“The memories of ‘good’ sex are still fresh. After all, it wasn’t that long ago. It isn’t exactly ancient history, which makes it all the more puzzling. How did we get to this point?”
How many of us struggle with our sex lives? I would say that most of us have at one point or another. We live in a culture that doesn’t openly speak about what is actually going on in people’s sex lives, which is why I thought Tom Matlack’s piece, Is Sex Dead?, on The Good Men Project, was refreshing. Tom openly shares with us his take on the struggles he hears from men about the lack of sexual passion in their marriages. And now here is mine.
Whether it’s because of long hours at work, a kid in the bed, a spouse that “just doesn’t seem that into it,” or that pesky infant dangling from her breast, it all results in the same uncomfortable stare at the ground and shrug your shoulders, awkward kind of moment. As Tom points out, men who usually don’t open up about their sex lives, are now heard expressing their disappointment about the waning passion in their marriages. The memories of “good” sex are still fresh. After all, it wasn’t that long ago. It isn’t exactly ancient history, which makes it all the more puzzling. How did we get to this point?
If our memories of good sex weren’t enough to make us miserable, we also have images of hot women, and cool, muscular, tight ass guys shoved in our faces constantly by the media. We have sitcoms about fat guys with hot wives that get laid regularly. That means that any average looking guy who hits the gym a few times a week should be getting fucked at least twice as regularly, right?
Between our sepia-colored memories of steamy nights and the junk fed to our imaginations on television, in magazines, and on the internet, we spend a lifetime playing Comparison. It’s kind of like Monopoly, but instead of competing for property, we are competing for sex. How much, how often, and with whom. That is the name of the game.
The comparison game makes our lives a living hell. The judgments about how much sex we should be having and how “good” it is make us miserable and contribute more pressure to an already tense situation. The lack of acceptance we have about how our sex lives are going to evolve doesn’t allow us to be honest about how our sexual relationships have changed. We seem to want to be 50, fucking like we are 21. Is that really a reasonable expectation? It is reasonable to be 44 and expect our wives to exhibit the same passion they exhibited when they were 22? Is that really possible? And yet, how many men and women do we all know that try to do it, with lies, with drugs, with surgery, with a smile fixed on their faces unable to accept the inevitable?
We tend to think that the age when our sexual relationship will change is somewhere in the distant future, like when we’re 80 and can’t even get an erection anymore, but what if it isn’t? What if right now is the time to start taking a very honest look at sex? What if right now is the time to evolve past the sexual understanding of youth and grow into being an adult who has a full understanding of passion and sex?
Passion is wonderful. Sex is wonderful, but they do not have to go together? What if just wanting your partner was enough? What if we could be happy that we want that person, still desire her body, still want that closeness? What if we could just appreciate that but didn’t have to act on it? Wouldn’t that take a lot of pressure off the situation? What if we suddenly started exhibiting that kind of openness, understanding, and maturity instead of pitching a sex tantrum. “I want more!” our inner 18-year-old screams. “Give me more. It isn’t fair!”
What if we stopped putting pressure on our partners to have sex? This pressure makes them feel as though whatever is going on currently is wrong and if this little thing could be changed, or that little thing could be different, then all the passion would return and we would have an awesome sex life … just like we used to, but how can we be sure?
Without pressure, who knows how the sex may evolve, how the passion may change us. We really have no idea because we have such a strong vision of how our sex lives are supposed to be. Are we sure we know, or is our vision based on a childhood, comic book, Cosmopolitan fantasy crafted by a teenage boy masturbating under the covers? Most of the time reality does not match what our imaginations, magazines, friends, fathers, or the internet tell us is right.
But we will know what is right when we experience it. If we allow a natural rhythm to unfold in our sex lives, we may find that much of the passion may return, or that something far more profound than we could have dreamt up in our sex fantasies as teenagers is actually available to us. It’s up to each of us how we want to proceed, but if the current understanding is making us miserable, perhaps it’s time to give a new approach a shot. After all, what do we have to lose?