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Role of Sex in Life and Relationships

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QUESTION (TOPIC)
What role does sex play in lives of people and in their relationships – In couples of different age groups, nationality, orientation etc.?
HYPOTHESIS
Sex is becoming an increasingly important part of life and a crucial element of relationships these days.
INTRODUCTION
This project aims to determine the role and importance of sexual relations and activities between the partners in a couple, during the tenure of their relationship, as well as to determine the trend of various aspects of sex-life in couples, such as frequency of sex, duration, impact of sex among other things. This is because, it has been observed that sex, or rather, lack of it, has been causative of frustration as well as instability of relationships among partners, and sometimes has even led to the complete break-down of the relationship. This tends to have adverse implications, not only on the directly affected individuals, i.e. the partners themselves, in the short run, as well as on the long run, but also on indirectly affected individuals, such as children, if the couple have any. Also, the requirements of sex, in relationships tend to change drastically with age, from merely satisfying one’s ardor and sexual urges to a stress buster as well as an emotional moment of passion. This project aims to, in detail, determine and elucidate the role which sex plays in our lives.
SUMMARY OF ISSUES
- Since when does sex play a part in the life of an average human?
- How does the importance of sex increase with puberty and what are the sexual tendencies of teenagers in adolescent stage?
- What is the role of sex in relationships, from a physical standpoint? (across diversities)
- What is the role of sex in relationships, from an emotional standpoint? (across diversities)
- What are the adverse implications of sex, be it a deficit of sex, or excess of sex?
- How is sex becoming a cause of martial breakdown or relationship breakdown
- Role of “sex-revolution” on increased role of sex in relationships.
Each of the aforementioned issues will be discussed in detail, in individual paragraphs, supported and/or supplemented with cases, facts and quotes from magazines, journals etc., as well as statistical data and analysis as and when required.
ISSUES IN DETAIL:
Since when, in terms of age does sex play a part, in a person’s life on an average? Typically, sex plays a role, not necessarily pivotal right from the beginning, but also ancillary, as in most cases, right from the time the person in question comes to know of it. As a result of increased exposure to sex, right from a very tender age, by means of commercials using sexual innuendos, television soaps, movies, large sign-boards, comedy shows where sexual gestures and innuendos are used, depiction of “soft-sexual” acts such as hugging, kissing and cuddling even in cartoon shows of today as well as the liberalized outlook of people towards sex, a person has a vague, if not rudimentary knowledge about sex. And right from such a stage, a person requires a certain amount of sexual comfort (in terms of just hugging etc.) even without realizing its sexual nature.
How does the role of sex in one’s life, and more specifically relationships, increase with puberty? In all humans, puberty entails the development of secondary sexual characteristics in a human being, caused due to the increased secretion of androgens and estrogens, in turn caused due to the secretion of the hormone “adrenocorticotropic hormone” which in turn stimulates production of the former hormones. These hormones, among other things, engender a desire for sexuality. As a person progresses through puberty, their sexual urges and desires also become stronger and more frequent. However, these urges are often satisfied, by self-relief techniques such as masturbation. However, in case of teenage couples, it is often found that, as they progress to mid teens and late teens, the tendency of sexual interactions, more than just gateway sexual acts, increases manifold. In fact, a report by BBC states that in Britain, the average age by which a person loses virginity is 16 while it was 21 in the 1950s. In the United States, the figure is even lower, at an average of 14.8 for vaginal intercourse. An article was published in the New York Daily News which stated:
The survey of 2,311 youth was conducted in the city of Baltimore by Dr. Danielle Ompad and colleagues for The New York Academy of Medicine and published in the most recent issue of The Archives of Sexual Behavior. “I don’t think other cities would be too different,” Dr. Ompad told the New York Daily News.
The study group found that 42 percent of the youth surveyed had engaged in vaginal intercourse by the age of 14 – a 9 percent increase over 1995 figures reported by the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The average age for initiating vaginal intercourse was 14.8 years.
The very fact that the age The very fact that the age of loss of virginity occurs at a much earlier age now, than was the case earlier on, is a clear and irrefutable indicator of how relationships these days tend to revolve around sex, be it “soft-sexual” acts or intercourse per se. In many cases, people, just to satisfy their primeval urges, get into relationships, rather than because of the emotional aspects it entails. This is evident in the drastic rise of “one night stands” even among teenagers, as was evident from a survey conducted by Dr. Parkianthan, consultant physician in St. George’s Hospital in Tooting. He revealed one new pattern to emerge among teenagers - some as young as 12 – to be that of “sex-texters”, who use their mobile phones to call up partners to arrange for casual encounters. The teenage texters, some as young as 12 arrange one-night stands on a regular basis via their mobiles; some claim to have had sex with more than one partner on the same day. One person may have as many as five casual partners in their "phone link" and they are likely to have a steady partner as well. One young man interviewed by researchers said he knew friends with up to 50 casual partners .Such a trend - revealing an increasingly cavalier attitude to casual sex, which in turn is a clear exemplification of the rising importance of sex and sex-life even in teenagers, as far as relationships are concerned.
In 2012 CDC released new data from the National Survey of Family Growth which included responses from 15-24 year-olds about oral sex and vaginal intercourse. Unfortunately, this data excludes same-sex contact. Among the findings for kids between 15 and 19 years-old were:

• 55% of girls and 58% of boys had engaged in some kind of sexual contact.
• 47% of girls and 44% of boys had engaged in vaginal intercourse.
• 48% of girls and 49% of boys had either given or received oral sex.
• 46% of girls and 44% of boys had never engaged in any sexual contact.
Such a cavalier attitude towards casual sex and sex life as such is a clear exemplification of detachment in today’s world, of the concept of love between partners being a prerequisite for sexual satisfaction, in favor of purely sexual interactions, which in turn play an adverse role to relationships in the future.
The next issue, which is also the core issue of this project is the role sex plays in adults, i.e. to say people of the age eighteen and above. It is worthy of mention at this point that sex and sex life as such, plays two types of roles in an adult’s relationship, namely the static role and the dynamic role. The static role, as its name suggests entails the role sex plays, standardly in most, if not all relationships. This role of sex is constant, has undergone hardly any change over the centuries, if any change at all, and is not likely as such, to undergo any change in the subsequent future. On the other side, the dynamic role sex plays in relationships vary according to a multitude of factors such as age, mindset, cultural differences, lust, sex drive etc. Thus, while static roles of sex remain definite in more or less every relationship, dynamic roles of sex vary with each relationship, based on the circumstances as well as the characteristics of the same. Furthermore, static roles are more “preliminary” in nature, they tend to manifest themselves during the initial stages of relationship. For example, sex has ever played the static role as a process to conceive. In many cases, especially in younger couples, sex helps satisfy the lust and ardor. These roles of sex are not exclusive to humankind. Static roles are common to all organisms which reproduce sexually. However, dynamic roles of sex are exclusive to specific species of mammals, more specifically primates. However, even among primates, the dynamicity of sex varies the maximum in human beings owing to usage of sex not only, as in the case of other primates, as a mode of reproduction, but also an activity from which we derive pleasure. This can be analyzed on the basis of physical and emotional aspects of sex at different stages of relationship.
From a physical standpoint, sex is used for several reasons. It is used as a stress buster and was proved by doctors at John Hopkin’s University of Medicine, Baltimore, USA to be one of the most effective modes of getting rid of stress, especially in young people. Studies showed that couples who had sex at least three times a week had more stable relationships due to less stress and tension between the partners, be it either due to their own differences or work pressures. Furthermore, with increasingly hectic work schedules, people are unable to devote time for “meaningful communication” as is required in relationships, which in turn leads slowly, but certainly, to the degradation of the relationship. Studies from Columbia University show that in many couples, a “make-shift” mechanism of using sex as an act which in itself helps maintain the relationship. Moreover, in younger people, sex plays a role of thrill and adventures as well as the pleasure from orgasms. Due to larger testostoral and estrogonal levels and higher levels of libido, younger couples tend to experiment with different positions and techniques in sex etc. This is connected with satisfaction and happiness from a physical standpoint, by providing a modicum of comfort. This is well supplemented with statistics, which have been stated below:
In women, 67% of women who have sex often report to have healthier relationships as compared to a mere 28% of their counterparts, who don’t have sex as often. In men, 81% of men who have sex often report to have healthier relationships as compared to a mere 17% of their counterparts, who don’t have it as often. Furthermore, in general, 56% of people who have sex at least on a weekly basis feel that they are satisfied with their relationships, as in stark contrast 24% of the people who don’t as often.
This physical intimacy is causative of the emotional aspects of sex as well. Thus, emotional aspects of sex are not independent of the physical aspect, as has been stated – the former is causative of the latter. Especially with older age, the importance, on relative basis of emotional aspects of sex increases with respect to purely physical aspects of sex. As a person ages however, the frequency of sexual activity decreases. In some cases, there is a change, though not a drastic one, while in some, there is virtual cessation of sexual activity with age, especially post-delivery, owing to ostensible over-burdening of maternal and paternal responsibilities, in others, there is a gradual decline, but not complete stoppage, this being accounted for due to boredom with sex and greater reliance at senescent stages of life on emotional, rather than physical comfort, as well as due to decreased libido. A graph of the same has been included here.

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