The older you get, the more work relationships seem to take, right? I suppose it's a combination of things like children, jobs, social lives, that culminate to make having a healthy relationship something to work for and maintain. And do I even have to mention sex? I mean, sure sex is a huge part of a relationship, but I feel like sex with your SO can feel like an entirely separate relationship. And fostering a healthy sexual relationship with your partner is another job to add to your list.
Fortunately, like having a healthy relationship, it doesn't have to be hard to keep both your sexual and emotional relationships healthy and thriving. When you're with the right person, the work seems to come naturally and, what's more, you're willing and eager to do it. Whether you're working, raising a family, or doing both, sex often falls to the bottom of our priority list. Or, worse, it becomes stagnant after a couple is in a long-term relationship and feels more like a chore than an act of love. But a healthy, sexual relationship doesn't just depend on the frequency or type of sex — it's so much more than that. We are constantly teaching teenagers that sex is about intimacy and trust. Why do we forget that when we're adults and cultivating a healthy, sexual relationship? It goes beyond keeping an orgasm tally or trying to spice up our sex lives with a new toy that promises to bring you and your partner closer together.
So how do you know if your sexual relationship is healthy? Here are 11 ways to know you and your partner have a healthy sexual relationship, and if you find that you can't relate to any of them, it might be time to start talking to your SO. It's about more than just an orgasm — sex is an emotional process, too. You deserve to have it as good for you, and your partner, as possible.
1. You Trust Each Other
You have to be able to trust your partner and they have to trust you, especially if you're taking things as far as sex without protection or having multiple partners. Without trust, what's the point?
2. You're Not Ashamed To Say What You Want
You should feel 100 percent comfortable sharing your fantasies and what you like in bed with your partner. If they make you feel less for enjoying a specific position or asking for the sex to be a certain way, then they are so not the SO for you. Sex should be freeing and is meant to be enjoyed. A healthy sexual relationship has no room for sex you don't really like.
3. You Are Respectful Of Each Other's Boundaries
Your partner wants to try anal, but you're not that into it. Totally OK. Sure, your partner may ask that you keep an open mind and look into it, but they should respect your boundaries and your thoughts on sex.
4. You Keep The Heat Going Outside Of The Bedroom
A thriving sexual relationship doesn't have to be limited to the bedroom. And I don't mean you have to grab your partner's boobs or junk in public either. Sharing kisses outside of the bedroom, exchanging dirty texts, or strutting your sexy naked self through the kitchen while your partner makes breakfast are all signs of a healthy sex life.
5. You Don't Feel Guilty For Turning Down Sex
You should never, ever feel guilty for turning down sex. Ever. You don't have to have a headache or be exhausted -- sometimes, you just don't feel like it. And that's fine. Your partner should respect that and understand. If they don't, it's time to say bye.
6. You Never Worry That You're Doing It Too Often Or Not Enough
Nobody wins in the counting game. Stop reading reports that you have to have sex three times a week or that if you do it every day you're some kind of nympho. When your sex life is on fleek, you don't even notice the days (or hours) between your romps. You just know that everything feels balanced and good.
7. You Listen To Each Other
When your partner tells you to stop during sex, that's exactly what you do. Listening to each other during sex is so important and can even make sex better when you realize your SO was whispering "faster" the whole time.
8. You Make Each Other Feel Sexy
Lights on and in front of a mirror? Not a nightmare when you and your SO have a healthy sex life. Instead, it should turn you on even more. You should both feel so incredibly sexy because you make each other feel that way.
9. You Both Look Forward To It
Sex shouldn't be a chore. Whether you've scheduled it for the night or it's a spontaneous sesh, both you and your partner should be looking forward to ripping each other's clothes off. If one of you is feeling lackluster, there may be something else at play. (Even something as simple as one of you feels guilty for saying no. Which is no good.)
10. You Both Know When It's Time To Try Something New
Generally, if you feel like your sex life needs a little more pizzazz, your partner does, too. That's what makes your sex life so great, right? The two of you can read each other and feel when things need to be updated. And that makes it all the more fun when you're both into it.
11. You Know That Sex Is More Than Just Getting It On
Sex is so much more than oral and groping and orgasms. Sex with your SO should hit you on a deeper level — even if you're not in love with your partner —and remind you of how much you care for that person. You should feel good before, during, and after sex because of all those feelings attaching themselves to the act.