No matter what your personal or spiritual views are on sex, I think if there's one thing that we all can agree on, it's the fact that if anyone should be gettin' it in, hot 'n heavy and on the regular, it's married folks. Yet, as a marriage life coach, I can tell you that most of the married clients that I have? They've got less than stellar sex lives when it comes to the kind (off the charts) and consistency (more than once every 6-8 weeks or so). Why is that?
I think a lot of it all points back to their wedding night. Did you know that reportedly only 48 percent of couples copulate on the same day that they say "I do"? Somehow, they make sure that their outfits are flawless, the DJ has an unbelievable playlist and the napkins on the tables match, yet somehow, once the wedding and reception is over, sex is not a top priority. Here's the thing about that. The word "consummate"? It means "to complete (an arrangement, agreement, or the like) by a pledge or the signing of a contract", "to complete (the union of a marriage) by the first marital sexual intercourse" and "to bring to a state of perfection; fulfill". This means that a marriage can be annulled if two people have not consummated their union (had sex after getting married). Back in the old school Jewish days, a reception didn't even get underway until the bride and groom went into a back room and had sex first. Why? Because only after sex/consummation were they considered to be "truly married".
My point? Sex is a big freakin' deal in a marital union, from the very day two people decide to become life partners. Yet unfortunately, there are way too many people who seem to agree with (or at least act like) the results of a survey I read on married sex—"6 out of 10 couples stated that marriage had completely ruined the excitement of having sex." (Wow and SMH.)
So, in honor of the beauty of marriage and the powerful-and-still-extremely-relevant purpose that sex serves in it, I wanted to take out some time to share 10 reasons why every married person reading this should be taking full advantage of their bed and the spouse that they share it with, just as often as they possibly can.
1. Sex Cultivates Oneness
It's always interesting to me whenever church folks try and say that the main purpose of sex in marriage is procreation. While that is a purpose (and benefit), there is something that came first in the Bible. What is it? Oneness—"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:24-25—NKJV) If you pay close attention to how things went down in the Garden of Eden, Adam and the Woman (her name wasn't "Eve" until after they left the garden—Genesis 3:20), while it does appear that they had sex, they didn't have children (that didn't happen until Genesis 4).
So yeah, oneness is what's paramount. A word that comes to mind when I think about two people becoming one through the act of sex is fusion—"the act or process of fusing or melting together; union". Union. Marital union. The tripped out thing about the fusion process is, even if you aren't big on the Bible, science backs this up too. When you get a chance, check out "We Should Really Rethink the Term 'Casual Sex'" and you'll see where I'm coming from. Singles, oxytocin is nothing to take lightly, and married folks, if you want to feel closer to your spouse, if you physically desire to "become one" with them, the transmission of oxytocin via sex is one way to make that happen.
2. Sex Is Great for Your Health
You can read articles like "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits of Sperm" and see that sex will definitely do your body good. However, even if you're not the biggest oral sex connoisseur, there are still a ton of benefits that come from sexual intercourse too. Sex reduces stress (more on that in just a sec), boosts your immune system, strengthens your pelvic floor and bladder, lowers your blood pressure, burns calories and can help to prevent prostate cancer when it comes to your hubby too. And that really is just the tip of the iceberg!
3. Sex Is the Ultimate De-Stressor
It is a proven fact that sex has a powerful way of reducing stress levels. For one thing, it releases endorphins and oxytocin so that you feel better. Sex also lowers the stress hormone cortisol in your system so that your blood pressure drops, you are less anxious, and you feel calmer. Deep breathing and climaxing also aid in making it so much easier to relax.
Being that heart disease, diabetes, headaches, depression, asthma and obesity are all health issues that are directly connected to stress, and because stress also affects our levels of productivity, concentration and effective communication, you can see why using sex to lower your stress levels is such a wise thing to do (especially morning sex!).
4. Sex Strengthens Communication
A few weeks back, I penned a piece on here about how to have a simultaneous orgasm with your partner. There are a few tips and tricks that are included; one of them is making sure that the both of you communicate with one another. What do you like? What do you want more of? What gets you there and what is a totally turn-off? (Another article that can make achieving this easier is "10 Sex Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make".)
While it might be true that not everyone is a "dirty talker" in the bedroom, dead silence—even if it's before or after the act—isn't encouraged. For some couples, life is so hectic that the only time uninterrupted conversations can happen is in the bedroom. And sex? Sex is a form of intimacy and a gateway to feeling warmth, affection and nurturing from your partner. So, even if there's no dirty talk during, be open to some pillow talk afterwards.
Something that leads to divorce is poor communication. Something that can enhance communication is sex. This is a reality that definitely shouldn't be taken lightly.
5. Sex Is a Relational Responsibility
This is a point that gets overlooked way too much. That said, I'd venture to say that if there is one thing that having sex as a single person does, it's that it sets us up to be very sexually self-centered. For the most part, we only think about sex as it relates to what we want and our needs. But when we make the decision to join our lives with another individual, their wants and needs become extremely important too. Sex is no longer solely on our feel-like-it-only terms; in many ways, it becomes a staple and necessity in order to keep the bond between us and our spouse healthy, solid and strong.
A married guy that I interviewed last year on this very topic probably said it best: "When I was single, gettin' some was more like a challenge. Now that I'm married, it's a responsibility. It's not just about me or when I'm in the mood for it. It's about genuinely caring about the wants and needs of my partner too."
I've read before that a sexless marriage can sometimes be grounds of divorce based on what is known as "constructive abandonment" (I recently read that a lack of sex can cause a spouse to feel not only abandoned but betrayed too). So long as both people are physically able and there is no abuse involved (of any form), I can get why someone who has sex less than 10-15 times of year—especially year after year—would consider calling it quits. A sexless marriage is not a healthy one. In it, reciprocity is severely lacking. And in many ways, that is an irresponsible approach to marriage.
6. Sex Discourages Infidelity
I remember a woman once said to me that so long as you give a man two different pieces of something, he will never stray—a piece of a good meal and a piece of well, you know. Although she was married for close to two decades, she's divorced now. One reason why is because her husband ended up cheating on her. So no, by no means am I saying that sex will guarantee an infidelity-free relationship.
What I will say, though, is many husbands have told me that the difference between looking at another woman and thinking, "Hmph. She's pretty" vs. "Hmm, I wonder what she's like" is what their sex life is like at home. As one husband once said, "You tend to not want anything to eat unless you're hungry." Hey, you might want to push back on that, but most of the couples I've dealt with where infidelity was involved, very little bedroom action (on the front end) was a common thread.
Even the Bible acknowledges that sex can keep "outsiders" out of a married couple's bond. If you don't believe me, check out I Corinthians 7:1-5 sometime. It's quite…enlightening.
7. Sex Is a Source of Healing
Healing is such a soothing kind of word. It means "to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment" and "to free from evil; cleanse; purify". As I was reading an article by a licensed therapist and author entitled "The Three Kinds of Sex", healing is exactly what came to mind. Basically, what she said is "sealed-off sex" is basically about you gettin' yours, "solace sex" is sex that you have when you're looking for some type of reassurance and "synchrony sex" is the kind of sex that provides the type of wholeness, restoration and purification that married couples should strive for. It's about the kind of sex that bonds you to your partner, makes you feel safe in their presence and provides you with a combination of both eroticism and joy. It's the type of sex that makes you feel loved, desired and completely nurtured.
Who doesn't feel better—mentally, physically and emotionally—after an experience like that? And, who doesn't want to feel that way, just as much as possible?
8. Sex Is a Form of Worship
Roll your eyes if you want to, but I know married couples who say grace before engaging in sexual activity. And yes, I mean a literal, "Heavenly Father, for what we are about to partake of, we are truly grateful. Please bless this entire experience. Amen" kind of prayer. If that seems sacrilegious and if you're a believer of the Bible, I don't know how it could be because the Good Book has sex all up in it. Even if you're not religious, science co-signs on sex being a spiritual experience as well. There are studies to support that the bonding hormone oxytocin actually causes men to feel connected to a higher power whenever elevated amounts of it is in their system.
Since oxytocin is at its peak during an orgasm, sex is definitely a spiritual experience; probably one of the most powerful ones that there is. Don't @ me on this. The Bible and science have my back. There is absolutely no need.
9. Sex Conveys Love, Desire and Selflessness
I know some pretty "'bout it, 'bout it" fellas who, not only have absolutely no intentions on ever settling down, they probably couldn't figure out how many partners they've had if somebody offered them a million bucks to do so. Still, every single one of them admit that sex with someone they care about tops sex with a "random" any day of the week.
An article entitled "The Differences Between Hook-Up Sex, Marital Sex, and Making Love" sheds some light into why. According to the author, with hook-ups, it's all about using someone else's body for your own pleasure; marital sex comes from a place of emotional connection and intimacy (although conflicts and disagreements can sometimes get in the way), and making love is "…when you treat each other as equal human beings within your daily relationship, and you're transparent about your inner life and emotions, you automatically feel more stimulation and excitement with each other. When you feel connected as equals and yet engage each other as separate, distinct individuals as well, that generates new energy and it enhances the sexual energy between the two of you."
I think the reason why virtually all of us prefer sex in a committed relationship is because when someone stands before you and declares that they've got your back, through thick and thin, no matter what, there's a safety in that. It goes beyond desire, to love and the purest form of selflessness. Commitment doesn't get any realer than when it comes to marriage.
10. Sex Can Get You Through “It”
Another interesting read on the topic of married sex is "How Often Married Couples Have Sex After 5, 10, 20, 30 Years Together". There is a wide range of answers, for sure. As I was reading that some couples still get it on 3-4 times a week, even after many years have passed, I thought about what I tell husbands and wives in my sessions—"With all of the responsibility that comes with marriage, married folks deserve sex!" Do you know what a lot of them tell me in response? Sometimes it's the pure pleasure of sex that gets them through the tough times.
"I've never understood why wives will withhold sex to make a point," one wife said to me. "Sounds to me like the sex isn't that good because if there's one thing I'm not gonna do in my marriage bed is deprive myself of what goes on up in there!" Good for her.
And when you think of all that was shared about marital sex in this lil' write-up, hopefully more of you can relate to what she said than not. Again, if sex is for anyone, it's married folks. It's pleasurable. It's fulfilling. It's also extremely necessary. For all of these reasons and more.
Wives (and husbands) reading this, from the very bottom of my heart, GET. YOURS. OFTEN.
Trust me, if I was married, I would be. Straight up.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Maintenance Sex Could Be The Key To A Successful Marriage
10 Sex Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make
What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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