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Our Obsession With Sex Is Making Us Have Less Passionate Love Lives

But you can change your habits to make your sex life more satisfying.

08/18/2017 12:01 EDT | Updated 08/18/2017 12:02 EDT

Sex is an important part of many people's lives, whether they're in a relationship or not.

But our society's obsession with sex (think about it: we see sex on TV, in movies, on the internet, in advertisements) has made it an isolating experience, separate from the rest our lives.

And according to recent research, this is making us a lot less satisfied with sex, with many couples lacking "harmonious sexual passion."

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According to a report in Scientific American, "harmonious sexual passion" is a "passion for sex that is well integrated and in harmony with other aspects of the self, creating minimal conflict with other areas of life."

SA references a series of studies that used experiments to find the commonalities in couples who had a passionate sex life.

The researchers found that the couples who had "harmonious sexual passion" easily integrated sex with other aspects of their lives, allowing them to enjoy sex in a spontaneous and uninhibited manner.

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These people had less conflict in their relationships and had less sexually intrusive thoughts throughout the day.

On the other side of the spectrum were those who had "obsessive sexual passion" and had desires that were detached from the rest of their lives. In this instance, these people found it hard to integrate their sexuality into other parts of their lives, and viewed sex as a goal, rather than something that could be fully enjoyed.

People who had "obsessive sexual passion" were also more likely to show interest in alternative partners, have violent reactions to romantic rejection, and be the main reason for the end of a relationship.

People who had "obsessive sexual passion" were also more likely to show interest in alternative partners, have violent reactions to romantic rejection, and be the main reason for the end of a relationship.

But SA notes that rather than focus on sexual performance, "we should shift more towards helping people accept and feel comfortable with their sexuality, embrace sexual passion, and help them harness that passion in ways that bring joy, vitality, and openness to all areas of their life."

And according to sex therapist Tammy Nelson, there is no "normal" when it comes to a couple's sex life.

"Forget about 'normal.' 'Normal' is a setting on the washing machine, nothing more. What's most important is that you learn to have empathy for your partner and accept whatever their needs might be, even if they are different than your own," she told HuffPost.

Forget about 'normal.' 'Normal' is a setting on the washing machine, nothing more.

So instead of worrying about whether you're having enough sex, or if you and your partner have different sex drives, what matters is how sexually satisfied you are.

"Your shared sex life is a constant navigation between the tides of your libido, your time and energy, and mutual desire to prioritize sex," sex educator Chris Rose told HuffPost. "Frequent conversations about your sex life ― and increasing the amount of affectionate touch you share outside of the bedroom ― may actually be the most important factors in a long-term sexually satisfying relationship."

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If you are looking to find more passion in your sex life, there are a few things you can try.

"Try new things," Nelson said. "Snuggle more, masturbate, negotiate an open relationship if you're into that, but make sure you always talk about what is important to you," she said. "Never silently seethe or hold resentment."

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