“When Your Sex Life Doesn’t Follow the Script”

“These ideals are implicit in the habitual surveys of how often we have sex, quickly transformed through popular culture into dictates of how often we should be having sex (two to three times a week, as any regular reader of women’s magazines will tell you). They are in the portrayal of sex as a perpetually dripping tap that everyone is drinking from, and in the intimation that the sex you’re having probably isn’t interesting enough to satisfy your partner’s needs — or to secure a partner in the first place.
But the most nonnegotiable part of the new sexual orthodoxy is simply that you should be having sex. If you are in a couple, sex is a measure of the health of your relationship — an unbiased barometer of how much you desire your partner and how much he or she still desires you. If you are single, your sex life is a reflection of your market value — of how attractive and how deeply engaged with life you are. As the founding Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown famously said, “My own philosophy is if you’re not having sex, you’re finished.”
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