I am a flabby, perpetually tired, 42 year old mother of four, who spends a lot of time in the kitchen and is less than a year away from sending her first born to college. I am not the person young girls who are about to get married seek out for sex advice. And yet, here I am, sitting in the dark, writing an essay about sex.
Ladies, I have been married for 20 years. Barring a few solo trips away, I have slept approximately 7000 nights next to the same man. During those 7000 nights, we have done stuff. Often. I feel the volume of this figure puts me at a distinct position of authority to talk about what sex is like in a long-lasting, good-to-great marriage.
So here we go. When it comes to married sex, there is:
Some times there is lots of sex. Some times there is no sex. Most times its somewhere in between.
Stress, babies, sickness, work overload, in laws, moving, travel, low energy, a downswing in the emotional connection, everything and anything can shake things up in bed and a good marriage gets that.
And whether its really frequent or very rare, in neither situation does a good marriage shake. Because both partners know that seasons come and seasons go. You change and adapt to fit the current season. And since everyone who matters in the sexual relationship (hint: it’s just you two) plan to be around for the long term, you know you will be here way after the seasons have changed again. Which means…you can always try another day.
Do you know what it’s like to be loved by a man who will quietly wipe the milk trickling out of your over-full breasts? One who will be exceptionally gentle for months because he knows that even though your episiotomy stitches don’t hurt anymore, you are still super nervous about the possibility that they might hurt? (They won’t) One who will let you “go” first and then also let you fall asleep with unfinished business because he knows you’ve been up since 6 am? It’s very nice.
In a good marriage, the sex gets crazy but it doesn’t get disrespectfully weird. It doesn’t ask of you any kinky things that make you feel diminished or cheapened. Your feelings are more important that its fantasies. It respects you and that respect softens the edges of its more animal instincts.
Married sex is tender and gentle because even though the raging fires of lust and desire are within it, at its very heart, it is an act of love and devotion. It is a symbol of respect and reverence for the partner and the partnership. It is how you announce your mohabbat. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Commitment. Contentment. It is a question and an answer. I am yours. Are you mine? Yes I am. I love you. Me too.
This tenderness will carry you through many rough times.
Married sex is predictable as the sun coming up. Why on earth does predictability get such a bad rap, I will never know. I adore knowing that I always have someone to get kinky with when the mood strikes because I know that even if it so happens that when I feel like it, he doesn’t feel like it, I can probably bully/wheedle him into it.
Also, how lovely to know that you are desired by the same person again and again and again. The person who has seen you naked dozens of times, in all sorts of questionable situations (see: childbirth), who has “had” you so frequently already, still wants you. And no one but you. How wonderful. Please pass me some more of that predictability, thank you.
Married sex might be predictable but that doesn’t means years and years of doing the same thing. I mean, sure, you have your favorites but you are open to trying something out every now and then.
Sometimes you have to because: toddlers. Hence, quickies under the blankets or two minute hops in and out the shower together become the order of the day.
Other times, you or your other half, will be randomly struck by a brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea and you will decide to pursue it single mindedly, come what may. A new position. A new location. A new situation. A new ingredient. You will jump around like little 2nd graders flush with the thrill of adventure. You will conveniently forget all the other disasters and go after this new notion of yours with gumption and gusto. Only after you have created a massively sticky situation during which neither of you have any idea what you’re doing, you will snap at each other a couple of times and then laugh it all off. Because you know, that, hey, even this particular experiment failed, remember when we <nudge, nudge, wink, wink> and that totally worked? Yaas.
When you fall asleep even though he really, really wanted it. When he touched way too hard there even though you’ve told him a dozen times not to. When you ignored his clear request for this. When he missed your totally obvious signal for that. This, that, the other, crossed lines of communication, missed opportunities of connection, a duh moment: it happens to the best of us.
Even though sex is the easiest thing to do, there is also much to mess up in a bed. And depending on how one is feeling, one may get a little hurt and huffy. But what a partner from a good marriage does in situations like this is it sees, rolls its eyes and then forgives. Life is too long and too short to get upset about something like sex. Tomorrow is always another day.
When you started way back when, you were fumbling and bumbling. No one really knew what they were doing or their way around too well. I mean, you had the basics down, A goes into B, but all the before and after was just trial and error.
But now? Now, you are like a sex machine. You are a sex god and goddess. You are who they talk about when they talk about fantastic sex. Okay, fine. Maybe it’s not all that. But what it is is this: Better and better. Every day. Because you’ve tried stuff. Messed up stuff. Talked about stuff. Tried stuff again.
If Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours has any basis whatsoever then it is equally applicable to married sex. Months and years of getting it on with the same person yields a most delicious result of excellence. You learn all the signals and signs, the likes and dislikes. You know that person’s body and desires better than the back of your hand. That knowledge serves you both very, very well.
In a great marriage, when it comes to sex, nothing and no one else is good enough. Not the porn stars. Not the self-help station. You only, only want your spouse. Your spouse only, only wants you. This is what real loyalty looks like. Not just verbal, lip service waali loyalty. But the loyalty that runs deep into your blood chemistry, your loins, your hormonal make up. The adrenaline just refuses to pump for anyone else. The little tingly arousal sensation down there simply doesn’t show up to any titillation other than spousal.
When you have spent years seeking each other out and respectfully satisfying each other without any crazy demands or unrealistic expectations, you create a safe sexual space. That safe space becomes a haven, a positive addiction, a respite… looking elsewhere becomes too ridiculous to even consider.
A naked Brad Pitt? Choro bhayee. A pot bellied, holey pajama-ed, stinky morning breathed, graying haired, dear, familiar husband who winks at you over the kid’s heads and nods towards the bed? Can I have some more please.
So thats it ladies. Married sex looks like this. Fun and fabulous and flawed. So, go ahead! Get married and get busy. (again and again and again).