The song title made popular by 80’s artist and Prince protege’s Apollonia was talking about using sex as a weapon – well sorta…

According to Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of the “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” (Jossey-Bass, 2009), when you are angry, upset or sad, it may be difficult to think about hopping into bed with your partner, and it’s understandable why at certain times, some emotional work may need to be done before “sexual healing” can take place. But when individuals use sex as a form of behavior management, it can damage a relationship.

Here are 3 reasons why sex as punishment may be damaging:

1) A sexual relationship is a necessary part of every marriage. There’s no other place your partner can get sex except with you, so to be withholding sex as punishment may unconsciously give the message that he or she would be better off getting sex elsewhere, and it could lead to affairs.

2) Two individuals in a marriage will always have different needs at different times, and part of the challenge of a happy marriage is to negotiate getting needs met. But withholding sex isn’t negotiating, it’s blackmail, and your partner is likely to feel manipulated. Over time, that kind of withholding until conditions are met stirs resentment and alienation in your partner.

3) Sex is a way of showing love; if you don’t believe it, think back to when you and your partner first started getting it on. Married partners should always be looking for ways to demonstrate affection, but when sex is withheld as punishment, it gives the opposite message. Like it or not, withholding sex may make your partner may feel less love from you, and, contrary to what you’d like to see, he or she may give you less love in return.

Do you agree or disagree?

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