Should you have guilty sex? – Dr Nikki Shop

Should you have guilty sex?

In a perfect world, we would all have the same sex drives. But no one lives in a perfect world. I have been hearing people talk a lot lately about compatibility in relationships. Are we ever compatible? For some, these compatibilities issues are deal breakers, but for others just differences to work around and our sex drives could just be one of them.

This is a not an opportunity for me to try and tell you how much sex you should have in a week (that’s for you to decide) rather what to do when you don’t’ want it. Whilst as the sexologist, I’m encouraging you to have as much sex as you can for many wondrous reasons including the fact that it is good for your relationship, but I also understand that there are going to be many times when one person’s wants it and the others doesn’t and that’s ok.

When you reject your partner for sex, they can often feel negative emotions such as hurt, not loved, unattractive or that there is something wrong in the relationship. So, do you then have what I like to call guilty sex with your partner when you don’t feel like it to save them from these negative emotions?

I, along with other experts have previously encourage women to push themselves into sexuality activities with their partner when they might not feel like it as once they start to go through the motions and be touched and stimulated, they might find their desire for sex kicks in. However, this is different to guilty sex as this is pushing yourself to start sex in the hope that the desire will kick in not having sex to out of guilt to save someone negative emotions. The difference is the intent and the intent might be the deciding factor whether pleasure is present or not.

Recent research by the Journal of Social and Personal relationships, looked at what happens when one person has more sexual desire than the other and when one person has sex for avoidance goals. They found that positive rejection, when you reassure that person you still love them, they are attractive and still the best lover you have ever had, helped keep relationship satisfaction alive. But having sex even though you didn’t want to for avoidance reasons (guilty sex) had a detrimental effect to relationship satisfaction when done over time. And before you make any comments about the difference between men and women, these results did not differ according to genders.

So, it leaves us with the question, when we don’t feel like sex, do we A) push ourselves into doing it, hoping that our sexual desire will kick in B) Have guilty sex C) Reject the person positively?

I’ll try to break it down for you:

  • First of all, there are many different reasons why someone might not want to have sex. Some of these are more logistical and have nothing to do with attraction or love for someone else
  • If you don’t want sex, but there is some slight chance in our mind that if it were to happen you would get involved, push yourself to try and start. But if you do, be present and in the moment.
  • If you don’t feel like sex and I mean don’t feel like it, reject the person positively instead of having guilty sex
  • If you are continually not wanting to have sex, then you might need to look a little further into other issues going on in the relationship.

In summary (as I do feel like we are getting a little more scientific here) If there is any hope at enjoying sex, push yourself but if you don’t feel like it, say no before you have guilty sex.

Just like guilt can be damaging in others areas of our life, so can it be when it comes to the bedroom. Be polite, not guilty.