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9 Different roles that Sex Play In Marriage


Historically, sexual morality has, perhaps, too facilely implied that all sex prior to marriage is exploitative, while within marriage sex is not exploitative. In truth, however exploitation in sex is possible both outside of marriage and in marriage, precisely to the extent that sex becomes impersonal and consequently inhuman. If the peculiar personal and human dimension of sexuality are to be maintained, we must at the very least appreciate the fact that in human beings and particularly in marriage, sex is far more deeply rooted than genital pleasure and satisfaction.

Certainly, husband and wife are fully entitled to be unreservedly happy in their bodily affection and sexual love for each other and experience pleasure and satisfaction. No reservation and misgivings should be allowed to affect the deep gladness and blissful rapture of their mutual self-giving in conjugal love. However, this happiness is not contradicted, it is rather supported by the demand that sexual love ought to be embedded in the more comprehensive, more lasting love of self-forgetful agape.

For the personal meeting of bodies to be an encounter in love, a man and woman must respond to each other selflessly. The more they do this, the more happiness will sexual pleasure bring them. Purely drive-conditioned mating, on the other hand, permits indulgence in sexual pleasure, but does not result in genuine happiness. Husband and wife will generally not be able to realize their mutual love in its perfect form from the very beginning. They have to mature towards the consummation of their love in patient endeavour. Yet the goal of the perfection of love should never be lost sight of.

There are different roles that sex play in marriage, however, it is pertinent to ensure that we do not overstretch these roles such that love is totally excluded and sex becomes mere acts devoid of deep intimacy and love. Presented below are nine (9) different means and intentions that accompany genital sexual acts carried out by couples in marriage:

  • A means of achieving sexual satisfaction and healthy life.

If a hundred people were to be asked to talk about sex, the word “satisfaction” will definitely be uttered as part of the defining words. Sex indeed brings satisfaction and pleasure, it is a tension reliever. Sex helps to attain body and mind relaxation. Satisfaction cannot be underestimated in sex, because a number of relationships are on the verge of collapse because of unsatisfied sex. Men go the extra length to satisfy their women; women endure various sexual acts just to satisfy their men.

Sexual satisfaction encourages frequent sex. Sex becomes a nightmare and a thing to avoid when the feeling of satisfaction is not always met. This is mostly true with the female gender. However, frequent sex leads to a healthy sexual life and this brings about a healthy lifestyle too. A man’s ego is high when he truly satisfies his woman, and a woman glows and she is excited after a satisfying sex.

The more penile-vaginal sex heterosexual couples have, the more both partners seem to have better mental health and improved satisfaction with sex life, relationship, and life. In all, they improve overall health life, relationship satisfaction, sleep, and immune functioning. A visit to the doctor with regards to health will definitely arouse the discussion of a healthy sexual life style. A healthy sexual life is key to overall healthy life.

  • A means of climaxing to achieving a sense of togetherness and intimacy

Climaxing is the apex of sex. This point of sexual pleasure brings the individuals to crave and hunger for each other, leading to a sort of intimacy. Sex and intimacy are closely connected. Sex can be the ultimate expression of romantic love and intimacy or an emotional roller coaster. Although sex is a physical act, it carries with it emotional connection, intimacy, sense of togetherness, and feelings of attachment.

If there is something missing in most marriages today, it’s definitely intimacy. It is true that sex alone is not enough for intimacy, it needs to be built with care, physical closeness, communication, and understanding each other’s need. Sex however does play its part. Intimacy is a feeling of closeness, familiarity and friendship with another person.

A relationship without physical and emotional intimacy is most likely to be unsuccessful. Over time, as the two people become increasingly disconnected, it becomes easy to cheat or walk away from relationship when they seek intimacy elsewhere. Men usually look for physical intimacy, whereas women crave emotional intimacy.

  • A way of making up after an estrangement or an argument

There are no perfect marriages, once in a while there are bound to be issues that will bring about arguments or disagreements between couples. Some of these disagreements are easily resolved, while some spill into days, weeks and months before they are resolved. While the disagreement is on, the couples create an invisible wall of separation between them; they avoid talking to each other and eating together. They do not sleep on the same bed; even if they do, there is no feeling of closeness or intimacy.

It is worse if the estrangement is as a result of infidelity. In this case, there is always a longer period of sexual abstinence. The abstinence is a sign of unresolved issues and severed ties or bond. This estrangement speaks louder than words and it creates a silence that is very deafening.

In marriage, the weapon of war is also the weapon of peace. The sex that was abstained from, and which expressed their estrangement, is the same tool for intimacy and bonding. Sex becomes a way of making up for the period of separation. The sexual intercourse serves to erase the tension and strife they have towards each other and bring back the flow of intimacy between them.

  • An act that relieves the sexual tensions or desires

After a hectic, busy and stressful day at the office, nothing can be more soothing for a man than a cold bath, good food and sex. This is true also for a woman who after the rigours of the day craves physical and emotional intimacy with her husband. This physical and emotional intimacy is the antidote for all that the day threw to their paths.

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Sex when regular and consensual, builds a healthy sexual intimacy and healthy lifestyle; it relieves tensions and helps regulate the body. Sex also relieves sexual tensions and desires. There are occurrences of continuous postponement of consummation when sexual desire is felt, but due to wrong timing of events, leading to sexual tension. Sexual tensions and desires can linger for a length of time due to various reasons ranging from health to Physical disposition, time and circumstances. Sex helps to lower down the sexual appetite that have accumulated for a while.

  • An action in which the spouse wrestle with the anger and frustration of the other

The major problem with marital issues is the fact that the foundation of the problem or discord is the partner. It is easy to bear the taunt of other people than to bear that of those closest to us. The anger and frustration that arises from marital problems are often overwhelming. Sometimes, sex is the only safe haven from frustration.

Sex is used as a tool to relieve the anger and frustration heaped upon the spouse by the partner. Sex releases all that is negatively building inside the spouse’s mental and physical being. Sex becomes the channel to redirecting anger and frustration.

Spouses can use sex to try and understand and find solution to a difficult problem raised by the partners. When spouses are face with the anger and frustration of their partners, sex comes in handle to mediate and lessen the tension and create an atmosphere to foster understanding and solution.

  • A way of paying the other back for kindnesses and favours in their common life

Couples sometimes engage in a sort of gift and reward sexual experience. Sometimes, it is agreed, such that they make a bet and make sex the reward for compliance. This makes sexual experience fun and communicative.

This gift and reward sex can also be non-consensual. Here, it is mostly common with the women; sex is freely given when the man buys her a gift, takes her on a date or help her with her chores. Some wives see sex as some form of reward to be given, and to be withheld whenever they feel like it.

Sex is meant to be consensual, mutually enjoyed and satisfying for the people engaged in it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rewarding a partner with sex if it is romantic and intimate such that they both enjoy the sexual act together. It should not be too strict and regular else it will generate a sort of tension and may lead to marital problems.

  • A performance of duty realizing the needs of others

Sex is a seen as a duty, mostly as a wife’s duty towards the husband. It is seen as an activity that is engaged in because one’s husband insists on it. Some women believe that the man is the provider of the house, it is his duty to fend for the family, while hers is to be ready to satisfy him whenever the occasion calls for it.

As a duty sex also seek to meet the need of the spouse. Once the spouse recognizes this need for sex in the partner, the spouse readily gives it out to meet the desired want. There are various experiences of wives who accuse their husbands of not meeting up to their sexual needs due to business trips, late nights and excessive work. When the complaints come in, the man performs the sexual act as a duty towards the wife, and satisfies her need.

  • A tactic to keep the other faithful

Sex is a desire that can go wild if not tamed and kept under control. The desire to have sex is an inflamed passion that if not attended to by the partner may be expressed outside the marital relationship. Many cases of sexual infidelity has been linked to the desire to get satisfaction outside the marital bed because their partners are not sexually satisfying.

The sexual drive is not the same for everyone, it varies from person to person. Desire for sex can fluctuate, depending on factors like age, stress level, and relationship status. There are people with higher sex drive or libido, while other are normal or said to be low. There is really no problem in normal or abnormal desired sex; it only becomes an issue when partners cannot meet up to their spouses’ demand for intercourse.

When a person notices the desire for sex in his/her partner and feel that the absence of it will lead to marital problems, the individual should respond positively to the partner in order to fulfil the sexual urge. It is a tactic to keep the other in faithful communion and avoid the occasion of yielding to infidelity. Here sex is done just to keep the other person from having extra marital affairs.

  • A way of having children

The natural reproduction system of humans entails the act of sexual intercourse between man and woman. Couples engage in sex for the purpose of regeneration. Conception is achieved through sexual intercourse.

There are the very religious partners or couples who still regard sex as a gratification of the carnal desires of humans. For them, sex just for the sole purpose of climax and pleasure is giving way to the impulses of the flesh. So, sex is only needed and required when they decide to bring forth children into the world

Also, partners that have lost interest in each other and do not have an intimate bond also have sex when they feel the need to have children again. Loss of interest could be as a result of unattractiveness of the spouse as a result of change in body mass. It could also be as a result of the ability to forgive; where one partner has caught the other in infidelity and cannot get over it.

Sex may be solely for child bearing in marriages that are fixed by families and those gotten into without the desired free will such as unwanted pregnancy marriage where the man is force to marry the lady because she got pregnant for him. In such marriages the only bond is the children of the wedlock and it is only in the begetting of more that they engage in sex.

These nine functions that sexuality play in marriage should not be seen as complete or all encompassing. The reality is, of course that any single act of physical intimacy probably would include a number of these intentions. However, in whatever case it may be, true love and intimacy should accompany these sexual functions so that it may not be mere sexual acts but help to develop true bonding between the couples.

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