Why do we ignore the “to have and to hold” section of our wedding vows?
Remember when people didn’t talk about mental illness and miscarriages?
Remember when cancer was whispered, like the mere mention of the name could infect someone at the dinner table? The Good Men Project believes that all of these topics and more should be an open conversation. So here is my conversation starter.
We don’t talk about married sex enough.
Whether it feels like an invasion of the personal partnership of your marriage, or whether people are simple afraid they wont measure up, there is something that is keeping our lips sealed — and maybe also our legs.
When I was recently talking with a friend about my being an only child, she became particularly interested. “How was that?,” She asked. She might be the mom of an only child. She couldn’t imagine having another baby. She called herself one and done.
Then, almost as an aside, “Besides, that would mean I would have to have sex with my husband.” It was a throw away line. I imagined it was hyperbole. But worried that it wasn’t.
Listen up. I am lazy, I do very, very little that I don’t want to do. But I have sex with my husband. And you know what? I don’t always want to. Sometimes I really want to and that is best for both of us. But when I would rather just watch TV, or pick my toenails (I mean who can resist that sexiness?), I have sex anyways.
Lots of times it turns out really well. Much better than TV. Sometimes it is perfunctory. Sometimes it is really quite laughably bad.
But it always makes us closer.
It isn’t always the case that men have stronger sex drives than women, but in my marriage it is.
In my relationship, I feel closer through talking, and my husband feels closer through physical contact. Imagine if Steve just decided he didn’t want to talk. I mean, really for weeks on end, he wouldn’t talk. That would be unacceptable.
But some of my friends feel they can go for weeks or months on end without being physical with their husbands. Some of these couples are at peace with this. Some of the reasons for a semi platonic relationship are medical or require a more nuanced response than “just do it” but plenty don’t.
Why aren’t we doing it more? Why do we ignore the “to have and to hold” section of our wedding vows?
When it is the woman in the partnership that withdraws from sex it may be our genes at work. As women leave childbearing age it is not in nature’s interest for us to have lots of sex. In contrast it works well for the species for men to keep at it. “Go ahead! Spread that seed! Make more of me!,” says the men’s genes.
By 40 many women are done perpetuating our species. Although I have read a lot about women’s huge sex drive in their late thirties, that does not seem to be what my friends and I are experiencing. So some of us have settled into a pattern where a birthday blow job plus and a bi-monthly Saturday sex date supposedly satisfies both parties.
That doesn’t sound like much of a party to me.
When I’m out with friends I wait until the second martini and start turning the screws about screwing.
Many of them are virtually revirginized in their marriages. I hear the reasons. I even feel the reasons. They are so so tired. They have already given over their bodies to pregnancy and nursing and snotty nosed cuddles. They don’t have enough private time with their partner. It has been so long they have performance anxiety.
There are so many reasons to skip sex, but let me share a not secret secret, there are even more reasons to have sex.
In addition to the physical pleasure and physical closeness, there are health benefits to regular sex. And many studies point towards a correlation between regular sexual activity and increased longevity in marriages. Put simply, increased intimacy leads to increased intimacy.
If you are reading this and you don’t know exactly when you last had sex, take a tip from Nike and just do it.
Photo credit: Flickr/d3N8Z9