It's a story that I'm sure is familiar to many of you: girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love and have lots of crazy sex, girl and boy get married, have two children ... and girl would now rather watch Netflix than do anything remotely sexual with her husband.
It's sad but true for so many of us. Life takes over, kids take over and, by the end of the day, you've got nothing left. Because there's no mystery anymore and total familiarity, any shred of desire you once had goes "poof!"
I'm not OK with this. In fact, thinking about not really feeling passionate desire for the man I've chosen to spend the rest of my life with makes me super sad. I've searched online for ideas to "spice up your relationship." Meet up in a restaurant and pretend to be strangers. Play a sexy board game. M'kay. We've been together so long that there's really nothing that we haven't tried, as far as sex goes.
But, because part of my vow to my husband was to try to maintain a healthy sex life, when hubs approaches me for sex—which is frequently, at least three nights a week—I do it.
Think of it not as starting a blaze, but as keeping the pilot light lit on the stove.
Although I know that choice seems to fly in the face of female empowerment, I think there are good arguments for putting out even when you don't think you want it or when you feel gross about your body or when you'd rather be doing, literally, anything else.
Here are three of them:
1. Sex is one way that we stay connected. Although it might not be world-rocking (at least not for me), it's literally something we can do together (yeah, a partner activity!) and that counts for something.
2. Sometimes, it's pretty good. I'm not saying that the sex we have is never hot. Sometimes it really is! But if you get yourself into a cycle of always saying no, you'll never get those rare "ahh!" moments.
3. It feels like my duty. OK, I know that comes off all "sister-wife" but hear me out. When we got married, we had certain expectations of each other and a big one of those was a regular sex life. I feel like it would be wrong of me to suddenly opt out of what was/is a big part of our relationship and expect things to carry on the same.
It turns out there's a name for the type of sex I'm currently having: maintenance sex. It's not that "throw you up against the wall," "gotta have you right now" sex that most couples experience in the beginning stages of a relationship. Instead, it's that familiar "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" sex that keeps things going. Think of it not as starting a blaze, but as keeping the pilot light lit on the stove.
Would my husband feel bad if he knew I feel this way? Of course. No one wants to feel like you're throwing them a bone. (For the record, he has never coerced or intimidated me.) Part of me thinks he probably already does know because I'm not tearing off his clothes or screaming out his name in the throes of passion.
If there was a way for me to change my perspective on the situation, I would do it in a heartbeat. I'd love nothing more than to go back to those days when just the sight of him or the smell of his stinky T-shirt would send my hormones raging. But, for now, we'll keep on with our regular, sometimes blah and sometimes actually quite lovely bangs. Because, at least for me, saying no isn't an option I want to take.