There was a plea on Vogue.com the other day for people in committed relationships to be more revealing and forthcoming about what sex in their relationships is like. “Our reluctance to talk honestly about sex in committed relationships can reinforce problematic myths,” the Vogue writer argued. “There is a lot of information about dating, but there are fewer places where I can learn to be in a happy marriage, perhaps because of the false assumption that marriage indicates that every battle has been won already.”
Of course, the writer didn’t offer much to support or negate that assumption or to teach anything about a happy marriage. “As a writer, I’ve always been careful in telling other people’s stories without their consent, and sharing intimate details of my partner feels in the same vein,” she shared. Womp, womp.
Well, fine, I’ll go. I mean, I’m not going to share intimate details of my sex life with my husband, but I will say this: marriage is not the end of challenges or the absence of battles. I love being married, but I don’t think it’s the reward for winning something. If anything, it’s another level — not even necessarily an upward level — of navigating the world. Sometimes I feel better at marriage than other times (and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the times I’m feeling “better” at being married are times that we’re more regularly intimate). Like any married couple, there are periods when sex happens more frequently and there are periodic dry spells.
In my mind, there’s a time limit for a “dry spell” and that has helped me a lot to keep things on track and not get too lazy. Once we hit that limit (for me it’s three weeks though I can’t say for certain whether that’s the same for my husband), we have to do it no matter how tired we might be. In my mind, once you let three weeks pass — and I realize for someone else it might be three days and for someone else it might be three months — you’re in a “danger zone” where it’s easy to slip into total complacency and let another three weeks pass and then another and another and then you’re basically in a sexless relationship and everything goes to shit. I don’t want everything to go to shit.
So, if you’re in a long-term committed relationship and willing to share some of the details, I’m curious: what’s “regular” for you? Do you have dry spells and how long do they last? Are you completely monogamous or do you have an open relationship? What do you do or what have you tried to “keep the spark alive”? Do you check in with your partner on a regular or semi-regular basis about what’s working, what’s not, what you need, what he/she needs, and whether you want to try something new? Inquiring minds want to know…