Sex slumps are normal, partners shouldn’t expect sex all the time

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Finding time for anything in college is hard. With hours of class and just as many hours of homework every day, we’re all pretty booked. We’re expected to keep our GPAs up, keep our relationships from crumbling and keep our partners satisfied in the bedroom.

“Relationships are difficult and require work” is the understatement of the century. Healthy relationships require day-to-day work and focus from both parties. In college, sometimes this day-to-day work can fall through the cracks.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in a relationship,” said Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. “In healthy relationships both parties should feel safe and comfortable. No relationships are perfect, but you should generally feel good about yourself. Healthy relationships boil down to respect, trust, honesty, feeling equal and communication.”

According to a Vice UK article, several cynics offer a simple solution: don’t be in a relationship at all during college. Unhealthy long-term relationships leave too much room for cheating and self-doubt to be worth it.

The idea that sex is the “be all end all” of relationships and can fix any problem a couple has is incredibly popular in film and media. In comedian Chris Rock’s comedy special “Tamborine,” he explained how he believes he and his ex-wife stayed married for 16 years before their divorce.

“You wanna stay together?” Rock asked his audience. “How do you stay together? You got to f-ck. It’s that simple, you’ve got to f-ck. Every problem you have today you had when you met, but you were f-cking so you forgave. You got to f-ck no matter what move you’re in. Ladies, sometimes you’ve got to suck a melancholy d-ck.”

The stress college students experience regularly can take a toll on our sex lives, according to an article published in the Huffington Post. Cortisol is a hormone produced by stress and this hormone is also associated with the suppression of sex hormones after long periods of stress, according to research posted on the Society for Endocrinology’s website.

These difficulties lead to the possibility of couples in college falling into a sex slump or dry period. In other words, sex between the couple stops for an extended period of time.

“According to our research, men generally view sex as absolutely necessary in a relationship and women don’t always agree,” human development professor Kathleen Rodgers said. “This discrepancy has the potential to create coercive relationships if the women are only having sex when they don’t want to be.”

Two partners do not always have perfectly compatible sex drives, according to the Planned Parenthood website.

According to the site, “Your own sex drive can change based on things like stress, medications you take and other physical, emotional and lifestyle factors. Some people want to have sex every day or more than once a day, and some people hardly ever want to have sex.”

The perceived importance of sex in a relationship puts the idea in young women’s minds that they must always be willing to have sex with their partners, even when they’re tired, stressed, upset or just simply don’t want to. Falling into a sex slump is not the fault of either party in the relationship; sometimes life happens, and people have to prioritize school and work over satisfying their partner.

“It can create tension if one partner defines the relationship as sexual,” Rodgers said. “You need to discuss it openly and with respect, and if you love and care for the person enough you should be willing to get through it.”

In these kinds of situations, they can only be worked through with adequate communication on both parts.

“Communicating makes the real difference,” Dillon said. “The conversation must be ongoing and ever-changing, not ever-stagnant.”