Does it always have to be about sex?

Over on Reddit, gays are throwing out their hottest takes about queer life and culture, and one opinion about the role of intercourse in a relationship has sparked rhetorical fireworks (see what we did there)?

One user says “actually liking your partner and doing basic things but together is more important than just sex.” And judging by the response, a large number of gays agree! As of publication, the post has received nearly 400 “up” votes.

“Yeah…….have you ever asked a guy if they wanted to do a jigsaw puzzle? They look at you like you’re a Renaissance painting,” somebody commented.

“Cuddle and pillow talk >>>> sex,” added somebody else.

The conversation comes at an opportune moment, given the recent discourse about the viability of sexless marriages.

The New York Times recently published a feature story about the phenomenon, in which (mostly) happy couples sound off about their arrangements. It’s worth noting that every subject in the story wished to be identified by their first names, middle names or a nickname, given the social stigma around asexual partnerships.

Though everybody interviewed was heterosexual, their experiences are still relevant to LGBTQ+ folx. Some of the couples saw their sex lives fizzle after years of marriage, while other says kids changed the equation. Emily, who’s been married for 34 years, says she used to feel like intercourse was akin to a chore like “vacuuming the house.”

Her husband noticed, and admitted his sex drive has dipped as well. “If you are used to somebody responding to you in a certain way, you can tell when they are acting,” she said. “I wasn’t the same person.”

But even for couples who haven’t been together for decades, intercourse is less common than one may think. The 2021 General Social Survey found that roughly 50% of adults polled had sex once per month or less, with half of those respondents acknowledging they haven’t had sex for a year.

There’s also the question of what “sex” actually means. It’s been reported that members of Gen Z are having less sex than previous generations, but maybe their definition is just different. Kay, a queer high school student in Michigan, told Fortune the term encompasses more than vaginal or anal intercourse.

“There’s probably a lot of teenagers who are like, ‘No, I’ve never had sexual intercourse, but I’ve had other kinds of sex,'” she said.

One member of gay couple recently wrote to Queerty‘s “Ask Jake” and said he and his partner have not having any sex after 15 years of marriage, intercourse or otherwise.

“I still find him handsome and often admire him throughout the day, but I don’t feel that burning hot passion I once felt and, clearly, he doesn’t either,” wrote “Friend with no Benefits.”

The writer didn’t mention he’s unhappy with their arrangement, but admitted he’s worried he’s going to “wake up in another 15 years and realize I’m married to my roommate.”

Jake, for what it’s worth, said “Friend with no Benefits” shouldn’t fret. A lack of sex doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of intimacy. We can all agree: cuddling with your partner on the couch is oftentimes, if not always, more gratifying than any one-night stand.

“Luckily, as queer people, we have the unique perspective that it’s okay to design our lives and relationships in ways that work for us, rather than by society’s standards,” Jake responded. “Open relationships and non-monogamy are very common, as they retain what’s special about a partnership, while also being realistic about our biological drives.”

The NYT article also touches on the role of non-monogamy in contemporary marriages.

Long ago, gays came to the realization that it’s not practical to expect two people to fulfill one another’s emotional and sexual desires for decades on end. And the straights finally appear to be catching up. The aforementioned couple told Jake they’re open and regularly have intercourse with other guys… just not each other.

And that’s OK! To get back to the debate on Reddit, isn’t life mostly just a collection of daily chores and tasks? We go to the grocery store, head to the pharmacy, wash our clothes and do the dishes. Companionship through life’s trivialities is powerful in and of itself.

Many of us have had sex with people we don’t like, or can’t even remember. But would you want a stranger washing your underwear, or a frenemy cooking you dinner?

Didn’t think so!

What do you think? Is sex the most important part of a relationship? Let us know in the comments below!

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