4 Great Reasons To Have Sex Even If You're Not "In The Mood"

You’re in the middle of scrolling through endless information on your smart phone when your partner walks by and you think – wow they look good. You are suddenly overcome with desire and passion. You put down your phone, get up, put your arms around them and plant a big smooch. And then you tumble to the ground and make passionate love.

Or… maybe not.

It’s a nice thought that sex would happen after being spontaneously overcome with lust and passion for our partner. After all, the best romantic movie scenes look like that – and maybe our own memories of our favourite sexual encounters do too.

But anyone who has been in a relationship likely knows all too well that that passion ebbs and flows and we don’t always want to tear off our partner’s clothes.

So does that mean we shouldn’t have sex?

Not necessarily.

Researchers have found that there are 237 distinct reasons men and women report having sex. And, as long as we are consenting and willing participants, there are some very positive reasons to engage in sex, even if your desire is lukewarm at best.

1. To Say Thank You

Your partner has been working long-hard days at the office. They made you a nice dinner. Or they did more than their fair share of the household cleaning. Or maybe they put in an extra long visit with your sometimes “challenging” family. And their efforts mean so much to you and you feel nice and warm and cuddly inside.

Choosing to have sex with your partner in this situation could be considered a way of saying thank you. And it could feel like it’s a bit more for them than it is for us. Which is actually perfectly okay – at least in some situations.

Research has found that when we choose to have sex with our partner for positive reasons (i.e, to say thank you) versus to avoid a negative outcome (i.e., my partner would be mad if we didn’t) that couples experience higher levels of sexual satisfaction. So while it should raise a red flag if you’re having sex to avoid a partner’s temper tantrum, if you choose to have sex to make them happy or to say thank you, and that in turns makes you happy, all systems go.

2. It’s Been A While

Sometimes a fair bit of time can pass since the last time we had sex. It could be because of busy schedules, our family is visiting from out of town, illness or kids. Whatever the reason if it’s been a long time sometimes we get out of the habit of being intimate and sex can simply fall off the radar.

It turns out that the best thing you can do for your sex life in this situation might be to have “maintenance sex.” Maintenance sex refers to the kind of sex that you don’t necessarily feel that excited about, but you choose to do because it puts sex back on the map again.

In fact, research shows that the most sexually satisfied couples report having maintenance sex between the more exciting and satisfying sexual encounters. It means that we are essentially prioritizing our sex life so that we don’t develop a pattern of going too long without it. Maintenance sex might be kind of quick, less passionate – even a bit awkward. The important part is that both of you are choosing to put your sex life ahead of other demands, even if sexual desire isn’t burning hot.

3. You’re Stressed and Overwhelmed

When we are feeling particularly stressed and overwhelmed, sex can feel like another thing we have to do – and that there just isn’t enough time for. We need to finish cleaning the house, and plan for that meeting tomorrow, and get our jacket dry cleaned, and there is dinner with friends on Thursday, and we haven’t called our parents yet this week. Yikes!

And while we don’t want to add more things on top of that to do list, there may be some benefits from making sex jump up the line. Specifically, research has found that having sex, particularly if an orgasm occurs, releases oxytocin and endorphins which both help us to feel more at ease and relaxed.

So, if we make time to have sex – particularly when we feel that “to do” list piling up and it feels like it could be the last thing you’re interested in, it could just make us feel calmer and make the rest of our stresses feel a bit more manageable.

4. You Feel Like Cuddling

Hugs, holding hands, cuddling. They are all wonderful, intimate activities that help us feel close and connected to our partners. And they are important parts of any healthy and satisfying intimate relationship. But sometimes we want to cuddle and our partner wants to have sex. And too often partner’s disagree on what to do and end up doing neither!

But sex can provide another level of closeness. We can be completely naked and as physically close as two people can get. Sometimes while kissing, holding hands and cuddling. So maybe you’re not overcome with passion or sexual urges to have sex with your partner when they suggest it. But sometimes it could be a perfectly wonderful reason to consent to sex if you’re feeling that you want to be close to your partner when they initiate. Research shows that for both men and women, but for women in particular, sexual desire is found to increase after starting to engage in sex. So you may find that if you choose to have sex to feel close, sexual desire could follow.

It’s important to note that if you consent to having sex, but feeling close is your number one goal (versus say, a hot fast quicky), it is definitely worth indicating your needs to your partner so you can have the kind of sex that gives you the feeling you’re looking for. For example, you might want to have sex in a position that lets you hold one another close and look into each other’s eyes for a longer time. It can be a great compromise.

Take Away

It’s not advisable to get in the habit of always having sex for reasons other than desire. And we definitely do not want to be having sex that we don’t desire in order to avoid disappointing our partner. And, to be crystal clear – sex should always, always, always be consensual. But if your sexual desire is not pulsating through your body at the first sight of our partner, there still might be some great, healthy reasons to engage in sex that can still be perfectly satisfying for other reasons.

Sarah Hunter Murray