07.27.12 Sexuality

What You Need To Know About Sex Before You Say ‘ I Do’

What You Need To Know About Sex Before You Say ‘ I Do’

BY Maggie Ethridge

The minute I said ‘I do’ to my future husband, he who was kneeling sweetly amongst hundreds (okay more like tens) of candles in our backyard, with the baby sleeping in the bedroom, I started thinking about sex. Even though by this point, we had clearly already had sex, and nothing had changed except a ring and a promise, I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about every bad sitcom episode, comedic joke, HBO ‘Real Sex’ episode and Dr. Ruth chapter in which the main message was You are married- No sex, huh?

Not only did I love having sex with my fiance, I was neurotic enough, even just months post baby birthing, to worry that at some point in the not too far future, we’d stop loving sex and begrudgingly have it, or maybe just stop all together, until one of us had an affair with a local aerobic instructor and it all came to a humiliating and devastating head! Okay, so no one is an aerobic instructor anymore, but you know what I mean. I couldn’t imagine not loving sex with my husband, but I knew that cliches were cliches for a reason. I asked him if he was worried about it, or about having sex with only me for the rest of his life. He looked at me. I looked back. He twisted his mouth, thinking. I held my breath. He said, “… Nah.” My husband isn’t a worrier.

As the years went by, I knew many friends who were married and unhappy with their sex lives. Some weren’t having any, some were exhausted by the demands of their husband, a few thought their husbands were unattractive and lost interest in sex, (reflecting deeper problems, as sex can) but most of them weren’t happy with it all, whatever the reason. Many were just nonplussed. Sex was ‘Okay’. Okay? I wondered how they put up with it- Okay was for one night stands and dating sex before marriage! What good was marriage if you couldn’t get a good lay whenever the urge struck you? This was a joke between my husband and I. We also meant it.

Adult life with children, which is where most marrieds end up, famously adds barrier after barrier between you and a great sex life. Not only are you two working, paying bills, planning the future, taking care of yourselves, but also driving kids everywhere, staying up late with the non-sleeper, getting woken up by the nightmare haver, addressing childhood issues that crop up, working through ‘phases’, illnesses, that one year when Sara had Mr. Hucklebee for math, and everything else but the kitchen sink; the strain on your marriage can be intense. Having a good sex life can be difficult in the face of that stress, but it can also be an incredible stress reliever.

My husband and I went into our marriage with an important secret weapon: matched libidos. While therapists constantly remind us that regular sex is crucial, we aren’t told enough that matching libidos are also crucial. I know plenty of women who married a man that right from the get go wanted either much less or much more sex than she, and it never ends well. While toys and Fifty Shades of Gray can be fun, a human being wants to make love with the person they cherish, not the character they cherish.

As the years went by, our matched libidos again and again brought us back together when the demands and stress of married life with children threatened to kill sex. We avoided turning into a cliche because we went into marriage with the same sexual ideals: matched libidos and sexual proclivities. If you want to try sex in the mountains while bareback on horses and your husband thinks sex on the floor is pushing the envelope, you are going to have a very difficult time making a lasting, satisfying sexual connection.

When your biological desires and ideal sexual married life match, you have the same goals when things get seriously off track, and during a long, lifetime marriage, they will. People get ill, accidents happen, moves – even the product of sex, more babies, ends up restricting sex for a while. It is easier to be empathetic to your partner’s wishes when your own would be the same under normal circumstances. This reduces the nasty tendency in marriage to mock or resent the other person when their desires begin to feel like demands. My husband and I have not always been on the same page with sex, but we are always in the same book.

Featured image by Max Sparber on Flickr

Maggie May Ethridge is a writer and poet living in San Diego with her husband and four children ages 18 months to 18 years. Maggie is published online and in print including Huffington Post, The San Diego Reader and Diagram. Maggie has completed her first poetry book, The Pirate Queen, and is seeking a publisher, while finishing her novel Agitate My Heart. She writes regularly at Flux Capacitor.

Comments

  • Jess

    I hate that stereotype of married people not having sex! And good for you for shattering it with your story.

  • ann3angel

    The #1 reason I advocate premarital sex!

  • Guest

    #1 reason I advocate premarital sex and living together!

  • Ann3Angel

    #1 Reason I advocate living together and premarital sex!

  • Jean

    Good point! Something to think about for sure.

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