving and receiving pleasure. Sex can allow you to experience another person(s) in a unique and intimate way, and thus can result in a greater sense of trust and connection.
  • stress-reliever – a feel-good hormone cocktail of endorphins and oxytocin is released during sexual intimacy, and can leave you feeling less anxious and more relaxed.
  • can improve and strengthen self-confidence and connection with our own bodies and desires – while we often think sex is just about connecting with another person(s), it is in fact one of the best ways in which we can learn more about ourselves. Getting in touch with your body – what feels good, how it reacts to certain touch – is one of the greatest benefits of sex, and feeling able to communicate your wants and desires to a partner can lead to greater feelings of confidence, fulfilment and empowerment.

It is important to also note that sex does not simply imply intercourse. Sexual acts and intimacy cover a vast spectrum of levels of touch and connection. Every one of us is completely unique, and so it stands to reason that our sexual and sensual needs and wants will vary. Everyone’s definition of sex will be unique to them – for some, penetrative intercourse will be their preference, while others may engage in sex through mediums such as kissing, sensual touch or massage, sensual conversation and so on. Sex does not simply look one way.

Medical conditions (both physical and mental), medications, libido/sex drive, stress and relationship-led tension, past experiences and trauma, hormonal fluctuations and age can all significantly impact someone’s wants or ability to engage in sexual activity, at whatever level.

It may come to light that the sexual desires and drives of a partner may not align or be compatible with your own. It can be difficult to continue in such a relationship when the wants and needs of those involved are so different, for example one person may have a high sex drive, while others may be more tentative when it comes to sexual activity or touch in any capacity. Neither way is right or wrong, but if you find that a partner’s sexual desires are making you uncomfortable of giving you the feeling that you are perhaps ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ it is important to communicate and acknowledge these feelings with one another to avoid discomfort from any party.

The best way to create connection with someone else is to have an open line of communication with one another, being sure to listen to their boundaries and sensitivities. At any point during sex, someone may decide that they no longer want to continue – when this is expressed in whatever way, it must be respected.

Starting the conversation can be the hardest thing, and so asking respectful questions or offering suggestions as to how you could work together with a partner is a great way of opening up that solid line of communication:

  • Checking in – asking how someone is, what is on their mind, how they are feeling can be the catalyst for open conversation. Someone may have felt nervous or unable to speak about what they are going through, and so being sure to keep checking in with one another is vital.
  • Sharing what you have noticed and asking how you can help – letting a partner know in a gentle and non-judgemental manner what you have noticed within your relationship, whether pertaining to their behaviour or just a general noticing of something being amiss in the relationship, acknowledging these things allows for everyone involved to have a look at how it has all been going and to focus in in on any areas that may need attention.
  • Offering a safe space to explore – whether it is introducing different elements into your sexual intimacy (e.g. foreplay, sex toys, various positions), matching pace with your partner(s) or simply sitting and talking about what each party wants, if all parties feel comfortable to explore and discover new ways of being together it can make for a more trusting and connected bond.

Here at the Therapy Room we are committed to helping clients maintain safe, healthy sexual lives and relationships with both their partner(s) and themselves. By offering an open, non-judgemental space in which individuals or partnered people can feel at ease to share their wants, needs, desires and fears surrounding sex, we aim to get you back to good, whatever good looks like for you.

Founder Jay L Pink Ad.Prof.Dip MBACP PC MNCS (ACC) established The Therapy Room to offer high quality, expert counselling and therapy services to men and women of all ages, as well as to couples for relationship and partner counselling and groups for corporate and family therapy. Jay’s commitment to anyone visiting The Therapy Room is to unconditionally respect values, lifestyle, background and beliefs, offering a discreet and professional service tailored to their needs.

Our physical and mental needs or experiences can impact how we move forward in further relationships. The Therapy Room is here to support you on your journey to self and partnered sexual exploration and discovery, listening and guiding you to become your most empowered self.