Having sex for all the wrong reasons

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

John Drake, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Are you having sex for the right reasons?

The answer shouldn’t be rocket science, but if a recent University of Toronto study is any indication, you may want to give the ‘why’ you’re doing a bit of thought the next time you’re doing the no pants dance.

The study looked at the reasons people say they have sex with their partners and how these reasons affect their feelings of desire and happiness. The study found that when both people wanted to have sex, simply put, sex was just better. If they didn't, the reasons why they were doing it could actually be damaging their relationship.

“Sex plays an important role in overall relationship happiness,” says Dr. Amy Muise in a synopsis of the study. “But, is simply having sex enough to maintain a happy relationship?"

In the study, people's motivations for wanting sex were divided into two camps: Approach and avoidance. The approach category defined engaging in sex to achieve a positive outcome, such as feeling closer to a partner, whereas the avoidance category defined engaging in sex to avert negative feelings or situations in the relationship.

Just think, sometimes you may not be in the mood to have sex, but you also aren’t in the mood to fight so you have sex anyhow. Good decision, right? Not so much, according to the study.

“We found that having sex to avoid disappointing your partner is actually associated with partners reporting less desire and satisfaction,” added Muise. “Their partners have less positive sexual experiences and feel worse about the relationship.”

Having sex out of obligation or to meet expectations can be emotionally damaging and create feelings of guilt or resentment that will construct emotional barriers. Not only that, but if you aren’t into it, then chances are your partner won’t be either.

Sometimes it takes more time and effort to get your partner into the mood, but there are other times when they just aren’t feeling it. It should be no surprise that sex is best when both parties are on the same page but if you just aren’t in the mood it is better to say so.

I’ve been on both sides of this coin at various times and the conversation rarely goes smoothly. Open and honest communication is key to ensuring you aren’t hurting the other person’s feelings. Clearly state that you do like or love them and find them sexually attractive but are simply not in that frame of mind at the moment. Keep in mind that the ball is now in your court to be the initiator next time, otherwise your partner could lose patience or interest if such a situation continues.

While it seems taking one for the team is the right thing to do, having sex for what you think are the right reasons could actually be doing damage to your relationship. I’ve never been one to promote abstinence but sometimes abstaining may just be best for everyone.


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