Seems like a simple question. With two obvious answers.
On the above list, pleasure is a need. Procreation is a strategy to get a need met. Belonging, safety, meaning and purpose in life, connection, love and companionship are a few needs that come to mind when I think of having babies.
If you are engaging in sexual activities for other reasons, are you able to identify the needs that you attempting to meet?
If you have those other needs identified, take a moment to consider whether or not the strategy of having sex is actually meeting those needs.
If it is meeting those needs, have you explored the cost of getting those needs met? Meaning, are you giving up something important to get those needs met? If you are, are you feeling satisfied with your choice?
An example might be the need for contribution, or someone else’s joy. Which is delightful and a true need. Having sex for the purpose of bringing pleasure into someone else’s life is wonderful. My concern is the line between the need for contribution and obligation can get very blurry, and often you might be in obligation-land without realizing that you aren’t actually meeting the need any longer. Being able to distinguish between meeting needs and doing things out of obligation is quite the task. Please take the time to consider if you are doing it because you should, or you used to like it, or they like it so much even though you don’t, or they will be mad if you don’t, etc.
If you aren’t able to identify the needs getting met by what you are doing —in this case I am specifically speaking about sex activities, then possibly take a minute to check in. Having sex (or doing anything) without really understanding why will often lead to resentment over time.
If you are on the other side of this conversation, and your partner is reluctant to say yes to your request for sex time, then ask yourself (and more importantly them) why?
If your partner is saying no to your ‘offers’ for sex connection, likely neither of the needs for pleasure or connection/belonging are getting met in what you do together. If your partner isn’t interested in having much (or any) sex connection with you, I encourage you to get very interested in what you might say and/or do that would invite more understanding of why. If you aren’t concerned about their needs being met then that disconnect in and of itself might be part of the cause of your partner’s disinterest. Ask yourself if your request for sex is an offer for your partner’s pleasure, or are you more (even only?) concerned for your own pleasure.
If you answer this question honestly and the answer yes —to either, then possibly curiosity and honest, heartful conversation and a bit of creativity will be the remedy. I want to emphasize this last sentence, so I am going to repeat it —in another way. If you want to offer your partner pleasure in your sex connection, or if your request for sex has become a demand for your own pleasure, and you aren’t getting either of these needs met, then curiosity and honest, heartful conversation and a bit of creativity will be the remedy.
One last thing.
If you insist that you are thrilled with your sex play activities, awesome! Just for grins, do the exercise of the needs met (obviously pleasure) and also, do an earnest consideration of the cost of that pleasure. Are you secretly hoping for more of an emotional connection that isn’t happening? Do you wish to have more understanding of where the relationship is leading and are afraid to bring it up? Are you hoping for more time doing social activities —meet the other’s friends, for example? Do you long to just cuddle and be held and sex is the only way you can get any of that?
I hear so, so many times about how wonderful relationships are —especially at the beginning. The sex is good (great?) and all is good. After some amount of time, 6 months or 2 years, when the relationship has ended, I then hear all the stories of how it wasn’t really all that great, or it became less and less great. I’d love for that kind of consideration to occur as the relationship is happening so that there are no regrets or resentments after the fact.
SEX. It isn’t really that mysterious.
It is just another one of those things where talking about feelings and needs will set you up for many truly ecstatic experiences. Since you get to design your roadmap to pleasure (and/or babies —if that is your thing), if you are in the habit early in your relationship of checking in about needs being met through sex, as you change and grow together, maybe develop physical and emotional challenges, your sex play and sensual connection can change to serve your mutual pleasure as well.