Posted by: Kate | March 1, 2009

True Confessions or TMI: You Decide

I have a question, for those of you who are in long-term, live-in relationships.  It helps if you’ve been together for several years, long enough for most of the novelty to wear off and for it to be a pleasant surprise when the other person whips out some new trick or skill that you didn’t suspect was lurking.

It’s a delicate subject, and may be too much information for some, but it’s been on my mind of late, and I know neither of my parents reads this blog.  (They both know it exists and could find it if they wanted to, but each has said that they view it as a personal journal and choose to respect my privacy; OK, even though I don’t need it, I appreciate it.)  And, frankly, I can talk to either of my parents about really anything in my life – at least anything in my current life.  There are some ancient-history sorts of topics that I still can’t navigate with them.

It’s about sex.  Which isn’t a given, because I consider money, religion and parenting to be deeply personal topics requiring some careful negotiating… but this time, we’ll revert to the lowest common denominator.

Specifically, my question is this: When does the magic happen in your house?

Not so much a question of how often, though I suppose that’s relevant, too.  We have a very clear cycle to each month: from Days 12-24 of my menstrual cycle, it’s an every 36-48 hours sort of thing, regardless of personal levels of interest or fatigue.  And then, in the other weeks, it’s a hit-or-miss thing.  It all averages to, I would guess, two or three times a week, especially considering that there are 3-5 days each month where there ain’t nothin’ happening below the belt for this lady.

No, my question is about, what time?  Because we’ve recently had a bit of a shift.  It used to be a bedtime thing: after the kids were in bed, though not always after they were asleep, and usually a while before I was ready to go to sleep.  We’d do the deed, get dressed again, and continue our evening as planned for a while, then go to bed.  We stopped sleeping naked several years ago – something about toddlers in the house makes that just awkward for me – so we’re both comparatively fully clothed, and we sleep on our own sides of the bed.  Once in a while, we’ll hold hands for a bit, but for the most part, I have my space and he has his.

But over the Christmas holidays and travels, Willem and I had some very deep and intense talks, about our past relationships and about our current one, and about sex preferences and dislikes and interests and fantasies.  We shared things the other person never expected, opened up a lot of mental doors, and generally trusted each other.  And our sex life has, shall we say, taken off from there.  We’re not up to a thrice-a-day schedule or suddenly going at it in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, but the frequency and, ahem, success of each venture has increased.

And the timing has changed.  We’ll still take advantage of that evening hour, but we’ve also begun waking each other at 3:00 in the morning for a brainless, dreamlike sort of encounter.  This used to be a very dangerous line for me to walk, because if I wasn’t fully awake for sex, I tended to slip into a PTSD-induced dissociative fugue, in which I would function as though everything was fine but I would completely shut off my own awareness, lock myself somewhere deep in my brain.  I wouldn’t remember it had happened later, and I can’t guess as to what my performance might have been like.  Willem knew when I was dissociating, so obviously there were some outward signs, but I’ve never asked what they were.  I always found it hugely disturbing to find out, after the fact, that I had tuned out like that, so it was not a good thing.  Not safe.

But, as time goes on, I’m healing more and more.  I can talk about the rape more easily, and I can recognize its effects on my life with less bitterness and pain.  It’s a part of my history, a part that is unpleasant and scary and sad, but it has done some major things in my self-discovery and identity, and I’m not sure I would choose to change it if I had the chance now.  I certainly don’t want to relive it, but I’m coming to terms.  So the waking up, and semi-awake sex, has stopped being quite such a risky proposition.

We’ve also had more mid-afternoon interactions, between my unemployment and his grad-school schedule.  “Jacob’s napping, and Emily’s in school… do you wanna…?”

So, a change, and for the better.  And I’ve wondered, what is normal for other people?  Do you have a routine, or is it catch-as-catch-can in your bedroom?  And is your sex life better now, after several years, or have things begun to cool down?

Inquiring mind wants to know.  And anonymous comments are accepted.

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Responses

  1. We’ve been together 26 years, married for 22 this year. We keep learning, changing and growing within our intimate lives – it just gets better and better and more and more exciting with every passing year.

    Enjoy it!

  2. Hmm…we’ve been together five years, which for some people might seem like we’re still in the honeymoon phase, but we’ve definitely found ourselves a routine.

    I actually keep track of the days we have sex (part of my FAM tracking sheet) each month, but since we’re still trying not to get pregnant, there are days when we “mess around” without actually having intercourse – which makes things fun and interesting and keeps things from going too stale. On average, it comes out to about once a week, mostly at bedtime, but sometimes after work and sometimes in the morning.

    I’ve always been the one who had greater “needs” – take that, stereotypes! – and thus was the initiator. Thanks to the success of FAM, condoms are being used less often (just during my fertile times), so Mike has definitely been more assertive in the last several months. It’s better for me, too, because he’s so much more obviously into it that it’s a turn-on for me.

    FAM’s also been good to us in that it has forced us to talk about sex more, so we’re both getting what we want, when we want it.

  3. We’ve been together 9 years, married for a bit over one. In the last year (since about the wedding) our sex life has declined tremendously. Something about anxiety, depression and lack of a job impacted it all, I think. When we’re feeling better about ourselves and our relationship, we tend to have sex a few times a week and it’s a toss up as to when, where and who starts it all– we have no kids to worry about. 🙂

  4. We’ve been together 17 years, married 15. While it may be less frequent these days, it’s still good (on weekends, we let our oldest stay up later, thereby encroaching on private time and we have a three year old too, who wakes up early). This morning, I just told the Evil Twin to shut and lock the door, so we could get busy! LOL.

  5. The Man & I have been together a little over 14 years, lived under the same roof a little over 11 years & married a little over 5 years. We’ve always been pretty active but when he was at his last job, sex was kind of hit or miss. He shut down emotionally, physically, mentally and at one point I told him to just quit the job because it was damaging every relationship he had. After he left that position, he was still mentally in the same place for several months. By that time every time we tried, I felt like I was having an oil change – ugh – and had begun to actively avoid sex. Finally, I sat him down and told him that something had to change. To my surprise he just looked at me and said, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” We’ve been at it like bunnies ever since and he’s returned to the level of attentiveness he showed me in the early years. Just this morning I was treated to a shower & a massage before getting my proverbial bell rung.

    Nearly a year & 1/2 later, he’s still not back in the formal work force, so he’s available to play almost any time. The best time of day for me is mid-morning to mid-afternoon while The Girl is at school but I’ve had enough time to wake up enough to enjoy the act, or right before sleep. Making out on the sofa while The Girl’s at work in the evenings is fun, too. I don’t hear me bitchin’.

  6. Shane and I have been together 4 years. It’s difficult to admit this, but our sex life has never been satisfying for me. He has an unusually low sex drive, but mine is probably normal for a woman of my age. We average about 1-2 encounters a month, sometimes more because of our attempts at TTC. His preferred times are either in the morning or right after work. I would prefer evening before bedtime, but he doesn’t like doing it after having a meal. I don’t like mornings, so I usually compromise and we get together after work. Every encounter is exactly the same as the previous one. It’s really routine and pretty boring.

    I would like to discuss my lack of satisfaction with him, but I’m just not sure how to word it. Part of what I liked about him when we first started dating was the fact that he didn’t want sex all the time. My last serious relationship left me pretty damaged emotionally with regards to sex and I welcomed the break that Shane gave me. Now, 4 years later, I wish we could start over in the bedroom; that I could be really honest about my likes/dislikes and he could tell me his. But, he has some lingering emotional damage from his religious upbringing, so I fear he won’t be open to any discussion. He’s a big prude.

  7. Well, 10 years of marriage and our sex life has had its ups and downs. It was getting good again, but then I got pregnant and now the baby –

    My husband is lucky to have sex once a week, right now – and generally right before we go to bed (after all kids are asleep).

    as the baby gets older and sleeps better, I’m sure it will pick back up.


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