THE UN-BREACHABLE SUBJECT OF SEX


Sex in and of itself not un-breachable per say, but when it comes to the sex lives of women in long term relationships... we just don't talk about it. Sure, we LOVE to compare notes when we're single. Women's magazines are full of how to's and what to do's and you should try's. We love to talk about the hook-up from last night, the numbers, and the tips. But those of us who are years deep in a serious relationship don't get the media coverage that other women do. Many of us are left in the dark when it comes to whats "normal" when you have that "forever" connection.

I was having a conversation with a friend that I know fairly well and this exact subject came up. We didn't so much compare "notes" as we did talk about the realities of sex lives and how much they vary from couple to couple regardless of the longevity of the actual relationship. I am ultimately an honest and open person about all aspects of my life, but even I was relieved to hear that my bedroom coming and goings were not uncommon.

So my thoughts come down to this: There isn't a normal. Every person has their own libido, energy levels, desires, turn ons, and needs. So when we compare our lives to glossy pages, they can be highly unrepresentative of our personal life. We end up worrying that because we don't have sex XYZ ways and 789 times a week, we are unfit for a relationship, undesirable, doing it wrong, being cheated on etc etc etc. Or, conversely if we have sex a kajillion times a month with our partners, people say that there is a sex addiction, unhealthy attachment, or they just build resentment because they think they are supposed to have the same. All of this is bad news. 

I want to offer all women the information that there are all different kinds and shades of sex lives out there and this inconsistency is the part that is "normal". The variety is not only okay, but might even be celebrated. There is not one "ideal", they all can be accepted, and if you are happy... well, then whatever it is... is okay. And if you are unhappy simply due to the preconceptions of what your sex should be, this post is for you. I asked some women to share the most intimate details of their bedrooms (or couches, or kitchen tables...) and they bravely accepted. All of the names are changed for privacy's sake, and I believe the anonymity allows for even more self-identification as we read. Please enjoy what these courageous ladies have to share:

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“My partner and I have been together for 8 years and our sex life is so very different today than it was when we first started out! Of course, when we got together, we were 8 years younger. We also fell madly in love immediately. Over the course of the first 2 years we had some big ups and downs, but are stronger for our struggles and have now reached a place of complete comfort and happiness in our relationship. We both know that no matter what else happens in our lives, our relationship will prevail. It is a major priority to us and we work daily on keeping things healthy and whole. That being said, I’d estimate that we probably have sex a few times a month. For me it was really hard to transition from sex a few times a week to the current frequency. This caused some of our ups and downs as I used to tie a lot of my esteem into my sexuality. I took it really hard as our sex life began to dwindle. My sensitivity and anxiety did not help the situation any! Now, I am completely comfortable and happy with our sex life and have no issues with the fact that we aren’t intimate it more often. Coming to terms with this, and understanding it to be natural part of being in a long term, healthy, relationship has been a huge accomplishment for me. With the pressure off, we are able to enjoy the times we are intimate; and, be just as stupid in love as we were the first day, all the time, without the stress of trying to measure up to those first few months of passion. My advice to other women, as they navigate the seas of their sex lives with long term partners, is to just go with the flow. Don’t over think it; don’t take it personally; and, most importantly, don’t stress. It’ll be what it’s going to be.”


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“Zaphod and I met ten years ago through friends. We talked all through the night and then I took him home to his place and we had sex all weekend long. I loved every second of it and we’ve been married 8 years now. Our sex life has fluctuated over the years, depending on his work and stress levels. I’d prefer to get laid every day, but currently we average about 2-3 times a week. Early on I established a ground rule: he doesn’t get an orgasm unless I’ve had one. So he brought home a vibrator for me. He admitted he was having trouble keeping up with me and encouraged me to use it. Which is how I discovered that bringing myself to a screaming orgasm will send him running into the room to finish the job. And that quickies are the best thing ever. So there are ways around the fact that his libido is lower than mine, but it was hit or miss for a while there trying to find them. I am, however, enjoying myself thoroughly finding them!”


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“Rocket Man and I have been dating a long time and met when we were very very young. Before we starting sleeping together, teenage hormones kept us in near consistent lip lock, but after (and this was also the result of beginning a very long distance relationship for the next few years) our snuggles increased and our sex life decreased.

Neither of us view this as a bad thing! We are very busy people, and love each other very much. When we do have sex it's AMAZING. But it can also be to the tune of having sex once a month.

This doesn't mean that we're unhappy, have problems, are un-attracted to each other, or are out of touch with our bodies. What it does mean is that we're true to ourselves and our relationship and have sex when we want to have sex, not when Cosmo says we should want to have sex.

We're happy. Blissfully so. That's more than enough.”
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Carlos and I have been together 5 years and we were set up by mutual friends. We have a very balanced relationship. We are very different but we both have similar down to earth temperaments which makes us a good team. We both enjoy sex however our sex life has been through MANY different phases in frequency, intensity, and enjoyment. The biggest phases were due to being new partners, trying to have a baby, dealing with infertility and fertility treatments, pregnancy, and now post baby sex. We currently have sex about 3 times a week even though I am more insecure with my body than I have ever been in my life. I feel like it is important to us and I do enjoy it when I do it. Sex post baby and having our history in infertility is different now. Though a baby does make it hard for us to spend as much time together the situations we went through prior have brought us incredibly close. We now know sex really is only about having fun and us since we will never be able to have children the good old fashion way plus we never have to worry about birth control

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“My name is Joannah and I am a 58 year old post-menomausal woman married to Christian, a 60 year old man, for 22 years. We met as neighbors. After our first marriages ended (I was divorced and Christian's wife died) our friendship very quickly became passionate.  We share many similar interests, social beliefs and political ideals, but we have very different religious beliefs and expressions. Yet, we consider each other to be our very best and closest friend.  Genuine respect for each other as individuals and huge electric attraction to each other is the glue that binds us and enables us to cope with the ebbs and flows of life...including sexuality and expression.

While we both have always experienced orgasms with each other very easily, it was not the case in our lives with other partners. Therefore, our sex life together became a high priority and we have always been devoted to giving it a lot of time, attention, and patience.  The first ten years of our marriage, we made love every day, and on weekends usually twice a day. But the frequency of sexual coupling and orgasm has had many changes over the years, related to personal illness and raising our children. 

We are much more tired now at the end of the day & seem to need more sleep, so sex usually takes place over the weekend when we can have leisurely time together. We now make love about 3 times over the weekend. But we still cuddle and caress each other each night and tell each other every day that we love each other. My husband makes it a point to pay me a compliment every single day.

Our marriage relationship, sex included, is our mutual top priority.”

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“John and I had what was supposed to be a one night stand. Six years later, we got married. That was nine years ago. We haven't had sex in four years. To make a long story short, I went through a period where I wanted a child and John was adamant that he would not be a father. The last few years there has been a lot of therapy, a separation, and a very slow reconciliation. I've decided that our relationship is more important than motherhood. We take it one day at a time and although things are back to normal in a lot of ways, I hope that some day (soon!) we can go back to the crazy fun sex life we used to have. Or any sex life at all. In the meantime, I have so many battery-operated toys that Duracell should send me a Christmas card every year.”

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“Seven years ago I met my best friend. After three years of dating, we got married. We have an amazing relationship. He treats me like gold. We do everything together. We're ridiculous and heartily laugh together all the time, as well as forge through the difficult parts together. 
Before we were even married, our sex life had dwindled. There is a certain fire in the newness of somebody; that feeling every time you're with them, when the relationship is unsteady, that this may be the last time you're with them....When things became more serious and solid and sure, that roaring blaze dwindled to a little spark. His libido is still there, he's game whenever, but....I just mostly don't care. The passion for the physical doesn't come very often. Maybe once a month I am legitimately interested. I just don't need it. I aim to have sex at least once a week, because I know it's important. I get into it once I've started, but....it feels very much like a chore. Something on the to do list that needs to be checked off to keep our lives running happily. We've had many a fight about it. I would like for him to be more aggressive. Just come get it when he wants it! But i think I am an intimidating character, possibly. Or maybe he's afraid of getting shot down. I am left being the one that always has to make the move. Alas, we are stuck in an unchanging stalemate....”

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“Liam and I have been together for a little over two years. We are married, with two children. We met volunteering and were not instant friends. We connected over a discussion about music and after our first date we were inseparable. Our relationship is that of best friends. We laugh a lot and rarely argue; not because we don't experience differences but because we mutually respect each others right to be upset with the situation or the individual. 

Our sex life is wonderful. We have a four month old baby so our frequency isn't what it was in the beginning but I'd say we average at least two- three times per week. If we don't have time for long love making sessions we mutually masturbate. We also try to keep things lively by doing little things like sneaking away to the bathroom to give one other oral pleasure or heavy petting on the drive home. Most recently, due to a new found confidence of reclaiming my pre-baby figure Liam and I decided to film one of our sexcapades. It was a short session, 8 minutes (I only know this because of the handy ticker when we watched it back), but more exciting than filming was the knowledge that this was something neither of us had ever done before.

It brought something extra to our sexual relationship. In an era of premarital sex it's sometimes difficult accepting the harsh reality that what may be a first for one may not be for the other. Being able to experience a "first", especially in an already established relationship, brought a new level of excitement. One that I dare say made us both smile and giggle almost as if we were fifteen again, dry humping for the first time.”

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"Months after getting out of an extremely difficult relationship, boredom got the best of me and I ended up searching for my free matches on a dating site. Ryan popped up on my screen and we began talking on Facebook. Things moved fast—we met in person a week after we began talking, became an official couple a week after that, and moved in together three months into our relationship. After an extremely spontaneous summer, things started to quiet down a bit. Now, three and a half years later, we’re only having sex once every week or two (at most) compared to the almost daily lovemaking sessions we used to have. He’s the love of my life and my feelings for him haven’t faded in the least bit—I’m just constantly fighting off my own personal demons, leaving me exhausted. I’m hoping I’ll be able to overcome these obstacles soon so that I’ll finally be able to give him the sexy woman I feel he deserves. I just don’t know where to start…"



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“My true love and I have been together for a couple years, and living together for a couple as well. The second we met we were infatuated which quickly turned in to love of the most intimate kind. We had sex every night for the first four months and would both say that our favorite hobby was macking. We became closer and closer, identifying on such core levels that we became each others biggest confidant and best friend. We are still this way, completely and utterly comfortable in each others presence. Its magical. As we became more and more connected on an intimate and emotional level though, our sex life started to fade. This devastated me in so many ways. I was convinced that it was me; my body, my skill, my anything I could think of. He assured me this was as far from the truth as possible, but I was unable to believe him. We went a year without sex, and I spent the majority of nights crying myself to sleep. One drunken and riotous night together we had sex for the first time in a year, but we haven't has sex again since. We've been seeking therapy for this issue and have come to learn that because of childhood trauma, he is unable to engage in sex once he reaches emotional intimacy. He is capable of only one type of intimacy at a time... either physical or emotional. Through stellar communication and therapy we've inched along towards recifying our lack of physical connection. I don't see any passionate "love making" in my immediate future, but I'm pretty sure we will get there eventually. Does this long dry spell bother me? Every single day. Is he worth the wait? In every single way.”

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This divulgence of information takes fearlessness of the boldest kind, but I would encourage you to continue this quest of honesty in the comments section. Lets make this an open forum and share what we feel comfortable with so that others can ease their minds. If you feel more comfortable posting as "anonymous" feel free; your privacy is important to me. If you do have the ability to share, I know that many will be able to identify with your experience and that it will touch others in the only way this kind of raw information can. I look forward to hearing more… 

If nothing is considered "normal" that then means that everything is normal and you're not alone.

41 comments

  1. This was an amazing article! Thanks for sharing it. Even though I know intellectually that what we see on tv and in magazines, regarding sex, isn't set in stone how it's supposed to be...it's hard to keep from internalizing the messages.

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  2. Sex is great by all means, but honestly I would much rather cuddle all night long, or spend an entire day doing something adventurous together. I think it's important for couples to try out new things together so they can better understand and know each other. Sometimes this involves trying out new things in the bedroom, sometimes it doesn't. I think the most important thing to realize is that sex is never what 'holds a relationship' completely together-- although it often times plays a part, it's normal for it to not be of extreme importance to a couple. I think after having several long distance stints in the three year relationship with my boyfriend, we've come to realize that just being in each others presence not doing anything can be a rare thing.

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    1. I love this so much. Thank you for sharing... I really needed to hear this.

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    1. ugh, it's supposed to say, The content on your blog is incredible. Or it just "is" lol.

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  4. I met my husband after going on a almost 9 month binge of drinking, physical activity and just finding myself after being dumped yet one more time. I was not looking for anything as far as a relationship because I was having too much fun being single. After a month of just being friends and hanging out we developed a physical relationship that I had decided I did not want to have with anyone else but him. We both made that commitment and were so sexually active together that I always had that urge to jump him the minute I saw him. (my panties were always wet even thinking about him!) We use to stay up all night, take road trips, pull off to the side of the road, every friends house, you name it thats when and where we were doing it sometimes multiple times a day. After being married two years now, I am having body image issues once again now that I am not as fit as I use to be. We had not had sex in a month and I was completely freaked out! This was so unlike us and mostly unlike him for not wanting to everyday. When I finally broke down and shared my fer with him about it, he told me it was because of my attitude towards myself that was honestly making him not attracted to me. I asked him for help with keeping our lives ative together again and within a week of me getting back out there and working out/eating better I lost a few LBS and felt so much better about myself that when he got home from his trip away he was so passionate about helping me get through this bad time he stripped me down and told me that no matter what he loved me always. I could be wrong but I think having phone sex while he was gone helped rekindle his fire for me. (It was his first time sexting/phone sex). He is my best friend and my number one cheerleader in all things that I do. Even when sex isn't everyday, once a week is pretty normal for us.

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    1. they always say "how can you love someone else when you can't love yourself?" i think it can also go the other way: "how can someone else love you when you dont love yourself?"

      I need to work on this.

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  5. This is absolutely the most amazing thing I've read in so long. So much honesty and love and compassion and confidence and everything perfect ever. I love it!
    -Jessie:)

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    1. thank you so much for sharing. when ever i feel really strongly about a post, i always wonder if others feel the same way:)

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  6. Great post as always. Sometimes it is hard to know what is "healthy" and "normal" because we are in-undated with so much crap on tv and in magazines. I love the name changes, Zaphod made me crack up.

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  7. i really loved reading these stories. i have never talked about my sex life with anyone but my husband and it is so hard to know if we are "normal" or not. jess, you are really incredible. almost every post you make teaches me something or opens my mind in a new way.

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    1. rae, coming from you really touches me. thank you:)

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  8. This post was such a great idea, thanks so much for organizing it, and thanks to all those stories contributed, really great blogging! My friend and I were just talking about this! How when you're single you talk about sex all the time with girlfriends, but once you're in a long time relationship, it doesn't come up at all really. And I do think that there's this really big mystery to what is "normal" in long term relationships. This post got me thinking- as all of your posts do! xoxo

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  9. this is a great piece and important for those in relationships to realize that not only are you going to have sex every night, after being together for 5+ years, but that every couple has their own needs and desires. Some may need/want sex 5 nights a week and others once a week. I think it's about finding a mate who has a similar sex drive as you. - My only issue is that it's all one-sided... I guess I'd like to also hear from the males in the relationships, as well.

    - tianna :)

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    1. When i decided to make this post I had to consciously decide on the gender and couple focus. I specifically chose the female perspective of a straight relationship, not only because i could identify with it, but because many reader can also. I really wanted to include lesbian relationships, but the mechanics give it a different skew, so i stuck with the straight forward.

      Also, I know for a fact that many men contributed to the narrative.
      Also, men are more than welcome to post their stories on the comment section as well.

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  10. This is a wonderful post! It's really important to understand what is "normal" in a relationship... although, of course, we know there's no such thing as normal.

    Mind you, my best friend and I always talk about our sex lives, even when we were both engaged. (She now has a new partner and won't shut up about it!)

    Becky
    xx

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    1. its so weird to me how many of us are convinced that there IS a normal! I know i have to break this thinking, and i assume that others do too!

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  11. Great article Jes!

    It's funny 'cause we were talking about this very subject in my philosophy class. It's so strange that we are a culture that obsesses over sex and sexy images but don't talk about it. Who knows if it'll ever change, but I know that my fiance and myself try to go as much as we can. It's tough since we don't live together and see each other once a week now, but hopefully in less than one year that's going to change (that's when the wedding is)!!

    And btw, you look beautiful in that photo ;D

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    1. ohmygodthankyou. i've never done something like that before, but i was inspired by meg:)

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  12. Thank you SO much for this! All those Cosmo articles, and having rather ribald female friends (some of whom are prone to serious exaggeration), I assumed hen I was single that I had a dementedly-low, "something is wrong with me" libido. It caused constant problems in every relationship, whether or not my partner had a wildly different sex drive than myself, simply because of my hangup about being "wrong". But in terms of married folk or long-term relationships, all I ever hear is that once you get married you stop having sex (usually said in sympathy to the male, I might add). I'm so relieved to hear that this isn't always the case and when it IS, it is a natural progression of intimacy, not necessarily some "sleep with him until you get a ring" BS.
    Thank you to everyone who is sharing their stories!

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  13. So many posts on the web recently about lovers and boyfriend and sex - I'm single and I can't get 'men' off my mind now *tear tear* hahaahaha, no but really this is a great post even just to keep in mind for the future and just generally to remind us to keep an open mind no matter what the topic or the situation!

    Also, when talking about many shades of sex lives, I couldn't help but think "50 Shades of Sex Lives". Hehehe, god I make lame jokes, welp!


    xo
    http://kittysnooks.blogspot.ca

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    1. Its so funny how often this happens! When I write something it normally comes from what I'm mentally hooked on from current events in my life. I really can't writing about something I'm not passionate about at the moment... which is also why I have 200 drafts just hanging out from when I started them but lost interest and then couldn't finish. So, anyways, sex is trending now? This has never happened before!!! Just kidding.

      Where can I find the good articles? I would love to read them!

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  14. This is a wonderful post. For this perpetually single lady with a group of married friends, it's easy to get caught up in the sex lives we are supposed to have based on magazines and media. It can be exhausting trying to achieve that kind of "normal".

    Also, I read you comment about the photo you posted with this.....it is BEAUTIFUL. And I totally agree, taking photographs in this style can be empowering. I wish more woman could experience that feeling.

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  15. Your posts are SO great Jes. Thank you!

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  16. This is by far my favorite post of yours to date. It's very raw and honest. I've been with my girlfriend for over 2 years now. Prior to being with her I was a bit of a player. I had a very active sex life, and would only go without sex when I wanted to. It's hard for me to identify with most sexuality we're conditioned with, since sexuality is such a fluid and complicated (or not even..) thing to me. This is probably something a lot of lesbians/gay/queers face (the part about identifying, obvs). I choose to identify with parts of stories rather than looking at the gender of those involved. I just like it when everyone's getting laid and happy.

    My girl and I waited a long time before having sex, and I had never experienced someone turning me on as much as she did/does. She is much more reserved than I, but with the help of many trips to our local sex store and countless conversations, she's slowly starting to open up. The hardest part? Putting my libido on ice or otherwise it would be doing cartwheels around her waiting for her to catch up. Just being in her presence, doing nothing, or doing everything, is enough to make me the happiest girl. And with that, it just makes the sex that much more amazing when it does happen.

    thanks for this, I needed that today. :) and that photo is one of my favorites of you!

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  17. This is going to be a wee bit personal, but I figure other people may have something to gain by hearing it.

    I have always had intense pain associated with sex, to the point of sobbing tears. When I'd confide in female friends or family members about it, they would tell me that "it will get better with time" or "just use more lube" or any variation of the above. I asked my doctor about it and she said "It won't hurt when you're in love". I wondered if a man would get the same written-off bullshit if they complained about serious pain during intercourse, but somehow a woman's lack of pleasure is cast aside. I finally got a new doctor that takes me seriously and it turns out my sexual pain comes from a severe muscle spasm in the right side of my pelvic floor that can be treated with physical therapy. I started physical therapy this week for it and decided to blog about it at http://myhealingtherapy.blogspot.com/

    Leigh (primary blog is: hystericalmooons.blogspot.com)

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  18. You just became my favorite person on this planet. THANK YOU FOR THIS!

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  19. I had spent 5 years of my early 20s in a dysfunctional relationship with a man who sexually abused me and demeaned my body almost every time I took my clothing off. I was naive. I believed what he said and I thought I should want to please him, even though it made me uncomfortable and it made me cry. After years of this, I broke things off and spent almost a year alone.

    I met Booknerd and we began dating. When things got sexual, I began freaking out. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but it was clear to me now that all that sexual abuse wasn't healed yet. Neither was the guilt that came with being raised in a strict religious environment where girls who had sex before marriage may as well die. And often times, when we had sex, I would start crying. And Booknerd would hold me, sometimes for hours. We had a lot of sex in the beginning-- sometimes 3 times a day.

    As we grew closer and comfortable, we had less sex. This bothered me a lot at first. I thought he was seeing me as less attractive. As I grew more accepting of my body and my sexuality, I began to accept that we didn't have to have sex all the time to be happy.

    When we got married, our sex life has become very routine, but in a good way! We have sex one to three times a week, depending on my cycle. We began having "quickies" when are a lot of fun and take a lot of the pressure off in a lot of ways.

    I haven't been able to have a orgasm via intercourse yet, and this was something I thought was "wrong" with me but now I know it's totally normal. This helps relieve the pressure, too.

    I recently decided to embrace my sexuality and rid myself of any remaining "baggage". Though ritual, affirming statements, letters, and visiting web sites that promote women as healthy, sexual beings, I've become so happy and satisfied with my body and sexual energy. I've purchased a vibrator and I now have orgasms 4-5 times a week!

    I'd like to totally recommend "Succulent Wild Woman" by SARK-- this book is the impetus for my sexual healing.

    Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story.

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  20. I just want to say, I discovered your blog today and it is totally bad ass and your empowerment is contagious! I've been linking your posts to friends and we're all in love!

    To do my part and contribute to the conversation, I'll throw a few things out there. My best friend in college and I were inseparable for all 5 (hooray for victory laps!) years of college. I had a meh boyfriend at the time, but finally had the right mind to break free and just go with my heart - which led to my best friend. We have now been married 2 years!

    The sex was (and is!) awesome and exciting, but even then wasn't THAT frequent. Nowadays, I'd say it's about once a month, some of it having to do with some medication I'm on that TOTALLY demolishes my ability to easily have an orgasm (thank god for vibrators), and some of it having to do with that we get off on other stuff more than intercourse =P.

    Every day, however, is super sexual, lots of oral sex, but intercourse - about once a month, sometimes more. And it's all good! I have a bad ass marriage and I hope everyone out there just goes with the flow of their relationship...it's so much easier (and more fun) that way!

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  21. First off I love this post, and it really helps a lot thank you.

    Second I would like to share.
    My husband and I have been together going on six years now, and married for four. I met him through the internet after a really bad long term verbally abusive relationship, and many short term fake ones after. I was just in a really low place all around.

    The first time we shared emails we just clicked. I thought he was to smart for me, and that I talked to much for him. We are opposites in almost every way, I mean he is 6'3" and weighs 135 lbs wet in a snowsuit. Me, I am a nice round curvy piece of woman so yeah there are differences, but we are also similar in a lot of ways too.
    When we met he was virgin so our love life even starting out was very different, and very awkward. But I didn't mind. Even though I have never had a sexual partner who could please me, it was alright that he couldn't either.
    Over the years I have struggled with my body image, and teaching bedroom behavior to my husband, which bothered me. I didn't want to hurt his manliness or insult him.
    But after a long talk I became more comfortable with giving him instructions because he wanted to know to how to please me like I please him. I am happy to say our sex life is good on both ends now, but we hardly ever have sex. Maybe once or twice of month.HOWEVER; the foreplay is turned on 24/7. There is not a single day we are not making out, rubbing against each other, making sexually suggestive comments, or teasing each other. On the weekends it is worse, from the time we get up till the time we pass out from a busy day. We are all over each other, even if it doesn't end in a playful rump under the covers.
    And the best part about our relationship is we can have a logical and adult conversation just about anything. Including our naughty fantasies and sexual desires. Which really makes out relationship work very nicely. Despite the fact I am married to a stick with legs. :)

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  22. Thank you for this. I have been in a committed relationship with my girlfriend for about 18 months, and her libido is significantly lower than mine - for reasons very similar to those mentioned by one of your contributors. Because of abuse she experienced as a child, sex is only non-threatening to her if it isn't attached to intimacy. Having the rhythm of my sex life defined by someone else is hard - I spend a lot of time feeling horny and unwanted. But somehow, we are still having sex around two or three times a month, even if it isn't the kinky, rough kind that I really need. And every day we spend time cuddling and "recharging" our batteries through our connection to each other.

    Because this is indeed a topic that we don't talk about much, I often feel very alone in my situation. It's hard to gossip about your other half when you live together and your friends are their friends too! Throw in the sexual politics of the lesbian/bi world (where "mere" sex is often portrayed as something women don't really want that much of, and there's such a focus on abusive histories that it's nigh-impossible to express a need to be dominated or experience pain in bed), and I often feel gagged in a way I *don't* enjoy. Thank you for publishing something that shows that there are other people out there who feel somehow similar to myself...

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  23. I have to respond, because I don't see anyone with my experience yet, and maybe if I share mine, someone else with the same experience will see it. And it will help. Maybe it will just help me being able to say this "out loud".

    I'm married. Have been for almost 7 years. When we started dating, 10 years ago, we had sex a couple of times on the weekend. But then my job turned really stressful. I mean burnout and depression stressful. And sex dropped off to once a month, if not once every 3 months. Because being that stressed just isn't good for my libido. And he doesn't understand this, has never understood this, and felt very rejected as a result.

    And then I lost my job and got a new one, and the pressure and burnout faded. But we've never really been able to resolve the pain and rejection issues - can't talk about it, for reasons which may be clear in a minute.

    And then he lost his job, and I became the breadwinner and sole income. For several years. And along the way, we realized that he has a neurological disorder that both makes him scatterbrained and makes him quick to react emotionally to perceived slights. So even if I think I'm being calm and reasonable, he might see something hurtful in it, and react accordingly. So yeah- hard to talk about anything vulnerable when he's stuck in this victim worldview. Which is totally NOT his fault - he didn't choose his biology. But it still affects us, it affects him, it affects me, and it affects our relationship. And yeah, being sole income and dealing with the effects of this created - again - lots of stress for me.

    So right now, at married almost 7 years, sex happens once every couple of months. And when it does, it rarely results in orgasm for both of us. We'd both like it to be different, but frankly, right now, we both have rejection and trust issues, which makes initiating sex really damn hard.

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  24. This was a great post, but I would have loved to see a queer perspective or two. Especially since you're discussing sex lives that are rarely talked about and because you emphasize the diversity of sexual experiences, I think it would have been really fitting. I understand that the lack of queer representation here may have had to do with who you know or who was willing to respond... it's just a thought. :) I love your blog!

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  25. I think there is so much emphasis on sex. My hubby and I have it once or twice a month and while I wish we had it more often...I get migraines a lot and it keeps me from wanting to do anything...I also am on medication that make my libido go down....I know once we really start trying to have a baby we will have to have sex more but I don't think our relationship is hurting because of it. We love each other and still kiss and hug and touch a lot..I think intimacy is just as important as sex.

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  26. Thank you so much for posting this, and thanks to everyone else who has shared their experiences. I have been stressing about this for months and doing lots of work to "fix" myself - and reading through these experiences has helped me to understand the work I should've been doing all along.

    Sex has always been very objective-based for me. Sex had a purpose (getting/keeping a boyfriend, feeling powerful, projecting an image, conquests, feeling accepted, etc.). Now that I've been in a loving and supportive relationship for 2 years, sex doesn't have the same "purpose" (because I've kept my boyfriend, I feel powerful and loved and accepted, etc) and therefore my drive has dwindled considerably. There's nothing to fight for.

    My boyfriend came from a very long relationship where sex fell off at the end, so this makes him extremely anxious; when I stopped wanting it as often, we both deemed it as something that I needed to diagnose and fix. He has made it very clear that he doesn't think a relationship without regular sex is healthy. And I have internalized that. I've spend the past year analyzing the nature of my attraction to him, analyzing my past and my psyche, and basically torturing myself for not having the "right" libido. I even blamed my IUD at one point. Sex has been once or twice a month, and he has frequently expressed sexual frustration.

    I started seeing a therapist, and she has encouraged me to work on discovering my sexuality (as opposed to objective-based sex acts) and I'm still not exactly sure what she means. Sex, even masterbation, is something I do as fast as possible because it's such a mentally uncomfortable experience for me. I can orgasm all I want, but it's just part of the performance. It isn't for me.

    So at this point I'm rethinking what I'm "supposed" to do. I don't have to fix myself. I don't have to find the magic key to my former libido. I don't have to hold myself responsible for having the same drive as my partner to have a "healthy" relationship. I have to figure out what works for me within my relationship, and if my partner isn't comfortable with my input (or lack thereof), then that is a separate issue that needs to be handled separately.

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  27. Thank you for this.. Its something that all people in long term, or entering long term relationships should understand.. I met the love of my life online, after several years of purely sexual relationships and sexual escapades that lasted more than a month work any man.. mostly because of an incredible boredom that came over me after seeing the same person naked more than a months time.. Then I met my love. He had been celibate (except for one drunken night) for 3 years after divorcing a short marriage that happened too young and too dumb. Then he met me, I came over the night after our first date and we had amazing passionate crazy sex that had me sore for a week after. He later told me that he has sworn he wouldn't have sex with me until we had been together for at least a few months, and I had seduced him and made him break his own promise. We were having sex at least 3 times a week from that point on, and worked our way through some difficult times of sex being very painful.. Eventually those problems fixed themselves and we found ourselves pregnant a few months back.. sex had become sparse before the "oopsie" but since finding out about our little one sex has completely noon existent.. I'm reaching the end of the first trimester, and we are getting married in just a few Weeks.. with stress higher from the wedding, and my constant morning sickness, we've bickered more in the part few Weeks than or entire relationship, and because of my near constant sexual history before now, I find myself completely in fear of him falling out of love with me because of the lack of physical lust between us.. He's fast asleep snoring beside me as I'm writing this, and I know no matter what, he's worth every bit of struggle.

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  28. Hello Jes!

    I'm still navigating a newer relationship (we've been together a year now..wow!), and this article was so helpful to me. I'd share more, but in the interest of everyone's privacy, let's just say that it is a wonderful exploration of love and humanity!

    To be honest, all of your articles that I had a chance to read have touched my heart in a big way, and I'm looking forward to reading more. Thank you for your honesty, your bravery, and your beautiful photography! What a gift!

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  29. I live over 8000 miles away from my partner, and I've only spent time with him in person about four times total, with the duration varying from 3 weeks to 6 months.

    Since we only see each other about once a year, yeah, we tend to be at it like rabbits, but I have no idea how it would be once we finally move in together permanently. I doubt it would bother me that much, as I personally consider sex as a bonus that comes WITH the relationship. Hey, going solo is plenty fun, too. ;)

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