When Is Make-Up Sex a Good Thing?

If you\’re relying on make-up sex too often, your relationship may need help

Make-up sex is famous for being unbridled and highly pleasurable. And that can be memorable, especially if the overall sex life of a couple has been routine, humdrum, or just plain bad most of the time. In a good marriage or relationship, make-up sex can be a high point. But is it a good idea to suffer through a bad marriage just for those few peak moments? I say no.

There are many reasons make-up sex is so delicious, including:

  • Raw emotional state. A fight can leave emotions raw and lead to uninhibited sex, even for some couples who are relatively sedate in bed. Some of the anger that may have played out in the fighting can have a residual effect in bed in the form of aggressiveness or roughness—from either partner—which can provide a huge erotic stimulus for many people.
  • Switch in mental state. Fights engage the emotions, but also the mind, especially in the form of attitudes, judgments, the constant presentation of logical arguments or refutations of the partner\’s arguments. If a couple can break through that and get to a purer feeling state in bed, the switch from operating from the rational mind to the pleasure centers of the brain and body can be dramatic and enormously enjoyable.
  • Chemical changes. In an argument, anger and other emotions can increase adrenaline, dopamine, and testosterone levels in both men and women. Initiating sex with these chemical changes kicked in can lead to heightened states of initial excitement and pleasure.
  • Anxiety release. A fight or a drifting apart can feel emptying and threatening to both parties, no matter who initiates it. You get married for companionship and intimacy, among other things, and losing the connection is difficult for both. Make-up sex is a release from that state, a celebration of finding again that blissful state you thought you might have lost.
  • Gratitude. Your thankfulness that your partner took you back and is willing to love you again can be exciting and liberating. And the elation of the moment can have many positive effects. You enter the lovemaking with open emotions, a pleasure-enhancing state when couples make love under any circumstances. You might also be more likely to do that special thing that makes him or her go gaga—and do it with great gusto and staying power.
  • Deeper understanding and love. Your fight—if you worked through it all successfully—can lead to a new level of understanding and affection in your relationship. One partner may reveal some deep emotional secret that has been hidden or not well understood by either. The realization of a deep truth can take the relationship to a deeper level. And that gives the lovemaking a new depth also.
  • Respect from fighting well. If, in the eyes of one partner, the other partner shows courage, integrity, resolve, compassion, and vulnerability during a fight, the admiration felt afterwards can lead to heightened feelings of respect, affection, and attraction. What better confidence can we feel than the sense that our partner will risk much, fight for what he or she believes in, and do all of that in a caring and appropriate way.

There are many different types of relationships, and just as many types of sex. Make-up sex can happen in a number of scenarios, including:

  1. You\’re in a good relationship, you had a misunderstanding, or one of you hurt the other, and you have worked it through. Now the reward!
  2. You\’re in a previously good relationship that has gone bad over time and you have worked it through in relationship counseling or therapy. Again: Now the reward!
  3. Your relationship struggles at times, you had a fight and patched it up, and now you are both looking to make all the unpleasantness go away.
  4. You\’re in a consistently bad relationship, you had a fight, but you still have a raw physical attraction to your partner, so you wind up in bed.
  5. You\’re in a bad relationship, tried to work it through, even went to counseling, but addiction to the sex keeps you wedded to the misery in between lovemaking.

If scenarios 1 and 2 sound familiar, keep doing what you\’re doing! Make-up sex in good relationships is healthy, highly pleasurable, and can enhance long-term intimacy and bonding.

But if your relationship is more like scenarios 3–5, it\’s likely that sex alone will not be able to sustain it forever. In those cases, Orange County Couples and Marriage Counseling can make a difference. My perspective is this: A couple can start to look for reasons to fight to have the great make up sex, and you can wind up addicted to the fighting. Relationships that boast about the amazing and frequent sex can often be turbulent and not healthy for either party, when you look closer. The question I ask is this: “Is the fighting and the poor quality of the companionship in between bouts of intense lovemaking worth it?” In my experience, quite often the answer is no. In those cases, it makes more sense to begin to take a long-term approach and address the underlying issues of the relationship and the personalities of the partners.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.

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