01/16/2015 05:30 EST | Updated 03/18/2015 05:59 EDT

If You Want to Be in Love, You Have to Talk About Sex

A recent article in the NY Times titled "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This," has made a bit of splash on FB and other social media. Anyone at all interested in "love" seems to know about, or be talking about, these 36 questions designed to create "interpersonal closeness." But there are no questions about sex.


A recent article in the NY Times titled To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This, has made a bit of splash on FB and other social media. Anyone at all interested in "love" seems to know about, or be talking about, these 36 questions designed to create "interpersonal closeness."

The article suggests you ask your partner (or a potential partner) questions like "What would constitute a 'perfect' day for you?" or, "When did you last sing to yourself?" while staring deeply into their eyes -- and by doing this you can encourage "love."

This level of intense and concentrated communication has been found to be very helpful for couples to increase their level of intimacy quickly -- especially needed in our increasingly fast-paced, disconnected world.

But, when I read this article (and the questions), I noted a significant omission, especially as this exercise reaches for intimate closeness. There are no questions about sex. Sexual preferences, likes, dislikes, fantasies or anything of the erotic nature are entirely absent.

Why do we need sex questions?

1. Sex is tied to love:

While relationship satisfaction has long been accepted as one of the biggest predictors of happiness and well-being, evidence is now overwhelming that sexual satisfaction plays an important role in creating and maintaining a happy, healthy relationship. The research pretty unambiguously ties relationship and sexual satisfaction together.

  • One study found that being satisfied in the bedroom actually causes satisfaction in the rest of the relationship, and vice versa.
  • Another found that sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction are so tied that they go up and down together.
  • Others are in agreement that there is some sort of intertwined relationship between these two.

So, when we talk about "love" and emotional closeness, don't forget to talk about sex!

2. We rely on our partner to be everything to us sexually (in most relationships):

Monogamy, by its very definition, means we can only get our sexual needs met within our relationship. This can be problematic if we don't like to do the same sexual things. It isn't like sports or movies, where you can find a friend to go to a game or a show. We rely entirely on partners for our sexual satisfaction.

Huh? So this crucial topic is the very thing we don't discuss before getting involved? This just doesn't make sense.

Not asking some of these questions early, before a relationship fully develops, can cause unexpected disagreements and disappointments throughout the relationship.

But what questions would you even ask?

Here are a few to start with (from the Arousal Type Questionnaire):

  • When you are preparing for an ideal sexual encounter with a partner, what situation would you choose that would help you feel the highest possible level of sexual desire?
  • Would you prefer that you or your partner initiates sex?
  • What does "sex" mean to you?

Or do the full questionnaire, separately or together, to find out your arousal type and see how it fits with your partner (or potential partner) and find a way talk about sex more easily.

Don't ruin the love -- ask the sex questions too!

Contribute to the research on Arousal Types: Sexuality research is poorly funded and we're expanding this on our own, and could really use your help!

Find out your Arousal Type with the Arousal Type Tool


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