When Did Sex Become The Wrong Way To Show Affection?

By Gigi Engle

“I never in a million years thought I’d ever want a girlfriend who wanted sex less," he said while I kissed his neck. Clearly, I was not getting any this sunny Saturday morning.

Sex had been coming between us lately, and not in the way you’d expect. The sex wasn’t bad, and I — the lady of the pair, the one society expects to be less sexual -- was not neglecting his desires.

In fact, I was constantly trying to have sex. And therein lay the problem. It was me, not my boyfriend, who always wanted to get it on.

I was constantly throwing myself at him, and I was a bit sad that I felt the need to do this. At the same time, the sex was so mind-blowing that I couldn't resist.

It was the best sex of my life. We had amazing sexual chemistry. I couldn’t get enough of the smell of his skin.

When I held him, it was like I couldn’t get close enough; I couldn’t kiss him enough; I couldn’t touch him enough.

It was more than physical. It so surpassed the physical realm.

I was crazy in love with the guy. I’m a very sexual person, but my overwhelming desire to have sex with my boyfriend was more deep-rooted than the need for physical satisfaction. It was my way of showing him affection.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to have sex with me. He did. He just didn’t understand why I needed to have it incessantly. He’d say he wanted our relationship to be about more than just sex.

He confused me when he said things like this. Why couldn’t sex be enough? It was like he was lukewarm to my sexual advances.

I couldn’t understand what was so wrong with equating sex and intimacy. I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around the whole thing.

Isn’t it good to want to have sex with your partner? Isn’t it right to find your partner so sexy and desirable that you simply can’t keep your hands away?

I had lived life thinking that loving people meant constantly wanting them. I'd thought that SEX was the ultimate form of affection. It’s the most intimate thing two people can do, after all.

When did sex become the wrong way to show affection?

Did I miss something? When did making love to someone stop meaning "I love you"?

He couldn’t -- and wouldn’t -- keep up with me. It was me who was in the wrong for wanting it too much -- not him. I couldn’t really win.

You can imagine the rejection I felt when I was told that what I was doing was off-putting. He called it “negotiating for sex.”

I felt like I had to ask for it or risk not getting any at all. As if it were some kind of difficult, laborious task to sleep with me. That stung.

It seemed I could do no right. Men say women don’t want sex enough. But once we do, we suddenly want it “too much.” WTF?! How can you win in a situation like that?

But sex is not an objectifying way to show affection in a relationship.

I think sex gets shoved under the umbrella of objectification, regardless of context. The thing is this: In a relationship, sex is a perfectly valid form of expressing intimacy.

It isn’t dirty, and it isn’t wrong. You’re not objectifying your partner in order to sexually gratify yourself. The two of you are in a meaningful, trusting relationship. Sex is a way to show your love.

Sex is a reminder of your love for each other, and doing it regularly or daily (or however often is comfortable for you) reminds the two of you of your emotional closeness.

Sex outside a relationship can have several meanings. It can be more about lust than love, for example. This makes sense, too -- that sex can be less about affection than it is about pure desire.

Sex doesn’t need to be less intimate than holding hands.

You wouldn’t casually put your arm around a stranger, and you wouldn’t cuddle with someone you didn’t care about. But you might easily have casual sex with someone.

Sex is often seen as more animalistic and less loving than other behaviors. It’s important to understand that there is a difference between casual sex and relationship sex. There is intimacy involved when two people are in love.

In a relationship, sex stops being about orgasms and starts to become about mutual satisfaction and deeper love.

There is no reason that any act of physical affection should be less important than another. It is different for every person and every couple.

Sex doesn’t need to be the ONLY way to show affection.

I think my boyfriend and I were both in the right -- just in different ways. I was right in that sex was a reasonable way to show how much I loved him.

He was right in that sex didn't have to be the ONLY way to show affection. I didn’t understand this point, as I was so used to sex being the only way I expressed intimacy.

This belief was partly due to the fact that I had never really been in love before. Before my boyfriend, sex was a way to satiate my partner’s need for connection and to quench my sexual desires.

For me, it had always been about the physical pleasure. But it had been about emotional intimacy for my partners.

At the time, I saw this as a win-win situation. But once love entered the picture (on my end, at least), I learned there were other ways to show my feelings.

When I began craving sex as a way to be emotionally close, my boyfriend pointed out that there were other ways of showing emotional love.

While his rejection of my advances had initially been insulting, I came to understand that he simply wanted and needed more than I could offer.

I had never been with a man who didn’t think sex was enough. I had never had anyone want more. He wasn’t rejecting me because he didn’t want me; he was rejecting me because he wanted me to learn to express my feelings differently.

I've learned that there's no right or wrong way to show intimacy. With more communication and understanding, maybe we can all try to find a little more balance.