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You may recall that on Tuesday I declined to talk about my sex life. Well . . . no, I’m still not going to, except to say that I have one. However, according to an interview posted to Tara Parker-Pope’s blog in the New York Times, around one in every seven married couples don’t.

Some of these, I’m sure, are happy couples. Different people have different sex drives, and it’s far more important that they match than that they be going at it like rabbits. According to advice columnist Dan Savage, “sex is a metric for assessing the health of a relationship, but it’s not the only one. When two people come together who love each other and are compatible sexually—which can mean a shared interest in sex or a shared disinterest in sex—the angels sing.” The researcher whom Parker-Pope interviewed noted that “there is no ideal level of sexual activity—the ideal level is what both partners are happy with.” However, he still found that most people in sexless marriages are trying to get out of them.

Is this shallow? Well, sex is a flimsy basis for starting a relationship, or for continuing one. But if sex is not happening and no satisfactory agreement can be reached, it is not at all shallow to end the relationship—just as it’s not shallow to walk out on someone who refuses to celebrate when you get a raise or a promotion or a contract. To say otherwise is to say that intimacy (or sharing in your partner’s successes) is not a part of a relationship, even if only as an absence.

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