Good Sex Means Better Communication

by An Ordinary Man (the novel)

“Do me a favor, would you?” He wasn’t sure they were close enough for him to ask but feared for her.
“Yes, sure; anything.” She looked at him like he was going to ask her for a kidney and gave him the impression she would be willing to if he did.
“Make two lists; one of all the things you love him in spite of, and the other of all the things you do that he likes so well. And I mean all of the things.”
“Richard!” Mock outrage.
“I’m serious. He has flaws; flaws that you know about right now and appear willing to overlook. Write it out: I, Heather Greenwood, hereby acknowledge that Nicholas Sheridan always leaves his dirty socks on the floor and I love him anyway.”
“And the other list; now, what might that one say?” she said, teasingly, inviting him to consider what she did, or permitted him to do, that Nick liked so well. Richard felt himself blush a little as he did exactly that.
“I can guarantee that there won’t be too much on that one that he’ll ever stop liking, so be graphic. And complete.”
“I won’t need a list; I won’t forget.”
“It can be fatal if you do, so I don’t suggest trusting your memory.”
“It’s hard to imagine where one would keep such a list.”
“In your underwear drawer. Sealed in an envelope.”
“The maid might steal it.”
“You have a maid?”
“No, but I could someday.”
“Worry about that then.”
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am. Of course I am. Nothing else promotes communication quite so well, and nothing is more important to a marriage than good communication.”
“Oh, so it’s not just about the sex itself?”
“No, although that certainly doesn’t hurt anything. It’s the intimacy, the private time, the closeness, the sharing. The absence of barriers, of resentments. The openness. The camaraderie. Plus, you’re not going to solve issues with someone you resent.”

In the scene above, Richard is encouraging his former student and current colleague to keep a “naughty” list to remind herself deeper into her forthcoming marriage how much her husband-to-be liked certain, um, activities (they’re close enough for him to do this). He was recently proven correct; that sexual intimacy is important to maintaining communication in a marriage has recently been confirmed in a study published in the journal, Communications Monograph, following a study of over 250 people. The New York Daily News summed it up thusly:

Researchers found that increases in levels of oxytocin combined with decreases in stress hormone cortisol make positive post-coital conversations easier and create an environment where partners feel safe to spill their secrets.