Dear Auntie Alfawhore,
I’ve been in a committed relationship for a little over a year now. We’ve always had a pretty healthy sex life, but the other day after chatting with some friends I realized that we are having far less sex than a lot of couples we know. I guess it freaked me out. Am I having enough sex? Is there a normal amount of sex to be having? Sex is important to me. Sex is important in romantic relationships. So if I’m not getting down with my partner every night…or even every week, does that mean I’m losing interest? Does this mean that we shouldn’t be together? Is it okay if I’m okay with not having as much sex as I think I should be having?
Dead in the Bedroom
Dear Dead in the Bed,
I’d like to begin by deconstructing the idea that there is some sort of guidebook to follow for the “normal amount” of sex you should be having. Repeat after me: fuck that noise…er..or don’t fuck that noise because that would be “normal” too! Some couples genuinely relish the concept of getting engaged at Disneyland. Others think it’s cute at 30 to talk to each other in baby voices. A whole lot of more conservative couples save themselves for marriage. All of which to say, I sure as hell don’t want to be every other couple. Do you? Some couples have sex multiple times a day, everyday. Others get by with a once a month quickie in between carpool pick ups. But the grand majority of us fall somewhere in between on the spectrum that is intimacy within a long term relationship.
Rather than asking if you’re having enough sex you should be asking yourself: do you want to be having more? Do you feel like your sexual needs genuinely aren’t being met or are you just comparing yourself to some relationship comprised of two (or more) people that aren’t you? My sweet Dead in the Bed, it’s only okay that you’re “not having as much sex as you think you should be having” if you are okay with the amount that you are. In other words, if the amount of times you sex your partner works for you both then why create unnecessary stress for yourself and your relationship? Our sexual needs do not live in a constant, impenetrable (!), static state. They change throughout our lives and throughout the course of our relationships. There are so many factors that can alter our sexual desires, necessities, and abilities to perform. From outside stressors like new work projects, pandemics, impending economic doom etc. to things like monthly hormonal changes or the certain birth control the two of you are using, there are literally so many things that can alter your desire to bang one out. So before you go down the rabbit hole that the rest of the world is orgasming without you, I’d look inward and take stock of your current sex life and personal sexual desires.
Once you’ve done that I’d strongly suggest communicating those findings to, you guessed it, your sexual partner. Opening up a dialogue about sex isn’t easy, even for those of us that pride ourselves on communication. It’s intensely intimate. It’s delicate. And people tend to allow their egos to really get in the way of opening up about this particular topic. That being said, it is without a doubt a necessary part of being in a healthy, nourishing, satisfying partnership with someone, and more so if you truly feel that there is either a lack of sex in your relationship or that you’d like there to be more. Approach the conversation with openness, with honesty, and with compassion, and that will hopefully allow your partner to do the same. Who knows, maybe your partner has been watching you slay those Zoom meetings and has gotten hot and bothered, but has been trying to be respectful of your work zone so hasn’t hit you up for an afternoon romp like they’ve wanted. Or maybe your partner is having anxiety that has been killing their libido. Either way, in order for potential solutions to be discussed you need to figure out what you’re both working with in terms of desires and realistic expectations.
There’s not a successful couple I know that at one time or another hasn’t fallen out of sync with their partner’s sexual desires. Sometimes you need more sex than they can offer you and sometimes it’s the other way around. But no, that doesn’t mean its grounds to throw the relationship away, nor does it mean that you’ve turned into “just friends.” Sex is important to a romantic relationship, for sure, but it’s not the entirety of that relationship. There is so much more to being in partnership and sex is only one, albeit a damn good, part of it all. That being said, it is possible that a continued lack of sexual interest could indicate a deeper issue within either the relationship or yourself. Are you connecting with your partner in other ways? Do you feel fully supported by them? Is there established trust within that relationship? Do you feel safe in those sexual encounters? If the answers to those questions are a resounding no AND you have zero desire to see them naked…well, then I’d do some more deep, internal reflecting and make some hard decisions accordingly.
And as a final note I’d like to remind you that there is no excuse for a bed ever being dead if you don’t want it to be. Self-pleasure allows you to feed the most important relationship we all have: the one with ourselves. So make sure that you’re setting aside some time for you and that hand of yours to get reacquainted, and let the bed burn brightly on.