My husband and I are no longer banging non-stop like we did in our lonngggg honeymoon period. We were an at-least-twice-a-day couple for most of our relationship. I’ve always had a high appetite, and unlike several of my partners in the past, he has been able to match me.
Many nights after we got our children (we both have children from previous marriages, but we call them “our” children) into bed, we then spent the rest of the night in bed ourselves. But those days are (somewhat) gone.
We have responsibilities, early alarm clocks. We are tired. We know if we have sex now, we’ll be too exhausted for our morning work presentation. Sometimes one or both of us gets ill (nothing says romance as much as a little diarrhea, amirite?).
Sex is a hot-button issue for many couples, and the media does little to help with this. Books and articles all give their own suggestions for how much sex couples should be having:
“At least three times a week and as long both partners orgasm!”
I am not worried about the state of our relationship and our sex life because I understand some truths about sex in relationships:
1. A healthy sex life is whatever works for both you and your partner.
I have friends who have sex maybe once every six months. Others every day or a few times a week or month. We all have different needs and are comfortable with different levels of sexual intimacy at various points in a relationship.
What’s important is not what you and your partner are doing vs. what other couples are doing. What’s important is that you and your partner are BOTH okay with how much sex you’re having and have communicated and are communicating about that.
2. There’s usually a partner with a higher sex drive than the other.
While it may be easy to assume that men generally have a higher sex drive, that’s not always the case (as it has not been for me in my past relationships). Regardless, there will often be a partner that has greater sexual desire than the other.
This can also change from relationship to relationship. You might have been the higher need one in your last relationship, but now you might be the lower need one. If you are polyamorous, you might find yourself high need in one, while low in another. Every relationship is unique.
This can also change within your relationship. You or your partner may start a new job or a new medication, or undergo libido changes after having a child, aging, etc.
Whatever works for you and your partner is what matters, and ongoing open communication is a must.
3. Sex isn’t just about what happens in the bedroom.
I’m a person that needs physical touch, so cuddling, kissing, and caressing help me feel sexually satisfied even if we’re not spending time in the boom-boom room. Physical touch as well as flirting, sexting, and other forms of affection are all a part of the sexual experience. Sex isn’t just about the number of times you meet under the sheets.
You may very well feel entirely sexually satisfied, yet aren’t having sex “enough.” It’s again about you and your partner.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers game, because your sex life, just like your relationship with your partner, is unique.
4. Sex isn’t only about outcome.
A truly healthy sexual relationship is one where both people feel safe to explore and express their sexuality together, whatever that looks like. It is NOT just about whether both of you orgasm.
I have a friend who rarely orgasms. Because sex is so much more than orgasm, she still feels sexually satisified in her relationship. Sex is about curiousity and creativity, and she feels free to do that, despite the fact that she may not orgasm during every encounter.
Her girlfriend really struggled with this when they first started having sex. We live in a very goal-oriented society, and she (the girlfriend) felt like a failure at first because she couldn’t bring her partner to orgasm every time.By talking candidly about it, her girlfriend now understands that she does feel satisfied, and that orgasm is NOT a marker of her satisfaction.
Sometimes the best part of having sex is being able to be truly vulnerable with another person. That can happen whether we achieve the outcome we think we should.
Most couples struggle with sex in their relationship at some point.
We can get caught up in our heads about how things should look and feel angry and resentful at our partner and/or ashamed to talk about it openly.
The kind of joy and fulfillment that I have with my current partner is possible in any relationship if both people are willing to openly communicate.
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