Sex Performance and Your Relationship

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: How does acceptance of sexual performance affect relationships?

Michael Perelman, PhD, Sex and Marital Therapist
A lot of this can be compensated for by just getting along well, and sort of having good communication and acceptance of each other. And what happens is, if she's feeling abandoned, if she's feeling rejected, there's a tendency to get a little irritable about that, and that irritability can cause him to be avoidant, and that avoidant can cause more irritability and that's the kind of viscous cycle you see. There is an issue that goes on, because essentially you're raising the issue of desire and frequency of sex. And it is typical in our society for men to be seeking out sex more frequently earlier in the relationship and less frequently later in the relationship, and in part that's because these same men are uncomfortable with their own declining performance and ability. So you've got two things driving this, in part, he's living in a society that says she was more attractive when she was younger, but he also knows he was more attractive when he was younger on one level. He knows he was more robust and more potent when he was younger, and he's got some discomfort about that, so to put it short, the more accepting you can be of each other, the more supportive you can be of each other, the more loving you can be of each other, the better off you're going to be, and if sex is a drop less frequent, but there's a lot of intimacy and closeness, it's going to work out fine. If sex is less frequent and somebody gets irritable and nasty and critical, then there's going to be avoidance and that can lead to much bigger problems.