In order to maintain a healthy long-term sexual relationship, you need to be able to effectively navigate conflict.

Do you find yourself mistaking sex for intimacy? Have you fallen in love with someone you hardly know but have fantastic sex with? Do you find yourself using sex to resolve arguments with your partner?

It’s quite common for people to equate intense sexual experiences with love and intimacy. Sometimes couples may feel pressured to have sex even when they are angry or insecure. This way of relating gets reinforced by the larger culture and the media. Take, for example, the song by Robin Thicke, “Love After War”:

“Caught in lies, girl’s cry, doors slam and broken lights/ Bottles hit the TV screen/ You gotta go, or I’m gonna leave/ Throwing clothes into the yard/ When we go we go so hard /It only makes me want you more, more, more

(Love after war) I need you tonight baby (Love after war) Come on and let me make it right baby(Love after war) I’m knockin’ on your door (Love after war) You know I want it, you know I want that”

Having sex when we are still angry can be exciting, because when we are in these states our endorphins are high. Some couples may see this as an opportunity to cathartically express what they are feeling. There are times when this combination of experiences helps couples temporarily feel closer, or more connected, because they may say positive things to each other while they are in the fantasy zone brought on by the body’s chemistry. But this isn’t going to last. Once those neurochemicals diminish, you are still facing the same issue you were before the neurochemicals kicked in.