5 Reasons Good Sex is Important for Your Marriage

Man's and woman's hands in bed. Sex is important in marriage.

Many couples fight about sex. Or if you don’t fight about it, it’s a frequent source of tension. One wants it, the other doesn’t. You don’t agree on what sexual activities are desirable. You come to resent your spouse’s sexual desire or lack thereof. As God intended it, married sex is not an afterthought or optional. Good sex is important for your relationship in several ways.

I wish I didn’t have to, but I must quickly emphasize that you are not entitled to sex. God did not promise you a good sex life if you got married. Using Scripture as a club to demand your rights is always wrong! Toxic marriage and marital rape is destructive and God is not pleased.

That said, if you are not pursuing physical intimacy in your marriage you’re missing out on what God designed marriage to be. God designed marriage, and sex within marriage, to be a physical demonstration on earth of the whole-person intimacy He experiences within Himself and that He desires to have with us. He is the model.

Whole-person intimacy in marriage takes work. It doesn’t just happen! That may mean you have to deal with some deep personal hang-ups around sex and intimacy, or fight to kick porn out of your marriage. The unfinished business in your relationship will need intentional work. And you’ll need to keep studying and learning about your spouse, about intimacy, and about sex.

Why do all that? Because your marriage needs nourishment or it will die. Sex is not the only nourishment it needs, but here are five ways good sex is important for your relationship.

  1. You Learn About Yourselves and Each Other

Marriage, and married sex in particular, highlights both the good and the still-working-on parts of both of you. What do you really want? How are you hiding? What are you afraid of? What are your hidden motivations? Are you truly available for intimacy? Where are you empty or broken? What lies have you come to believe? What baggage did you bring from your family of origin or from past relationships?

You also learn the good things. What makes you aroused, happy, fulfilled? What makes your spouse feel that way? How can you help fill each other up? To experience how you as a man or a woman truly impact your spouse in the deepest part of their being becomes both sobering and empowering.

  1. Your Attachment to Each Other is Strengthened

Biologically, bonding hormones including oxytocin are released in large quantities during sexual intimacy. The bond between you incorporates the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. One couple who had done the hard work of rebuilding their relationship after betrayal said that sex becomes an important glue holding the two of you together.

Good married sex builds memories as well–not just of intercourse, but of all the other things surrounding the experience. And those memories are paired with the bonding chemicals sex releases. So when a particular smell, the sound of waves, a certain song, etc. comes to your brain the feeling of attachment to your spouse is neurologically strengthened.

(Note: if sex is traumatic or painful, the bond between you is weakened, not strengthened.)

  1. You Learn to Solve Problems Together

Every single couple will have struggles around sex and intimacy. No exceptions. It’s what you do next that counts. Pursuing a good married sex life pushes you to deal with those problems both as an individual and as a couple. By doing so you learn to work together, to focus on solutions, to extend grace to each other. You learn what “mutual” is all about.

Pursuing good married physical intimacy also requires you learn skills such as communication, attunement to your spouse’s heart, and expressing your own needs and desires. You learn to negotiate in ways that meet deep needs for both of you. Those skills help you in solving other problems together beyond sex as well.

  1. Your Individual Souls are Nourished

Sex holds many different gifts for a healthy couple, and these gifts become more fulfilling over the years. A couple who pursues physical intimacy for a lifetime is likely to hit their sexual prime 10, 20, or more years after they first said “I do.” Fun, comfort, celebration, satisfaction, solace, re-connection after conflict, adventure, joy–these are just some of the gifts available.

And you carry yourself differently 24/7 when your married sex life is good. Look around at the people you know; you can probably predict with considerable (not complete) accuracy who is or is not having a good married sex life. Both husband and wife go into the world with a deeper sense of resilience and personhood when the whole-person intimacy between you is strong.

  1. Your Spiritual Connection is Strengthened

This is both the spiritual connection with your spouse and your spiritual connection with God. As human beings we need deep connection to grow and thrive, and if you’re married good married sex is part of this. You experience being seen and known in the deepest and most complete way, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and that brings healing and grows healthy brain pathways.

And when experienced as God designed it to be, married sex demonstrates the intimacy He desires to have with you personally. Whole-person intimacy, including the physical, gives your brain the message, “Vulnerability is good. I can be seen and known, and loved anyway.” And those brain pathways become available to experience the same kind of intimacy with God. That’s a big part of why He invented sex and marriage in the first place.

If Your Married Sex is Not Good

If you’re not having sex with your spouse frequently or if the physical intimacy between you is not nourishing both of you, it’s not good. That’s not a reason to give up, to quit sex, or to look for gratification elsewhere. Sex outside of marriage, including porn, will never give you what good married sex will. You can live without sex. Jesus did.

But your marriage will not thrive without good sex. (That may or may not be intercourse.) Let the ache in your heart stimulate you to do the hard work in your own soul first, and to then work on the unfinished business between you and your spouse. That may take longer and require more of you than you thought you had to give. But that’s what marriage is about. This is what Learning to Love Well looks like.

Your Turn: How is good sex nourishing your relationship? If it’s not, what next step are you going to take in pursuing healing and intimacy with your spouse? Leave a comment below.

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Could Your Married Sex Life Improve?

My new book Sexpectations: Reframing Your Good and Not-So-Good Stories About God, Love, and Relationships will help!

This book is not about tips and tricks for a better married sex life. It IS about what’s going on in your heart. This book will help you:

  • reinterpret your sexual story with honesty and compassion
  • find freedom from shame, compulsive behaviors, past harm, and hiding
  • redefine the way you look at God, sex, love, and relationships
  • orient your sexuality as God intended and embrace what He has for your future
  • experience Jesus coming right into the middle of your story to bring healing and wholeness

Check out our new Sexpectations website where you can find related resources, download a free chapter of the book, and order the book for yourself.