Honesty and clear communication can go a long way in helping the couple figure out what best works for them.
How important are intimacy and attraction in a romantic relationship? According to therapists, it is up to a couple to decide whether it is important for them or not. For some people, other traits take priority in relationships, but some give a lot of importance to intimacy and sexual attraction.
While some therapists consider sexual attraction as a non-negotiable element of a romantically intimate relationship, others believe that attraction grows with time and as we get to know our partner better.
As for Eva Dillon, a sex therapist based in New York City, sexual attraction needs to be prioritized from the beginning because "if a man does not have a desire for his partner at the beginning of a relationship, he will never desire her." At the same time, Dillon believes that women can "cultivate a desire for a partner with considerable effort."
“If a relationship is a meal, the sexual portion ought to be considered an integral part of it, such as the protein, instead of a frivolous part like dessert,” she declares according to CNN.
But for sex therapist Dr. Rachel Needle, a sexual connection can grow over time and it's important to not put too much pressure on the initial level of intimacy. “We have this misconception that we must be physically attracted to someone when we first meet or there is no relationship potential. That’s just not true,” she said. “Attraction can grow as you get to know someone and experience increased closeness and connection.”
In some cases men view women as "wife material" and these types of women aren't considered to be sexually adventurous according to them. Chicago-based sex therapist Dr. Elizabeth Perri shared, “I’ve observed this in male patients who are out in the dating world and feel the pressure to pick someone whom they perceive as ‘wife material’ but without sexual attraction, rather than waiting to find a partner who is a better fit both emotionally and sexually,” Perri told CNN contributor, Ian Kerner, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the people in the relationship. Honesty and clear communication can go a long way in helping the couple figure out what best works for them. Gurit E. Birnbaum writes in Psychology Today that in the initial stage of the relationship "people often disguise their flaws" later gradually becoming inattentive to each other’s needs, for example.
"Social status, health, physical attractiveness, and well-being may also ebb (and rise) with time. Declines in sexual desire may be driven, at least in part, by such changes in perceptions of partners’ value that may eventually deter future investment in the current relationship. Couple interventions that focus on the reduction of negative relationship processes that erode the perception of one’s partner mate value can enhance sexual desire and thereby contribute to maintaining the relationship over the long term."
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | martin-dm