Kristina Wright knows that new sex is novel, but the long-term is the hottest.
They said it wouldn’t last. I had just arrived at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia the first time I ever set eyes on the man who would become my husband. The first thing I ever said to him was, “Please tell me your name is Jay.” I was dating his roommate and Jay was doing him a favor by collecting me from the airport since my then-boyfriend had to work. (The two of them were serving on the USS Virginia.) We had spoken on the phone and I had seen one picture of him—beyond that, I didn’t know Jay at all. Eight months later, after a whirlwind courtship and spending less than three weeks together, we were married. That was twenty-three years ago.
The naysayers no longer have anything say as we have weathered over two decades of marriage, several military moves, close to a dozen deployments and made a home wherever we were, first with a menagerie of pets and then adding two babies to the mix in our forties. Life is busy and chaotic. He is at the tail end of his naval career and contemplating life post-retirement, I have a thriving writing and editing career that I cobble together with part-time childcare and late night caffeine-induced writing sessions. The kids are growing like weeds, the house is in constant need of some kind of repair and there is always a holiday or birthday or trip around the corner.
In other words: it’s just life. Not busier or better than yours. We pass in the kitchen and grope each other knowing there’s nothing we can do about it for another five hours; we send furtive text messages during naptimes, “Are they still asleep? Do we have time?” We do what we have to do to keep the passion, and our connection, strong. We are lucky—but it’s not just luck that got us and keeps us here. It’s dedication and imagination, it’s creative use of our free time (and technology) and lots of communication about our needs and fantasies.
Most of all, it’s love. It’s an amazing thing we share and I never take it for granted. And yet, we are invisible in a society immersed in a culture obsessed with sexual scandals, casual hookups, betrayals and infidelities. Where are the other couples like us—the couples who fell in love, tumbled head first into bed and are still there, tangled amongst the sheets, laughing, living and loving, for better or worse, every single day of our lives? Turns out, there are a lot of couples like us. But for whatever reason, we don’t speak up and say, “Married sex is the best sex.” Or, if we do speak up, no one believes us. Married sex is boring—right? Sweet, vanilla, predictable. Pick an adjective and I’ve heard it about committed sex. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those adjectives—but sex in a long-term committed relationship is so much more. How do you get from “I do” to “until death us do part” without losing the spark? By talking, by sharing memories, by reliving the past and planning for your future—together.
History is a funny thing. It binds us together, giving us shared memories, dirty and otherwise, to keep us connected and in love. But history also has a way of blurring as the years go by, making you forget what it was once like. The fire, the passion, that wildness of that new love. It’s still there, it’s always there, that hot-bright-magic connection between two people who love each other. In a study that attempted to scientifically prove that love really can last, researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook took functional MRI scans of couples married an average of twenty-one years as well as couples in newer relationships. As the participants looked at photos of their partners, the key motivation and reward regions of the brain lit up on their scans, which demonstrated a similar chemistry between the long-married couples and newly coupled pairs. Love lasts, that’s the scientific takeaway, but you don’t need a study to tell you what you already know, you feel it all the time. But your focus shifts the longer you’re together—it always comes back to center, to the one keeps you grounded—but life is this constant jumble of commitments and activities and schedules, all of them demanding so much of you and your partner that your connection sometimes runs on autopilot for longer than either of you would like.
The focus returns, white hot and immediate, and you’re right back there, at the beginning, remembering where it all began—and a whole lot more “lights up” than just your brain. Maintaining a happily married sex life is about renewing that intimate connection on a regular basis. Remember those early days, the way it felt to curl up against each other like two pieces of a puzzle, everything fitting just as it should—like it belonged, because it did. Feeling whole, when you hadn’t even realized you felt incomplete. It’s still there, that feeling. The way your fingers entwine while you’re in the car, the way her face fits in the hollow of your shoulder or the curve of your neck. That instinctive smack on her ass when she bends over to take the roast out of the oven or the tug on her hair, just so, when she’s getting ready to come. It’s all still there, those feelings so connected to your early days together, it’s just become second nature. Instinct. Your partner. Yours.
That’s a tremendous feeling of connection, of belonging. It’s something we all want in our lives. Keeping married sex hot isn’t about the newest sex position, the most expensive sex toy, the 60 minute sexy abs workout, or anything else. It’s about communication. It’s about telling your partner what you need in whatever way is easiest for your to communicate. It’s about looking to your partner to fulfill those needs instead of someone else who has less invested in you and your life. It’s about vulnerability and being completely open to another human being.
What I love most about my husband, in addition to the fact that he does ninety percent of the laundry and half the cooking, is that he is willing to talk about anything, anytime. He’s always there. I can tell him about my crushes, whether they’re people I know or fictional characters with crossbows (hello, Daryl), without worrying about jealousy. I can tell him about my fantasies, no matter how wild (and even if they’re not about him), and he listens and considers ways we might live them out. I will admit quite honestly that I need to take my own advice and stop waiting for him to ask me what I need before I tell him, but the fact that he does ask, and often, goes a long way to making me more open about my desires. I tell him he’s hot (because he is), I tell him I want to be on top, I tell him I do want to have sex, but I’m just too tired.
I tell him just about everything. We all have feelings and thoughts we keep private, including fantasies that we’d rather not share. But when it comes to marriage, that should be the exception and not the rule. You are partners. Forever. That’s the goal, that’s what you signed up for. And part of your lifelong goal should be good sex from beginning until end. The only way to get there is to keep the communication flowing and enjoy the ride. Together.
For more steamy long term relationship information buy Kristina Wright’s book,Bedded Bliss.
Photo Credit: Photo Pin (CC-BY License)