Sexuality and Romance

a rose as a symbol of romance

In past blog posts, I’ve talked about a lot of different dimensions of a successful relationship. I now want to talk about sexuality and romance, another critical aspect of marriage.

Although we have many close relationships with family members and friends in which we support one another, share our thoughts and feelings, and have fun together, sexual interactions, in a healthy relationship, are reserved for our marriage partner. Sex sets this relationship apart and makes it unique and more special than any other. In short, sex results in a level of pleasure and emotional and physical closeness not available in other relationships.

A Good Relationship is the Foundation of Good Sex

So here is one thing I want to say about sex. For the vast majority of couples, a good relationship is the foundation of good sex and not the other way around. You may have great sex, but if your relationship is filled with disrespect, a lack of caring, insensitivity, unresolved conflict, and hostility, then the relationship won’t last. The foundation of a good sexual relationship is a healthy relationship overall.

Therefore, the place to start building a better sexual relationship is improving your relationship in the ways I’ve written about in other posts. You have to accept responsibility for yourself. You need to honor your partner and build friendship and good communication. As you learn and apply these principles to your marriage, you’re building the strong foundation for a great sexual relationship.

But it’s not Automatic

Of course, that’s not enough. You can’t assume that a strong relationship in other ways necessarily means that a good sexual relationship will automatically follow. For some couples, a sexual relationship comes quite naturally and easily. For most it does not. They have to work at it. And I want to talk about one way to work at it in this post.

Sexuality and Romance

You probably understand the differences between sexuality and romance. Sex is about those erotic acts which lead to intercourse and orgasm. However, sustaining a great sexual relationship, especially for both partners, requires romance and not just eroticism. Romance is more mental and emotional and not just physical. It is about making your partner feel special. A great sexual experience does not usually begin at 11:00 at night but started with some intimate sharing the previous day, a little cuddling the previous night, a kiss goodbye in the morning, a phone call during the day, and a warm embrace in the evening.

Romance is all about being aware of each other and showing thoughtfulness through softness and caring behaviors, good listening, turning towards during bids, and making deposits into one another’s emotional bank accounts. These communicate the message I am thinking of you. You matter to me.

Romance as an End

But then romance goes beyond being mindful of each other to include physical contact– touching, holding hands, hugging, kissing, cuddling and nonsexual massages. In romance, these behaviors don’t necessarily lead to intercourse. They are expressions of love and pleasure that can be enjoyed as ends in and of themselves. As a matter of fact, according to surveys, most men as well as women report loving the closeness of hugging even more than intercourse, certainly the quick intercourse that lasts just a few minutes and lacks real emotional connection.

What I’m suggesting is that you pay more attention to the romantic nature of your relationship. As you bring more romance, your sexual relationship will usually come more naturally and easily. This aspect of your relationship is particularly important to women who generally are aroused more slowly and need emotional closeness, to feel safe and loved, before they’re ready for sex.

How is Your Romance?

So, a question I’d ask you is how to bring more romance into your relationship. How could you become more attentive and bring more emotional closeness to your marriage? Doing so is foundational to a good marriage as well as sexual relationship.


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