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.