Replacing communication with sex prepares us for divorce

This column was written by Tristan Gavin.

I am sure you have heard the statistics on the frighteningly low proportion of successful marriages before, so I won’t bore you with numbers. What I will bore you with, however, is my opinion on the cause of this trend, specifically the role sex plays in our society.

In the last few decades, premarital sex has become something of a banality, along with divorce.  I won’t argue that having sex before marriage causes divorce, because there are millions of couples who make it work after a fruitful youth.  I do believe, however, that sex is one of the world’s strongest weapons, and if used incorrectly, can ruin relationships.

Sex is awesome. It feels good, it provides a way to physically express love, and it creates an emotional tie between two people that transcends nearly anything.  Too often, however, young couples use sex to solve problems when their poor communication skills fail.  By holding their relationships together with physical action, rather than emotional connection, many couples doom themselves for failure.

Emotional connections and friendships last forever, but even the greatest sexual artists lose a step or two with age. Without sex to provide the adhesion between two incompatible people, they will realize their vast differences,and take their dispute to the courtroom rather than the bedroom.

When I lost my virginity, it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. I talked about it with my high school girlfriend for weeks before deciding to “take our relationship to the next level.” I would be lying if I said sexual desires played no part, but it was an incredibly calculated decision for us. We had dated for two years and were best friends, so we clearly weren’t using sex as a crutch. We decided to have sex because we thought we were close enough as friends that we could probably make it work in the long run with our emotional compatibility, but wanted to make sure we were sexually compatible before we committed to anything greater.

We were compatible.   The sex was great, but not the most important part of our relationship at all. Like many, our relationship dissolved as we went to college and changed. Yet I know that at that point in time, I was emotionally and sexually connected with her so strongly that, with work, I could have lived my whole life with her.

In a college environment where alcohol and whatever else you do may lead you into relationships founded upon sexual acts at parties, it is important to step back and decide whether you would be with your partner if not for the sex.  If you fail to develop a friendship with your partner, you are setting yourself up, in action and mindset, to be another number in the divorce files.

Whether or not the sex comes first or at all may not matter, but in my humble opinion, you can’t “make” love.  Sex can show how you feel and bring you great pleasure, but it cannot create an emotional bond as strong as love.  Have sex and make mistakes if that is your cup of tea, but in the words of the great philosopher Mark Michaud, “don’t let short term wants (sex) get in the way of your long term needs (love and marriage).” That is why people get divorced.