What is one of the most common methods intended to strengthen relationships which instead will sabotage them before they have a fighting chance?
The biology: The act of intimate sexual contact, when paired with a pleasurable response, produces a profound chemical change in the area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, more commonly referred to as the pleasure center. The nucleus accumbens gets bathed in neurochemicals, which gives the participants a dramatic sense of pleasure similar to the sense of pleasure that occurs through the use of mood altering drugs. This is another point in which biology and the Bible agree. The result of this pleasurable connection tends to work as a sort of bonding chemistry that assists a couple to perceive fewer pleasurable differences while they are seeking a much higher level of pleasure. I will discuss more about the negative consequences of this later in this article.
Since the 1960s and 70s sexual intimacy has been moved from an intimate act of bonding to much more of a cultural recreational activity. The line from the 1960s song “if you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with” became the model for what ultimately resulted in the cheapening of the concept of love and furthering the process of trying to make love and sex interchangeable concepts. In reality, the bonding chemistry continues and ultimately creates a great deal of cognitive confusion.
The chemistry of bonding tends to create an atmosphere of acceptance within the relationship. When the atmosphere of acceptance occurs too early in the relationship, problematic behaviors tend to be overlooked, minimized or ignored. When I talk about this act occurring too early in a relationship I am reflecting information that I get from a number of people who say that they commonly become sexually intimate within hours, or a few days, after becoming involved with a partner. An individual can be mechanically very proficient at sex, and produce a great deal of pleasure, and yet have very little in the way of social skills or skills to provide for long-term emotional or financial success. Traits that are extremely important for the long-term success of the relationship tend to be in the area of social and financial skills.
I hear from a number of people that there is an expectation of sex, from both males and females, within a short time of meeting. This tends to leave very little time for people to get to know one another and even worse to discover where there are fatal flaws in the psychological compatibilities of the people involved. The result is relationships that are built on entertainment rather than commitment or problem-solving. Relationships require a level of negotiation so that mutually beneficial outcomes are more likely. Relationships based mostly on recreation tend to become dull in a relatively short period of time.
Please do not mistake my message here. Sex is fun and should be an important part of a successful relationship. Also do not mistake my meaning that sex, intimacy and intercourse are interchangeable terms. Truly healthy relationships have a significant amount of intimacy that does not include intercourse or orgasms. The use of sexually explicit behaviors and language, within a committed and long-term relationship, can actually be the glue that holds relationships together during tough times.
Every individual with whom you have sexual intimacy has the potential of becoming the parent of your child. Every individual with whom you have sexual contact also has a potential of gifting you with whatever disease was given to them through some previous sexual activity, most generally by someone you don’t even know.
My take-home message here is this: Don’t expect relationships that start with orgasms to become long-term, loving, and supportive lifestyles. In other words spend much more time in communication with an individual prior to becoming sexually involved. The relationship will change when physical intimacy is introduced. The risk for pregnancy is present with every act of intercourse. Ignoring this basic concept has led us to around 60 million abortions in a culture where people claim to not want abortion used as a means of birth control.
In the next article I plan to discuss some thinking errors that dramatically increase the chances of entering into a flawed relationship. Until next time, save your time, save your money and improve your emotional well-being by only having sex with your spouse.