Poll: How important is sex in marriage?

This thread asked what is the proper number of dates a couple should go on before having sex.

A small minority said they thought it was best to wait until marriage before having sex, which prompted one poster to state the following:

Now, I have a theory that those people who didn’t wait for marriage before having sex put a lot more emphasis on sex than those who do wait. In other words, if you had “great sex” before getting married you expect to keep having it, whereas if you fall in love with somebody to the point of wanting to marry them without ever having sex with them, the quality of the sex isn’t really an issue.

So anyway, what say you all? Please state whether you think that sex is an important part of marriage (and by “important” I mean that you would not be happy staying with your spouse in the absence of good sex) and whether or not you had sex before marriage or waited to get married.

[And just for the record, I’m getting married in a couple of months to a woman I love deeply, we’ve both been saving ourselves for marriage, and I really have no idea if the sex is going to be good, bad, or indifferent. I certainly hope it will be great, but I’d also like to think that it won’t mater if it isn’t.]



Just make sure to wipe your butt.


Just like anything else, you can be taught how to give and receive good sex. Really, there’s no such thing as a lousy lay if you take the time to learn each other’s likes and dislikes.

If the both of you are virgins, then it’s very likely that the first few times will be less than stellar (though not as bad as two fumbling teenagers in the backseat of a Honda). But if you learn from each other, then the sex will be great. Good sex is sex that both of you enjoy. (Someone else on the board said that once. I can’t take credit for it.)

Yes, sex is important to marriage. If my partner was unwilling to make an effort to please me, then that would indicate a greater problem than just a bad bed partner.

But, sex shouldn’t be the most important part of marriage. There will be times when you won’t be able to have sex (late stage pregnancy/birth, disease, separate travel), and there might come a time when sex is no longer possible at all (serious injury, for example). A marriage should be able to outlast the lack of sex.

Neither my husband nor I were virgins before our marriage, though we didn’t live together.

godzilla - Making Love is very, very important in a loving marriage. It is the most intimate way two people can share each other in a relationship. I personally do not believe in waiting to have sex until after you wed. To me that practice can be quite dangerous.
In dangerous I am not talking about a bad lay. Not at all. But I am talking about not having that intimate tie before you wed. You may very well be in love with this woman, and she may very well be in love with you. But delaying making love until after you get married leaves out a crucial bond betwen two people that I believe should be there before you say ‘I do’ …
And plus, making love is a completely natural occurance, those who say otherwise are fooling themselves…

On a more serious note, I think that the most important aspect of marital sex is compatibility. From time to time you read about couples (young couples at that) who have relatively infrequent sex and both of them are satisfied. Others are at it a couple of times a day and wouldn’t be happy otherwise.

Sexual satisfaction is important and IMHO the only way to achieve that is to have compatible drive and attitudes. It is asking a lot for a partner to have to sublimate her/his needs for a lifetime - whether that need is for frequent sexual contact or for being happy with a hug most of the time.

Love conquers all only if you’re honest and forthright about your differences. Once married, if you find that you have differing needs, discuss it and reach a compromise that leaves neither of you feeling that you’ve made a “sacrifice”.

I wish you a lifetime of marital bliss.

The analogy I use is that sex in a marriage is like salt in cooking or yeast in baking. It’s not a large part, but it is indispensable.

I don’t know how to define “good sex” other than sex that you and your partner enjoy.

I count one of the largest turning points in my last marriage was the conversation I had with my then hubby about our sex life.

Me: I never want to have sex with you. Never ever ever. It’s not that I’m not in the mood, or tired, or whatever, it’s that I never want to have sex with you. I think that’s bad, considering we’re married.

Soon-to-be-Ex: I think that’s just what being married is like.

Um, NO! Not for ME! That is NOT OK!

I found out much later that he did attempt to figure some stuff out, but did it in secret. I had no clue. At the time, just knowing that my concerns hadn’t fallen on deaf ears and that he did consider it a problem would have been a big deal.

I appreciate all the responses but please, for the sake of scientific accuracy, don’t forget to indicate whether or not sex was a big part of your life before getting married. Remember, my theory is that sex is only a big deal in marriage if it was already a big deal for you before getting married…


Wow. That is harsh.

Maybe it’s too personal, but why did you marry him if you didn’t like having sex with him?

Indygrrl I didn’t put it exactly that way when I talked to him! I should have made that more obvious. But the marriage was breaking down, and at some point you just have to start talking about the problems and stop pussyfooting over The Big Bad stuff. In my case, The Big Bad stuff had a lot to do with the fact that I had lost a lot of respect for him. It’s hard to feel sexual towards someone that you don’t respect. Therefore, our sex life had gone to pot.

It wasn’t that way when I married him. This was something that happened later on in the marriage.

In retrospect, the sexual problems we had were the symptoms of a deeper problem. IMO, sex is a good indicator of the state of a marriage - regardless of the frequency that you have sex, if you still have desire for the other person and can still get worked up over him/her, things are going OK.

Godzilla said:

Am I missing something? Either you are unsure about sex because you have never had it, or when you did it was not a good experience. Because if you switch the words Sex with Making Love you may soon realize how important it is before marriage.


The act of making love in my opinion is like the mortar that holds the bricks together. With out it the foundation will not be as strong as it should be. And what do you have against making love with the one you are in love with???

And re-read my last post…

godzillatemple, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, and the best to both of you!

Hubby and I were sexually active long before marriage. I think the problem occurs when people marry because they have confused lust with love, and marry someone they think they love, when in fact, they just have the hots for that person. When the hots wear off (they actually kind of wax and wane), they think “Oh, I’ve fallen out of love” and split up. We had sex because it was fun, but married because of love. Married 14 years, the sex is better now (if less frequent). Good sex is very important in a marriage, IMHO, but I don’t think that means that you have to have sex before marriage. I have a lot of issues that led me to be promiscuous at an early age, and I have the greatest respect for people who choose to wait (but don’t condemn those who don’t choose to wait). I think you’ll know if the chemistry is there, just from making out. Beyond that, if you’re both reasonable, intelligent people, and really have one anothers’ best interests at heart, the rest is details. It can all be worked out. Sex isn’t something you’re either good at or not. Techniques that please your partner can be learned. That’s why our sex is better now than it was before. We’ve learned how to please each other. As far as your sex drive being compatible, again, discuss and compromise if necessary. I will sometimes accommodate, even if I’m not in the mood, because I know that compromise is necessary (and it still feels pleasant, even if there are no fireworks). OTOH, if I need it, and he’s not in the mood, there are other ways of satisfying me (and often the process of doing so will put him in the mood, then we’re both happy:)).

Again, best wishes!

I sometimes hear people say things like “marriage is about more than just sex”, with implications that attaching too much importance to sex is unhealthy and that real love should be above such base concerns. These people are almost invariably also people who choose to wait until they’re married to have sex.

While I respect anyone’s decision to have sex (or not have sex) when and how they see fit, I think that downplaying the importance of sex is missing one of the fundamental aspects of a romantic relationship. Passion and physical intimacy are, in my opinion, what separates a loving, intimate spouse from a really fantastic roommate.

Without good physical chemistry and a mutually fulfilling sex life, I think marriage is missing a vital component. For this reason, I highly recomment pre-marital sex to everyone – sex helps you develop a complete picture of the person you’re falling in love with and form a physical connection from the start. Don’t downplay the importance of sex in a long-term relationship.

I waited 72 hours to make love with my boyfriend. We had been talking over the phone and through email for three months. I immediately felt comfortable with him and I had no remorse about it. I don’t think I would have done it had I not felt as though we were on our way to something long-term.

Four months later, we are madly in love and planning on getting married next year. He is the love of my life. We are a long-distance relationship, and have actually only been together four times for four or five days at a time, but we have marathon phone sessions, and he knows me better than anyone at this point. We do have plans to live in the same town for a little while before getting married, but I have no qualms about it working out. As someone who has always run from relationships, this one is so vastly different that it scares me sometimes. He loves and respects me, and the sex is good. He’s more experienced than I am, so I’m learning and he’s very patient with me, but I can’t imagine being closer to anyone else than I am with him.


My grandparents had a plaque on their wall that said “Kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do!”

I always thought there was something wrong with that plaque.

Now, after over 20 years of marriage, Mrs. Mercotan and I both agree that “kissin’ lasts too!” So does boinking. Cooking is fun, but our relationship would survive fine without either one of us being good at that!

Both my husband and I ended our virginal status together (I don’t say ‘lost our virginity’ because I don’t feel I lost anything). At the age of 14. We married at the age of 22. I always knew that I would never marry someone who I hadn’t slept and lived with first. That is what is right for me. Congrats on your upcoming marriage, and do what feels right for you.

O.K, so I’m a huge believer in pre-marital sex (for me). I also find that sex is a large and important part of my marriage. You never know until you are put into the situation, but I believe if sex was removed from my marriage through an accident/injury, I would choose to remain with my husband. If it was removed for other reasons my answer might be different. I guess it depends on why the sex is no longer there.

Yes, it’s very important to me. No, it’s not the only thing.

Yes, sex is an important part of a marriage.

A marriage that has no sex without a physical reason is not a healthy marriage

In an ideal marriage, both parties are trying to put the needs and wants of the other before their own, so everyone ends up happy. This is not how my marriage was going, so my marriage is over.

My current relationship works like that. I’m a happy man.

I’m pretty much in agreement with most of the posters. You’re in love now, but you’ll find that over the years you’ll fall in and out of love with each other. Some years are hard, some are easy, but sex, and compatibility with sex is vital. (As is compatibility about finances - I hope you’re talking about that also.)

We had sex before marriage, which helped keep us together, though we never lived closer than 600 miles apart all the time we knew each other. We have two daughters, and we tell them the same thing. Finding out you’re not compatible too late would be awful. And I’m not talking skill here, just compatibility. Mismatching sex drives and preferences are what keep prostitutes in business.

Becky!? Becky is that you! It’s me! Inky! From Drama club!