You Need a Sex Habit*

by Andrew Forrest

Couples who are having problems aren’t having sex. Yes, I’m not a researcher or a therapist and my evidence is all anecdotal from conversations with lots of different couples, but I’m telling you: couples who are having problems aren’t having (enough) sex. Correlation or causation? Here’s what I think.

Sex is a Keystone Habit

I’ve written previously about keystone habits:

A keystone habit is a simple habit that has effects that cascade into other aspects of an individual‘s or a group‘s life.

So, a keystone habit might be:

To think of it another way, a keystone habit is the first domino that falls and knocks down all the others with it.

So, a keystone habit in healthy families is having dinner together at home every evening. That simple practice affects?the relationship between the mom and the dad and the kids? behavior in school and even their reading level. It‘s one domino that falls, knocking over a bunch of others.”

It’s not the keystone habit itself that matters as much as what that particular habit represents and sets in motion. I think sex between a husband and a wife is exactly that sort of habit; it’s a domino that falls and knocks over a bunch of others. Here’s why:

  • Sex requires proximity. It’s good for a husband and a wife to spend time together–too much time apart is never good.
  • Sex requires selflessness. Like everything else in life that’s good for you, sometimes you won’t feel like it, but there are times when your husband or your wife will need?it, and therefore your relationship needs it.
  • Sex requires?intentionality. Unlike in the movies, married folks don’t walk around ripping each others’ clothes off whenever possible. With jobs and kids and schedules, sex requires intentionality.
  • Sex sends a message. Women tend to become self-conscious about their bodies as they age and have children, and when a husband tells his wife she is?desirable, it draws them together in a profound way. And vice versa (though not the having children part).



Everybody likes sex, but contrary to what a 15 year-old boy would think, it’s not the sex itself that makes the difference for couples so much as it is the proximity, selflessness, intentionality, and message of commitment that regular sex brings to a marriage.

At least, that’s my theory. What do you think?


*If you’re married. I subscribe to the outlandish and clearly ridiculous belief that sex has a purpose, and that that purpose is only realized within a marriage between a husband and a wife. If you’re not married, not having sex won’t kill you, believe it or not. You should try it.




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