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Inquiring minds

via klwalton, an article called "Why Marriages Fail" (http://www.shrinktalk.net/archives/why_marriages_fail_1.phtml) contains the following quote:
couples that don't ever fight eventually don't have sex either. Why? They are both forms of passion. If you give up one form of intensity you'll ultimately leave the other as well.
Is this true in your experience?

Comments screened; I will unscreen yours if you give me permission to do so.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
It strikes me as the kind of thing that's pretty safe to say as long as you're willing to mess your definitions about a bit. Most couples (FSVO most) probably do not have sex (FSVO of zero) eventually (FSVO a long time). Otherwise I think it's crap. Having cooperative or silly sex is just as worthwhile as having overwhelmingly passionate sex in my experience, and I'm much more likely to have the first kind if I feel friendly and secure with my partner, which fights do not cause.

Mar. 31st, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Derk and I fought constantly, and the sexual passion died fairly quickly after we got married. While Kent and I aren't married in any traditional sense, we are a committed long term couple and I have to say...this is bullshit. Kent and I never fight (we actually have a reputation for not fighting) and our sex life is just fine thankyouverymuch.

Feel free to unscreen.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
No, not true in my experience. We don't ever fight. I don't do fighting. We have really incredibly hot sex.

Cute-poet-chick and I fought all the time. We had barely any sex at all after the first year. It was not unusual for six months to pass without sex, but a week without a fight was rare.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
(feel free to unscreen me)
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:53 am (UTC)
Well, we fight and we have sex; less of each as we get older. No idea whether it's true for anyone else.

OK to unscreen.
Mar. 31st, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
Well, last partner and I did not fight, and by that I mean did not have Difficult Conversations that should have been had. We eventually stopped having sex. So yes, I have seen that correlation proved trued. However, correlation is not causation, and both those things were symptoms of a larger unhappiness.
Mar. 31st, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
oh yeah, screen or unscreen as you wish!
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
I think this correlation might be quite common, but if so I maintain it really isn't about passion at all, it's about communication. Sex and arguments are both signs of two people striving to communicate and engage with each other. When you lose the will to communicate is when a marriage fails. For me personally, my marriage failed with plenty of arguments and plenty of sex, so it's clearly not the only factor either. In my current relationship there is plenty of communication, very little of it argumentative, and tons of great sex. But it's also still in NRE, so who knows how that will change in the long haul.

Unscreen at will.
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
Bullshit. Feel free to unscreen.
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:40 am (UTC)
no fight, no sex
well, we don't fight, and we don't have sex. those aren't related; we've got plenty of passion. we don't have sex because neitehr chronic depression nor meds fighting it seem to leave us with much of a sex drive. we don't fight because we don't believe it's the best way to deal with disagreements.

our relationship isn't a failure. sex didn't bring us together, and doesn't keep us together; it's not particularly relevant. it might be little-known secret for people who commit "shrinktalk", but sex isn't necessary for a great primary relationship.

fighting would probably tear us apart. i've fought with two partners in my life, with both of them the sex decreased as the fights took over, and eventually the fighting killed the relationship. i don't ever want to fight with a partner again.

the whole idea that fighting means passion is unadulterated bullshit, IMO. it just means one hasn't found more efficient and kinder ways to disagree. fighting does, in fact, strike me as the antithesis of intimacy. maybe with the exception of people who have hot make-up sex. there are none of those in canada. :)

(you may unscreen.)
Mar. 31st, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Hm. By my definition, Mike and I have had about 3 or 4 fights in about 20 years of association. Much more frequently, we have discussions about our differences in opinion. I don't call these "fights" because we are rarely angry at each other, or angry at all -- we might be irritated, but it's rare for Mike and I to interact for fifteen minutes without at least one or the other laughing or smiling. On the other side of the equation, we have an awful lot of sex; long sessions, short sessions, sessions where we're both so tired that we hurry up to the finish, sessions where we can't stop giggling, and sessions that are so emotionally intense that we almost weep.

So my answer is, no, that's not true for us. Come to think of it, it wasn't true for me and Len, either. My first boyfriend and I used to fight, and the one just after that, too, but that mostly involved them screaming and me crying, so I don't know if you'd call that a fight, either.
Mar. 31st, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
Not in my experience.

It may be that people who don't fight because they squelch anything they disagree about are likely to have less sex, because the disagreement doesn't go away and gets in the way of other stuff. But other than that, no.

I don't suppose they'd argue that if your goal was to not fight with someone, what you had to do was simply not have sex with them. Shall we introduce that into international relations?

[unscreen if you like]
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
re: Inquiring minds
Load of bullshit, in my experience, and from my observation of others. Just the sort of thing that someone can safely say, though, and have bunches of people thinking it must be true, because they've seen it in print. Feh.

My earlier relationships involved more fighting, and somewhat less sex. The first long-term one (7 years) died for lack of interest in sex (I was a bit foolish to let it go - there are plenty of other reasons the relationship was excellent) but how much fighting there was doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. My mother has been married twice, to men who never fought, and they were both excellent stable relationships that lasted until my father, and then my stepdad, died.

Mostly, I don't fight. There doesn't seem to be any need to, or any point to it. For me, anyway.

Feel free to unscreen.
Mar. 31st, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
Feel free to unscreen.

My first response to that statement is that it's probably valid if they really mean NEVER, no matter what, even if you're angry you hold it in. Even when the people are involved are generally reasonable about working things out, there's a fairly good chance that some time the situation will be severe enough, or someone will be biochemically upset, so the encounter gets unreasonable.

And that's my second response--judging from these comments, it clearly depends on what "fight" means also. What one person might call a "tense discussion" another might call a "fight." I probably have a pretty broad definition of "fight," including "any tense discussion in which voices are raised."

So I'd say the statement is probably true, but it depends on definitions also.
Mar. 31st, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Um. I don't fight much. But I suppose that if you viewed it instead as "if she can't frustrate the hell out of me once in a while, I don't care enough about her to really want sex with her," then I'd view it as true enough.

More generally, I think it works as a warning, an area for investigation. If you go to the doctor and say "X is happening" the doctor might investigate and say "nope, that's perfectly normal." But it was a good idea to think about it, and maybe let an expert look at it if there are other complaints.

But a low-stress, mellow couple might not have anything worth fighting over.

(You can unscreen if you wish.)
Mar. 31st, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
They are NOT both signs of passion unless you water down the definition of passion to include any emotional expression.

I fought continuously with my first wife. Sex ended very quickly in that relationship. The marriage continued for 15ish years, but the relationship was really over before the wedding even took place.

I didn't fight with the second wife until we were near the end of the marriage. Sex died about the same time.

But those are only correlations, not cause and effect. Propbably the same root cause, though.

I have never fought with the third. We average twice a day for sex.

I used to be an angry man. Very angry. I had no appetite for the company of other people much less engage in sex with any of them. For me, anger was the expression of feeling powerless -- not being powerless necessarily, but feeling powerless. It was my response to believing I had no control of my life. Things were not going as I wanted. My fate was not in my hands.

That is the way the world seemed only because I abdicated.

For me, anger was not passion, it was terror.

Mostly for me, sex isn't passion, either. It is play.

As for the quote, it is one point of view and the person who believes it will find that their lives work that way.

It is not the point of view I have. If I feel an urge to fight (rarely, these days), I know it is just that old feeling of powerlessness sneaking its nose under the tent wall. I laugh at it and it goes away for awhile.

I also do not subscribe to the nothing that an end to a relationship is a failure.

I could jump right up on my soapbox about the underlying assumptions in that quote in relation to the "why_marriages_fail" url. But, really, I no longer feel the compulsion to change other people's minds. I am tempted, but not driven. :)
Mar. 31st, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Unscreen if you wish
Mar. 31st, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
I'm with jinian -- the author is clearly using hir own private definitions of words in order to be able to say this with a straight face. IME, there is nothing LESS conducive to sex than fighting; when I'm angry with my partner, I sure as hell don't feel like hopping in the sack! And that feeling tends to carry over for quite a while later, too. If the fight was about something important enough, I'm not going to be interested in sex until the disagreement has been resolved -- which doesn't happen while we're still fighting!

It should also be noted that my parents stopped having sex (they actually got twin beds!) when I was in college, but they never stopped having fights.

Fighting IME is going to happen occasionally in any relationship, and if it doesn't, then something isn't right. If the something is that one or both parties are suppressing their emotions, then I suppose the buildup of resentment from that would eventually affect the sexual arena as well. But this is a totally different phenomenon from what the author is claiming; it's not "abandonment of passion" at all, it's a symptom of something seriously wrong in the relationship.

It does occur to me to wonder whether there are people for whom it might be true -- people who find fighting to be sexually exciting, in the same way that some people find pain to be sexually exciting (which I am absolutely not wired for). If there are, then those people might find that lack of fighting eventually leads to lack of sex, but it's a huge mistake to generalize from isolated examples to the universe.

Bottom line: this author is pulling that hypothesis out of hir ass.

Mar. 31st, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Feel free to unscreen.

It's been true for me in most relationships including my current one.

We get along great, rarely fight, but we rarely have sex, either. That's mostly due to me taking anti depressants and being a low libido person to begin with.

I realized years ago that I view fighting as a way to be close to someone. My mom and I fought like crazy and my dad wouldn't fight with anyone and would try to get us to stop. We ignored him.
Apr. 3rd, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
(unscreen if you like)

A couple of people have already said similar things, but there's no harm in redundancy. In my experience, "not fighting" can mean that there's nothing the lovers disagree about at the moment or it can mean that one or both of them is so conflict-averse they will do just about anything to avoid difficult discussions for fear there might be anger or other scary feelings involved. But avoiding difficult or risky discussions (if there is something that needs to be discussed) means disengaging from one's partner, and that distance is likely to take the passion out of everything, including sex.

However, since my love-relationship life has been a long bumpy series of failures, growing more dismal as the years go on, I doubt that my opinion is valuable on this subject.
Apr. 3rd, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
Feel free to unscreen.

I don't think it works as a logical statement. It may be true that people who don't openly communicate about areas of conflict (which is what I hope they mean by fight) are more likely to have less sex, because, well they aren't good at openly communicating about sex and desire either.

When I've been with people whom I didn't feel I could have honest disagreements with, or express my thoughts and opinions to, I didn't feel like having sex with them. For me, it's something along the lines of "if you'll pull away if I say I don't like x type of music, or that I want to go to y, I don't feel like I can tell you what I like in bed."
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