10 Signs of a Healthy Sexual Relationship

Relationships are a wonderful part of life. 

Without relationships, we wouldn’t have anyone to share good news with, confide in, or share our grief during difficult times. 

You likely have countless relationships varying from acquaintances to intimate, committed relationships. 

How do you know if your romantic relationship is thriving or unhealthy?

What is a sexual relationship?

A sexual relationship is a type of intimate relationship with sexual involvement. There are varying levels of sexual relationships ranging from casual to committed, long-term relationships.

Sexual intimacy can enhance intimate relationships by bringing the people involved closer to each other. Sexual relationships also have the potential to become unhealthy and even abusive. 

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10 Signs of a Healthy Sexual Relationship

If you want to gauge whether you’re in a healthy relationship or not, here are ten signs of a healthy sexual relationship.

1. You’re comfortable having open communication.

Healthy communication is a vital part of all relationships, not just sexual relationships. If you keep things to yourself and don’t share them with your partner, you might end up resenting them.

Whether you want to convey your likes and dislikes when it comes to physical intimacy, or you want to talk things through about another aspect of your relationship, it’s important to have open communication. 

2. You feel comfortable being yourself.

If you feel the need to act differently when you’re with your partner, it can be exhausting. You might not show all of your true colors when you first meet, but if you feel the need to put on an act further along in your relationship, then it’s going to become an issue.

If you think your partner won’t value or love you for who you are, then it’s a sign that you’re probably not meant to be.

3. You have respectful conversations about things you disagree about.

If you’re in a relationship long enough, you’re bound to have conflict about things both big and small. Healthy conflict is a normal part of all relationships. The key is to have mutual respect during the process.

If you can have a mature, respectful conversation about something you don’t see eye-to-eye on, then it’s one sign of a healthy relationship.

4. Your relationship is built on trust.

One of the most important signs of a healthy relationship is trust. If you don’t trust your partner, your relationship will likely deteriorate quickly. 

Trust issues can lead to jealousy, paranoid feelings, and more. Lack of trust can even lead to violence and abusive behavior if left unchecked.

People in healthy relationships trust their partners to have their best interests at heart. If you don’t trust your partner or feel safe, it’s a huge red flag.

5. You support each other in your goals.

Relationships can become stronger when the people involved feel fulfilled and are working towards their goals. 

Showing interest in your partner and supporting them in their pursuits (as well as being there for them when things aren’t going well) can help bring you closer together.

If you’re envious of your partner’s success or don’t want them to pursue their interests, you might want to consider your level of commitment and support for your partner.

6. You spend time apart.

No matter how fond you are of your partner, everyone needs some time to themselves. Spending all of your time together can cause irritability and feeling burned out.

You had a life outside of your partner before you met them and it should still exist when you’re in a relationship. 

Having time to yourself can make you feel closer to your partner because you have a chance to nurture other aspects of your life. Spending time apart also gives you a chance to miss your partner.

7. Neither of you is controlling.

Some people tend to be more controlling than others. A controlling partner (or both partners) will want to have a say in what the other person does, which decisions are made, and more. 

This not only can display a lack of trust, but it’s a toxic habit that can quickly eat away at an otherwise healthy relationship.

8. You make decisions together.

Decisions that impact both of you should be jointly made, or at least jointly discussed. If one of you makes a major decision without consulting the other person, you might feel betrayed or like your partner doesn’t value your opinion.

If you choose to delegate certain decisions in your relationship, then that’s fine. The important thing is to have an agreement of your expectations beforehand.

9. You don’t complain to other people about your relationship.

Talking to your friends and family about your relationship can be healthy up to a point. However, if you constantly find yourself complaining and talking about the negative aspects of your partner to other people, it can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. 

Instead, talk to your partner directly or consult with a qualified counselor to work through conflict.

10. Your partner shows you love in the way you like to receive it.

We all have ways we like to be shown affection, whether it’s kind words, physical intimacy, or being given gifts. The challenging thing is that your partner might not want to receive love in the same way you do.

Try to make an effort to show your partner affection in the way they like to receive it, not what you prefer. 

For example, you might enjoy receiving gifts, but your partner just wants to spend quality time with you or receive a compliment from you.

Conclusion

Relationships are a part of life that can bring both joy and frustration. Sexual and romantic relationships introduce another level of vulnerability and can be challenging in their own ways. 

Knowing the signs of a healthy relationship can help you assess the health of your own relationship and determine if you need to make any changes for your (and your partner’s) emotional and mental health.

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Sources

  1. Yang, L., Comninos, A. N., & Dhillo, W. S. (2018). Intrinsic links among sex, emotion, and reproduction. Cellular and molecular life sciences, 75(12), 2197-2210. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5948280/ 
  2. McCarthy, B., & McCarthy, E. (2019). Enhancing couple sexuality: Creating an intimate and erotic bond. Routledge. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0092623X.2019.1707381 
  3. Davila, J., Mattanah, J., Bhatia, V., Latack, J. A., Feinstein, B. A., Eaton, N. R., … & Zhou, J. (2017). Romantic competence, healthy relationship functioning, and wellbeing in emerging adults. Personal Relationships, 24(1), 162-184. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pere.12175 
  4. Schoenfeld, E. A., Loving, T. J., Pope, M. T., Huston, T. L., & Štulhofer, A. (2017). Does sex really matter? Examining the connections between spouses’ nonsexual behaviors, sexual frequency, sexual satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(2), 489-501. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26732606/ 

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