Sex is the strongest form of connection human beings can experience. It’s a very rare point in our lives when we are truly and completely naked with another soul on many different levels. I’m not talking casual sex. I’m talking sex where love is involved. I’m talking sex where you see fireworks, rainbows, and shooting stars. Sex where you falling asleep wondering what you’re going to make for breakfast together the next morning. This connection with another soul is magnificent. It’s a connection unlike anything else in the world. Sex is a powerful way to show love and affection. The act fortifies two souls connecting and communicating.

I would hope that most of what I’ve said thus far is something you’ve heard before. Been there done that; got the tee-shirt. What else is new? Here’s something that’s been done before too: they didn’t do the dishes, help with the laundry, cook dinner, or buy me flowers, so no sex tonight. Suddenly, intimacy is less about love and more about a punishment and reward system. We are reinforced with the idea that sex is power everywhere we look. We see commercials where boobs sell the cheeseburger and car. A nice pair of legs will get you a great deal on a sofa set. We laugh during sitcoms where the husband gets kicked out of bed to sleep on the sofa after a fight. There are entire movies based on the storyline of a woman withholding sex from a man to punish him. It’s funny; it’s entertaining; it’s ruining your sex life.

Withholding sex because you’re disappointed or angry with your significant other is withholding love and affection. You’re attempting to take control of the intimate connection that makes the other person feel assured and confident in the relationship. You’re making them feel insecure. It’s a dynamite way to gain power. It’s also a dynamite way to ruin sex and your relationship for good. This habit creates a punishment system that makes the absence of love retribution for perceived bad acts. Your sex life is no longer a way share your deepest emotions; it’s become a false sense of empowerment you will attempt to wield to get what you want. That’s not sexy. Here’s a better way to get what you want: ask for it. I know; I know. It sounds too easy but hear me out. When you need your significant other to help you with the chores, show you more affection, or buy you nice things, ask for it. If the answer is no, then the relationship you’re in isn’t meeting your needs, and it’s time to move on. If the answer is yes, then you get what you need and a great sex life. Sex will remain a hot, steamy, way to connect with your lover.

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We’re talking about communication in isn’t most basic form. Asking for what you want is much more effective and healthy. You can’t expect someone to read your mind. That’s the oldest trick in the book, and by “trick” I mean pit fall down a dark hole that will lead to a life of constant disappointment, resentment, and dissatisfaction in your relationships. Therefore, when you’re angry because you didn’t get something you didn’t ask for, it isn’t fair to the person who wasn’t able to provide for your unspoken needs. When you withhold sex from someone who doesn’t know that they didn’t meet your expectations, you’re setting up a barrier. This barrier prevents the healthy communication of needs. It also serves to anger the other half of the relationship. Sex is a vulnerable state. Being turned down when you want to have sex with someone is an awful feeling. You feel awful because you didn’t get that bouquet of roses; your lover feels awful because they didn’t get that connection they may need to feel secure and loved. Everyone feels awful, and no one wants to feel that way for long.

The solution: communication. Communicate with yourself. Make a list of wants in your relationship. Make a list of needs in your relationship. There is a huge difference between the two. Wants are things you can live without most of the time, but they would be nice to have when you’re feeling insecure or uneasy. Your needs are things you can’t live without. You need these things to feel secure and loved. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Are you getting what you want from your relationship? How about what you need? Ask your partner to make the same list. When you’re both ready, share your lists. This is a great way to put your expectations out there very clearly. If your wants and needs are something your partner can’t provide, it’s time to move on. However, when you make your communication clear and honest, I’m willing to bet that your partner will more than willing to provide.

 

Heather Carnahan