Is Sex Important to a Relationship?

Above: Tseday Aberra is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.
She has a private practice in California. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Dr. Tseday Aberra

Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Los Angeles (Tadias) – Nature has decided that men are more susceptible to sex than women. Women are blessed with taming their sexual appetites far efficiently than men. So when you ask women why they marry, they tell you it is for the affection and companionship. Men also tell you for companionship, but it is primarily for the availability of sex. Affection and companionship in a marriage includes sex for men. But I’m not so sure it is so for women.

People say marriage is difficult. Wrong. I say a husband and a wife make it difficult. Marriage is difficult for anyone who fails to understand what it means to be in one, and what it takes to make it fulfilling. It takes commitment and work, indeed, but it is certainly not difficult. At least it does not have to be.

Marriage requires understanding. It is an agreement based on an understanding between a husband and a wife. It is an entity that is created in order to give them meaning that otherwise does not exist. This meaning is completely subjective since its foundation is based on the unique agreement created by the two in the marriage. It requires both to participate and contribute willingly and completely. Otherwise, it would not exist in fulfilling form.

No one can definitely tell you what marriage is and what it is suppose to mean other than what I have just told you. You make of it what you want. The difficulty that comes with this freedom is knowing the limitations of what you can make of it. You cannot make it yours nor can he make it his. It belongs to you both. Once it is created, it has its own life and its purpose is to give you meaning. To create it, however, both of you are required to provide certain instruments that will keep it alive and fulfilling. These instruments are not negotiable. Among all of them, the most important is sex.

When a husband and wife decide to settle down, after having picked a mate of their choosing, what they do to keep each other depends on how committed they are to fulfilling the agreement. Their commitment in contributing the necessary instruments in giving life to the marriage and maintaining its viability is most crucial.

Times have changed. The 21st century has leveled the playing field so that the only thing a husband and a wife require from each other is companionship. The one element that will not be equalized, however, is a husband’s need to go to his wife for sex. Therefore, a husband comes into a marriage, having lost all his bargaining power, with a promise of one thing and one thing only: sexual companionship. A wife who is committed to her marriage ought to know the position of her husband. She ought to know his predicament. Being in a powerful position, a wife ought to know her husband is at her complete mercy. She also ought to know how she uses her power determines the vitality of the marriage.

If by some chance, a wife does not care to her husband’s needs enough and often, he will have a hard time acknowledging whether there is a relationship tailored to meet his benefits. Now remember, a husband comes into a marriage willingly, and should also be willing to give all that he has. He has volunteered to commit and participate. And in return, he expects sex. When I say all that the husband has to give, it encompasses all the instruments he contributes to create and maintain the marriage. A husband will not hold back whatever is needed to make his marriage a place of sanctity.

A wife comes into this marriage expecting affection and companionship. However, she has to come with a special instrument in particular. Yes, there are other instruments that she has to bring also, but…on a serious note…, she has to bring one thing…the IT…and the willingness to use IT and make IT available. Without going into detail what a husband brings as instruments to create and maintain a marriage because they are not as important as what the wife brings specifically, the instrument that a wife brings is by far the most essential piece of the marriage. The IT is sacred and essential. If you toy with IT, you will lose the marriage. If you hold on to IT, you will lose the marriage. If you ration IT, you will lose the marriage. Guaranteed!

Having already lost his bargaining power, a husband comes into the marriage knowing and hating to be in a position where he has to rely completely on his wife for sex. When she rations sex, a husband learns that his dear wife is conniving, selfish, mean, but most of all, untrustworthy. He realizes that his wife holds all the cards of intimacy and that she can always put him back in his place. Not as a man but as a husband, he sadly realizes that he cannot rely on her. His trust is broken.

Very often a wife forgets that her vindictive behavior leaves a scar on her husband that she cannot remedy at a later time. After a fight, there is a whole lot of “forgiving” that takes place by both, but very little of “forgetting” by the husband especially. What your husband would not forget is that one of the most crucial instruments that is required to create and maintain a fulfilling marriage is actually negotiable, and that it depends on the whimsy of a wife that he just found out to be conniving, selfish, and mean.

Let me tell you, dear wife, once such a doubt creeps into your husband, not only would you lose him, but definitely you would lose your marriage. Take it from me, there is no therapy in this world that will bring back the marriage.

Next time, before you decide to hold on to sex because you had a point to make, think a moment and realize what is REALLY at stake.

About the Author:
Dr. Tseday Aberra is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist. She has a private practice in the greater Los Angeles area and also works for the California Department of Corrections. She holds M.S. in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling and A Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is recognized as an expert by California Superior Courts and gives seminars nationwide on marriage, relationships, and friendship. She has made a guest appearance on Court TV.

11 Responses to “Is Sex Important to a Relationship?”

  1. 1 Workeneh (Goldie) Nov 3rd, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    As a man, I agree with you 100% Doctor. You have hit “IT” right on the head. I wish my girlfriend can read this!

    Nothing but Love,
    Goldie (Workeneh)

  2. 2 Jara Tekleab Nov 4th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Dear Dr Tseday
    I am so happy to read your article and excited to share this to my x-girl friend the one I loved and lost our relationship because of the same reason. I fwd your article to her and I hope she will learn from it.

    Thank you very much for putting this article and you made my day :)

    Jara Tekleab From MI

  3. 3 Rahel Nov 4th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Well, well, well. I think the Doc is biased towards men. Come on Girl, I think “IT” is essential to keep the man on his toes. He has to earn “IT” each and every time! :-)

    That’s my two cents and my strategy in life :-)

    Thanks, I kind of learned something and was very entertained.


  4. 4 Teshome Nov 4th, 2009 at 2:13 pm


    Thank you for a wonderful article especially important to our community. The power play you described is right on the money. However, I must respectfully disagree with your assumption that a wife comes into this marriage only “expecting affection and companionship”. Both expectations are fully shared by a man and a woman. However, the need for physical intimacy, I believe is also on both lists as well. I agree the top on the list could be different for the two. The “IT” has a lot of TLC needs as well in this arrangement. I am not sure if your pool of sample focused heavily on girls in our community that were born before the revolution, the do-not-even-think-about-messing-with-the-IT revolution that is, or commonly known as stop FGM.


  5. 5 tt Nov 6th, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Deal all,

    I don’t like the overall message of the article as it is far from reality.

    The message seems to greatly emphasize the high need of sex for men than women in a relationship/marriage. But I don’t think at all that women are not as sexual as men.They too give great emphasize to it. But the difference is that women just need time and space before having sex. Men tend to focus on sex more when they are in stress or are feeling bad. They often use sex as stress reliever. To fully enjoy sex they want to clear their mind. I think for women, however, sex doesn’t just start in the bedroom. So the idea that ‘wifes come into marriage expecting affection and companionship’ implies they give less priority to sex than men.

    I believe everything in life is difficult. What makes marriage even more difficult is the inability and lack of strength of the couple to keep promises of marriage. What eases this situation is the willingness to respect each other’s opinion and communicate patiently. It may not necessarily lead into an agreement, but it may lead into the conclusion to respect and accept each other’s differences. So, yes, marriage is not easy because there will always be differences b/n the two….

    Paragraph eight does not make sense, but paragraph 10 worries me. Men want sex when they feel sex? Accept this and even do what he loves, not to mention your interest and timetable to having it? Women do not need to apologize for not wanting to have sex as frequently as men. They can simply tell the man they don’t want to have sex as often as him. Men respect your opinion. You are his partner and not his sex toy. You did not come into the marriage so you can run into the bed room whenever he wants sex.

    Thanks to modern therapy, there are many ways to bring your marriage to happiness . Don’t give up on your marriage. Experienced therapists can help you. Just ask.

  6. 6 Brooks Nov 7th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    In short, I can say the most important sources of potential happiness for a man are Productive Work & Romantic Love. Through productive work, man controls his existence. Through his Romantic Love, man gets his ultimate emotional reward .While the enjoyment of productive work is the satisfaction of pleasure of mind, he has to have romantic love to have pleasure, which is unique among pleasures in its integration of mind & body including his perception, emotion, value & thought .It offer him intense experience of his deepest inner self which force him to offer a loved object as possessing /embodying, once as highest value a women .I agree with Tseday human relation is difficult because human mind is impossible to inspect. Thanks.

  7. 7 girly Jan 22nd, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Its true that men are naturally more active to sex than women do.However, far as they r equal partners,if he wants to get sex, he must first win her heart. This is all about the game. If he wins her heart, there is no reason she is not all his in the bed room. This is also impt for her orgasm too. Sex without love is like an abusive character.To win her heart mean a lottt.Starting from asking her how her day was, to forplay.Bcos for women sex includes all those activities outside the bed room.

  8. 8 triplev Feb 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    The author of this aticle puts all the responsibility in a marriage on the wife. However, a husband must show his wife affection on a regular basis–if not his wife will resent the marriage. The wife has no other alternative than to get the kisses and hugs, and other signs of affection from her husband. She is the true hostage and is the abused one if she does not receive love and affection each day! A husband should not expect a wife to want to have sex if she has to not only work outside the home, but do all the work in a marriage and then receive no relief or satisfaction (the sitiuation most married women are in these days). This is the daily grind that cause many women to become bitter and resentful in a marriage. A husband has to realize that he must bring something to the table or he does not deserve to eat.

    With all the unending exhausting work that women have to put into a relationship lest they “lose their man” and get little or nothing in return, I thank God I’m single!!!

  9. 9 abruptito Feb 28th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    As a man I must admit I like the idea of the article even if I might have to admit that some parts of the message might be a little unrealistic.

    I have been in relationships where sex was readily available and also where it was nonexistent. The nonexistence of sex contributed to the end of one relationship. The abundance of sex didn’t save another.

    For me it is not reasonable to expect that my girlfriend is going to want or be available every time I want sex, and vice versa. I can feel satisfied if my girlfriend says no, even most of the time. I have a high sex drive and understand if she is not going to want it every time I do.

    What I think the author is referring to is the idea of sex being used as a bargaining chip or as part of a power ploy within a relationship. When a man feels this is the case he will start to detach from the relationship. Personally I like the idea that even if my girfriend says no, if she could sense that I really wanted it badly, not only would she give in, she would enjoy it, or at least make me feel like she did.

    I was in a relationship for years where the girl did not feel ready for sex. She was an adult virgin (23-27 when we dated). Over time, my confidence both in the relationship and myself started to dwindle. After a bit I started to ask for a reason. She never claimed to be waiting until marriage, she claimed to be waiting until she “was ready”.

    A good relationship is based on the idea that both partners are vulnerable and maybe even a little bit codependent on each other for there emotional needs. I would hope that when my girlfriend needs emotional support, or sex, she would come to me and feel like I provided that for her without any strings attached. I would hope that when I need sex, or emotional support, from my girlfriend she would provide that for me without any strings attached.

  10. 10 Marriage Counselling Los Angeles Jun 3rd, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Sex is very important in a relationship!!

  11. 11 thrifty32 Nov 21st, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Sex is important to relationship. Any degree of disagreement, rationale for higher sex drive, or contention with power play does not debase the fact that sex is important to relationships.

    Sex reinforces intimacy, strengths self and personal esteem, and relinquishes stress regardless the culprit or cause. Compatibility, vulnerability, and emotional connectedness rear themselves in matters of sex. Equitable to child rearing, religion, and sexual choice when left unspoken relationships go asunder.

    Dr. Aberra, thanks for raising awareness about the importance of sex. No article, conversation, or person’s understanding can encompass any subject matter in totality. But, moments of clarity can prepare you for future occurrences as your article does. Disregard the importance of sex and watch your relationship become disregarded.

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