Sex is not really my thing, and it’s never really been. When I read Emily’s article
acknowledging that maybe penis-in-vagina sex isn’t exactly the shit, it was like coming home. At the end of a 30-year workday where you haven’t been able to take off your shoes.
I don’t want to relate so hard to this. This is something I’ve struggled with admitting because I’m in a long-term relationship now. This is the longest I’ve ever been with one person, coming up to two years, and it gives me a lot of fear and anxiety for our future.
We started out strong, humping away in public on our third date. Stealing away for a quickie at his parents’ house. I eagerly pursued these encounters, and my boyfriend has somewhat passive-aggressively suggested that these instances were performances. They weren’t.
As the shine slowly started to fade to something more recognizable as a stable relationship, I became more open about the ways that sex left me wanting. Enter sex toys. Vibrating bullets, stretchy rubber studded rings. Lots of lube. Nothing was worth the effort to bother washing and reusing these gadgets. They are gathering dust now in a plastic storage bin.
Dusty sex toys now living among multitudes of unused Clinique samples
Gradually the amount of times either of us tried to initiate sexy time dwindled. Before things dropped off completely, my boyfriend bought me a book about how to have an orgasm.
I know how to have an orgasm. I had that on lock by the age of five, maybe earlier. Having an orgasm on my own is a breeze (matter of fact, I’ll be right back). I can do this during sex, but it’s a lot of work. And it doesn’t translate well. Basically dude has to lie still as I concentrate super-hard to give myself a mediocre orgasm. I feel like I do this primarily for his benefit. To show that we can have sex that gives me an orgasm.
I never finished that book he gave me. In some ways it made the thought that something was wrong with our relationship settle into my head. It made me anxious, which made me want to have sex even less. I don’t remember much about what the book said. But I clung onto one thing.
In the intro, the author says that this book is for you if you aren’t having sex, and you would like to be having sex. She makes it clear that some people are content not having sex and that’s OK. I wondered if this could be me. Am I a person that just doesn’t like to have sex?
I ran this thought by a friend of mine who quickly pointed out that I am someone that thinks about sexual activity quite a bit. I regularly ponder what it would be like have sex with random men and women I come into contact with through work, social life, etc. I fantasize endlessly about that first time experience with someone new.
The idea of first-time sex is so exciting to me that I had a phase of pursuing it on Craigslist when I was in my early twenties. Didn’t go well, but it’s the thought that counts.
This makes me think two things. First: I am addicted to the pursuit and the reward of first time sex. I’ve come to believe that it’s the best sex gets, like the first few times you hook up with someone new. And like I said earlier, it’s not the penis-in-vagina action that I’m looking for, but the feeling of the whole encounter. The reckless buzz from a few drinks, the cab ride, the first kiss.
The second less exciting truth is this: I am not good at making sex work for me. I lack the skills and know-how to cultivate a sustained sexual relationship with someone I care for over a long period of time. I am a person who gives up too easily. I feel scared and hopeless when it becomes apparent that my sex life is floundering.
I am afraid that my partner is unsatisfied, and will leave me because of my lack of effort in this department. So I withdraw even more.
For example, about a year into our relationship I brought up moving in together with my boyfriend. His response was that we needed to “deal with our sexual problems” first. It felt like the fate of my relationship was resting on sex.
I bought one more book about sex, just for shits and giggles, called “Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido.” Although purchasing this book felt like a major downer, it had some helpful stuff in it. I read what I could, did a few breathing and meditating exercises, and even practiced my kegels on the subway for about two whole weeks.
But the most helpful thing the book told me is that if you want to start having sex again, the best thing you can do is to just start having sex again. Even if you are uncertain, or could easily convince yourself you are too tired.
Trying to be discrete about my reading choice on the train, while doing kegels
It took me awhile to implement this, but I have started to “do stuff” with my boyfriend again. And it’s been really nice. Hopefully it will get better as my anxiety starts to drop off, and I find the motivation to try harder to find out what works for me. I knew I had to start somewhere, and I guess a well-timed beej was the way to go.
I’m still working and struggling with this. I feel better enough to write something about it now that I feel like I am in the action stage of addressing the problem, but I still have a lot of questions about myself, and the state of my relationship.
Does anyone else find it hard to sustain an interest in sex with a committed partner?