I suspect one reason why this is such a difficult topic for most people to encompass is because we humans fundamentally view action differently from inaction. In other words, if a man hits a woman, that’s an action and we can condemn it. But if a man withholds sexual intimacy from a woman, that’s inaction and our primate brains aren’t evolved to think out the inevitable consequences because we’re fundamentally short-term animals. Thus the impact of the non-action is very hard (or impossible) for us to conceptualize and so we don’t attribute to the non-action the same psychological weight we do to the action. Additionally, as US culture doesn’t cope well with sexuality, the absence of sexual activity can be interpreted as “good” whereas it’s easy to characterize an active pursuit of sexual intimacy as “bad” or “wrong.”

All in all, it’s a complicated picture. Which is why in Europe we often prefer to live together for a few years before committing to an attempt at lifelong cohabitation in order to determine whether there is true compatibility across all the key ingredients of a healthy romantic relationship.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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