Lots of fights between movie and sitcom couples end in make-up sex, but is it actually healthy to complete our arguments this way IRL? Does retreating to the bedroom solve anything, or will our problems still be waiting for us on the other side of the door? Make-up sex can be productive, but only if you go about it thoughtfully, and it doesn't mean the discussion is over.
"Make-up sex is the seductive dance between passion and aggression, and a way to move forward from a heated exchange or spat the two of you had," says Marissa Nelson, licensed marriage and family therapist, sex therapist, and founder of IntamacyMoons Retreats. "'I love you,' 'screw you,' and 'I am still mad but letting it go.' All of these feelings can make the sexual experience fiery hot, and make-up sex is the perfect way to turn that left-over frustration into ecstasy."
Though there are unhealthy ways to use it, there's nothing wrong with make-up sex in and of itself. "As long as sex is not the only way a couple resolves conflict, make-up sex is perfectly healthy because it allows the couple to re-connect and give each other pleasure in the process," says Nelson.
Here are some ways to make sure you get the most of your make-up sex.
1Know When to Use It
Make-up sex is a great way to put an end to one of those fights that just goes on and on long after everything that needs to be said has been said. If you sense that you've gotten into one of those arguments, it may be a good time to pull out make-up sex, says Nelson. If, on the other hand, one of you needs to make an urgent point, it could come off dismissive for the other one to try to change the subject to sex.
2You Still Need To Talk
It's OK to cut a discussion short for make-up sex, but understand that this is a way to address the problem later with a clear head, not to avoid discussing it altogether, says Nelson. Whether you get back to the conversation right after sex or wait it out a little longer, your issues likely won't go away just because your brain's full of oxytocin.
3Know That It's Not An Apology
Don't mistake make-up sex for an apology. Apologizing requires saying you're sorry, understanding what went wrong, and promising to do better.
"Both partners should start with the understanding that the pain and hurt of their significant other matters to them, and they are committed to understanding their perspective even if they don't agree," says Nelson. "There is intention and impact. Many couples tend to apologize for hurting their partners' feelings, but often never address or dismiss the impact that their words or actions have."
4Follow It Up With Words
To make the transition from make-up sex to actually making up, Nelson suggests asking, "will you forgive me?", "what do you need from me to be able to be a better partner to you?", or "what could I do differently in the future to avoid hurting your feelings?" after the sex.
The distraction sex provides and the hormones released during sex can make getting over a fight easier. Just make sure to take advantage of that instead of suppressing your issues altogether. Sex should help you express your feelings, not become a substitute for dealing with them.