Effort vs. Destiny in Long Term Relationships

By Gamal Hennessy

Many romantic relationships suffer from an expectation of fantasy. We understand that health, wealth and personal growth require effort over a long period of time. But our intimate relationships, especially when it comes to sexual expression, are often caught up in concepts like “soulmates”, “true love”, and “happily ever after”. Social psychologist Jessica Maxwell calls this phenomenon sexual destiny belief. She contrasts it with the idea of sexual growth and suggests one is superior to the other when it comes to improving our long term partnerships.

Results suggest that those who are higher in sexual growth beliefs—who think sex takes work—are more satisfied in their sex lives and overall relationships. On the other hand, those who were stronger in sexual destiny beliefs, those who saw sexual problems as a sign that they and their partner weren’t truly soul mates, were more likely to lose faith in a relationship when sexual difficulties arose.
— Jessica Maxwell: How Implicit Theories of Sexuality Shape Relationship Well Being

The implications are clear and they make perfect sense. If we’re willing to learn to improve our minds, or exercise to improve our bodies, or work to improve our finances, then it only makes sense that we need to improve our sexual expression too…

And building a better sex life with your partner is more fun than going to work anyway…

Have fun.