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Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good

When it comes to solving problems, make-up sex ain't it, chief.

Sex

Whether you ever intended on watching Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?, for better or for worse, BET doesn't really give you much of a choice. It seems like at least once a week, one or both films are airing on that channel. And, if there's a couple that is truly memorable, it's Marcus (played by Michael Jai White) and Angela (played by Tasha Smith).


To call them "dysfunctional" would be a major understatement. They have serious trust issues, their communication sucks, there's little to no respect given, they seem to find extreme pleasure in throwing each other under the bus in front of their friends (especially Angela) and they appear to get on each other's last nerve, more times than not.

I've seen clips of both movies so much that they both seem to run in together at this point. But I do know for sure that, in one of them, there's a scene where Marcus is asked why he keeps putting up with all of the crazy. His response? "The make-up sex is insane!" (or something along those lines).

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That's not just a line from a movie. If you put "make-up sex" in any search engine, you're gonna see articles about why so many of us like—no, LOVE—it. From the research that I've done on the topic, a lot of us are super into make-up sex because it tends to be wilder, more exciting and more intense than so-called "regular sex" is. That's cool. But like most things in life, there is such a notion as too much of a good thing.

How can you tell the difference between make-up sex being a hot way to conclude a fight vs. something that is masking a layer of issues that sex alone really can't solve? I've got five points that can at least get you on the path of seeing what's really going on in your bedroom—and ultimately, your marriage.

Is Make-Up Sex How You Always “Resolve” Arguments?

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Personally, whenever a couple tells me that they never argue, whether they say it directly on my face or not, I'm giving them the side-eye. While I don't think that every couple has ugly knockout drag-outs, I find it very hard to believe because if two people are being open and honest with one another, sometimes boats are gonna get rocked. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all have our own way of seeing things and oftentimes, looking at another's perspective is just what we need in order to grow as individuals.

The problem with arguing is when a couple has no idea how to resolve their issues when they arise. If there is a lot of grudge-holding, deflecting, hitting below the belt, yelling and screaming or even a ton of passive aggressiveness, not only does this reveal poor communication skills, it will only make matters worse over time.

What really needs to be addressed is the fact that some couples are either so used to arguing that they don't realize how unhealthy their communication is or they are so accustomed to having sex to "fix matters" that, ironically, nothing really ever gets fixed.

I'm big on saying that sex shouldn't be about "making love" so much as celebrating it.

Along these same lines, make-up sex shouldn't be about avoiding resolutions but the celebration of actually coming to one. Which is it for you and yours?

Is Make-Up Sex a Stress Coping Mechanism?

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Life has its stress-filled moments. There's no doubt about that. And when it comes to the health benefits of sexual activity, the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol is a strong one. So yeah, I totally get why couples would resort to having sex in order to release a little anxiety and tension. That's not why I'm bringing this point up, though.

It's one thing to have a few days when your schedule has you feeling overwhelmed or to receive some news that's got you a little more than just irritated. It's another to be sick all of the time, an insomniac or noticing things like body aches and hair fall. If these things are transpiring, they're usually red flags that you are too stressed for your own good and all sex is doing is masking a deeper issue.

Sure, sex can distract you for a few minutes (or, if you're lucky, a couple of hours), but the problems are gonna still be there when you're done. If all you really do to handle your stress is having sex, that's something else to really look into; preferably with a therapist and/or physician.

Is Make-Up Sex the Only Time That You Truly Feel Connected?

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So, there is such a thing as arousal transfer. What's that? In a nutshell, it's when our bodies go from one kind of stimuli to another and then we pass it on to someone else. In the context of make-up sex, it's basically going from an emotion like anger to another like excitement. Then, when pleasure is brought into it all, it can create the illusion that reconciliation has happened when really all that's gone down is you connected on a physical level (and the oxytocin calmed you down a bit).

Arousal transfer is normal, but if it's the only time you and your partner truly feel like you're on the same page, it's also an illusion. Healthy relationships have mental, emotional and spiritual connections not just physical ones. Healthy couples are able to feel close to one another, whether sex comes into play or not.

Is Make-Up Sex What You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

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A lot of us were not fortunate enough to grow up in a two-parent household and/or one that consisted of two people who loved and respected each other and communicated well. Because this was lacking, we didn't really get the foundational skills required to deal with conflict in a romantic relationship.

Two things typically happen because of this. One, we (internally) freak out whenever relational issues arise and/or two, we either think that running from the relationship or doing whatever makes our partner feel better is the solution. And oftentimes, that feel-good-remedy is sex.

The problem with that is even the best (and most realistic) sex only lasts a couple of hours. Once it's over, the problems still exist. If you and yours are always having sex during or immediately following a fight because you don't know what else to do, this is another reason to strongly consider getting into some marital counseling. Just so the two of you can learn how to hash things out and "fight fair" in the process.

Is Make-Up Sex How You “Handled” Relationships When You Were Dating Too?

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There is a lot of baggage that many of us bring into our current relationship, oftentimes not realizing it until we get triggered or a particular pattern is brought to our attention. That said, if you can relate to all of what I shared here and a part of you is wondering where it came from, take a brief walk down memory lane to see if make-up sex is how you handled issues with your boyfriends as well.

A huge mistake that a lot of people make in relationships is assuming that what they did in their dating situations won't creep into their marriage. The only way you can be sure of that is by taking the time, as a single person, to do some self-evaluating and healing. If you're just now seeing that make-up sex has been your modus operandi all along, ask yourself two things—1) how did it work for you back then and 2) if it wasn't a big deal, why aren't you still with your exes? Hmm.

Again, make-up sex isn't a bad thing. Not at all. But if you're dependent on it in order to get through the hard/bad times in your marriage, be careful. You might look up and discover that it didn't fix anything. It just bought you more time to not deal with the inevitable—some real serious problems in your relationship.

You might discover that sex was more like icing on a garbage lid than anything. Sweet for a second but what was underneath? Eww.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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