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Sex as a Duty in Romantic Relationships

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If you are in a romantic, long-term relationship, do you think each person has a responsibility, or even duty, to his or her partner to engage in sex?

There are many factors that can impact one's sense of obligation to have sex, along a varied continuum, including a person's ability to have sex (due to medical conditions, for instance), or, if a history of infidelity has clouded the relationship. Other factors can more simply be to lack of time, fatigue, or even lack of interest.

If we can look at both sides of this situation, if one person does not feel emotionally connected to their partner, and does not want to share another part of themselves without first resolving the emotional conflict, do you feel that there is still a responsibility of having sex to stay committed?

As two people have committed to each other romantically--mind, body and spirit-- and have made it known that they are more than just platonic friends, many people think this commitment does include sexual relations. In a recent survey, 30 percent of respondents thought that sexual activity is a duty to one's spouse/partner. (AARP, 2004).

Conversely, do you want someone to have sex because they are simply obligated? Would you still feel betrayed if sex was a checklist item on a "to do" list, rather than an act of showing affection? Do we always have sex in a relationship out of pure love, or do we sometimes just do it---to get it over with? (I am not just referring to women, as there is still a widespread stereotype that men are always in the mood for sex! Have you ever considered your male partner may not have always been in the mood for sex?)

There are many reasons that a person may not want to have sex at a particular moment; there are also many couples who choose not to have intercourse for various reasons, and choose to be physically intimate in other ways. Some individuals may view sex as essential to a relationship as trust, communication and love; others may view it as not necessary and feel mutually satisfied enjoying intimate moments in other ways.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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