Do you believe in “soul mates”? If so, you should think twice about how that kind of romantic attitude towards finding a partner affects your sex life. To have a happy sex life in a long term-term relationship requires hard work rather than a “sexpectation” of everlasting sexual satisfaction simply because you are “soul mates”, revealed a new study by University of Toronto psychologists. 

The research involved 1900 people and concluded that there are essentially two groups of people (even if many are somewhere in between) -  those who understand the need for sexual growth and those who believe in “sexual destiny”. 

If you think sex is key, chances are your attitude towards it will either make or break the relationship. 

"People who believe in sexual destiny are using their sex life as a barometer for how well their relationship is doing, and they believe problems in the bedroom equal problems in the relationship as a whole," said Jessica Maxwell, a PhD candidate and lead author of the study.

On the other hand, if you acknowledge that changes can happen and working on sex is a normal part of a growing and changing relationship, you might have better success in keeping it together. 

"Whereas people who believe in sexual growth not only believe they can work on their sexual problems, but they are not letting it affect their relationship satisfaction,” added Maxwell.

People in both camps tend to go through the initial “honeymoon” phase of a relationship that lasts about two to three years. But then, inevitably, will come a turning point.

"We know that disagreements in the sexual domain are somewhat inevitable over time," added Maxwell. "Your sex life is like a garden, and it needs to be watered and nurtured to maintain it." 

Interestingly, while women may traditionally be the more eager proponents of romantic philosophies like the idea of “soul mates”, the study demonstrated they are also more likely than their male counterparts to understand that sex takes work. 

"I think that this could be because there is some evidence that sexual satisfaction takes more work for women, so they rate higher on the sexual growth scale," Maxwell elaborated.

The researchers further point out the need for counsellors and couple therapists to help address sexual issues as such problems are quite normal, especially among those who cling too strongly to the notion of “sexual destiny”.

"Sexual-destiny beliefs have a lot of similarities with other dysfunctional beliefs about sex, and I think it's important to recognize and address that,” concluded Maxwell. 

The study looked at both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. 

You can read the study “How Implicit Theories of Sexuality Shape Sexual and Relationship Well-Being” here in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

COVER PHOTO:

A pair of Swedish fans kiss prior to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Group B match between Sweden and Paraguay played at the Olympic Stadium on June 15, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)