Does great sex create a happy marriage, or vice versa?
I don’t know if this is the exact fit with your question, but there are two of us on here who changed our sexual ways and our marriages. She started working on the sexual side and that improved her marriage. I worked on our marriage and that improved the sexual side.
Great sex over a sustained period of time can be a fruit of a great marriage but it is not a foundation of a great marriage. Trust is one of those foundations of a great marriage and you cannot have great sex without great trust. Build trust, destroy fears and phobias and work your way to great sex.
Interesting question. I believe a great marriage creates great desire. My wife and I have had a great marriage from day one. And, we had great desire for one another. However, our sex life is greater today than when we first married. We were virgins when we married. We were modest around each other. We had sex in the dark under the cover, never slept naked, foreplay and sex was over in 15 – 20 minutes. Through the years we have added OS and toys, and talking during sex, role play, dressing up for sex. Our sex is greater now, much more frequent and way more playful. Is our marriage better, because our sex life is better? I’d say no, our marriage was great from the start.
Here is a relevant excerpt from a book on the science of attachment. Like Tracker suggested, it depends on the emotional quality of the sex. The emotional quality of the sex often depends on the attachment styles of the partners. Pardon the poor mechanics; I used a speech-to-text tool to capture the excerpt. and don’t have time to edit ATM but wanted to share.
From ‘Love Sense” by Sue Johnson, co-creator of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, p.122:
Sex: glue or solvent? one-way arrows of causality are generally passe in the new relationship science, so it is, of course, too simple to say that attachment shapes sex. in fact, they are circle, one reinforcing or weakening the other. A strong emotional bond leads to good sex, which in turn leads to a still stronger Bond, and so on. The reverse is true as well. A weak Connection often leads to unfulfilling sex, which further weakens the connection.
this may be why unhappy partners in establish relationships are so quick to cite sex as the major cause of their misery. Distressed mates assign up to 70% of their misery to sexual problems, according to sex educators Barry and Emily McCarthy of American University in Washington DC. by contrast, less than a quarter of contented partners credit a good sex life for their happiness. sexual dissatisfaction is actually a bellwether, the most evident sign of what’s truly going wrong in the relationship: the unraveling of the emotional Bond.
for more secure people, good sex can help overcome minor Misattunements and even more serious difficulties. the emotional platform, the trust and safety built over months and years, is solid; synchrony sex helps glue any edges that are crumbling. The insecure are not so lucky. For the avoidant, there really isn’t an emotional foundation to build on, and sealed off sex never permits one to be constructed. In anxiously attached people, the foundation is flimsy. Good solace sex can help cover over cracks and gaps and keep the relationship steady for a while, but bad solace sex only widens the nicks and the chinks, until the entire edifice tumbles down.