My mother (yes, my mother) once told me that if there aren’t fireworks between the sheets, it’s just not meant to be. I immediately dismissed this advice, partly because it meant my menopausal mother was having better sex with my overweight father than I was with my supposedly sexually prime bedmate. But mostly, I rejected this theory because I didn’t, and still don’t, think its entirely true.
Sex – the good, the bad, and the ugly – where does it all fit in?
We make such a big deal about sex. It consumes us. We lie about sex – we say we’re having less when we’re having more, and more when we’re having less. We worry about our relationship if the sex isn’t “above average.” We worry about our health, our sanity, our bodies and our worth if he simply rolls over. We use sex as a barometer for the status of our relationships when there couldn’t possibly be a less reliable, standardized or empirical indicator.
I, for one, do not believe that the caliber or frequency of the sex we’re having – or not having – is necessarily an accurate representation of what lies beneath. Now this is not to say that sex is not an important component of a relationship, because it is. I fancy a good ole shag just as much as the next gal. What I am saying, though, is that thanks to soft core porn, (aka cable television), Megan Fox, and Cosmopolitan articles with titles like “Give Him the Best Sex of His Life” and “101 Sex Positions to Try Before You Die,” we have been made to believe that not only should we be having sex every night, but great sex every night, and this just isn’t realistic.
These fallacies also spawn a kind of sexual competition among men, women, and couples alike. “Do you guys have a swing? Where have you done it today? Have you tried the Reverse Amazon? What about the Jellyfish? The Bent Spoon?” It’s like losing your virginity automatically (and unwittingly) qualifies you for the sex Olympics and suddenly everybody’s keeping score, or being judged, or being stripped of their medals for performance enhancers. The whole world was turned upside down when Sting revealed that he has epic bouts of tantric sex with his wife on a regular basis, and women everywhere were making statements about “how lucky his wife is.” Now, I’m sorry, but I have no time to be having seven hour sex sessions; I have to eat an Italian sub, pass a bowel, and watch reality TV all before 1 p.m., so this just isn’t going to work. And quite frankly, I have no desire to play hide the canoli for four hundred and twenty minutes. Should I feel bad about that?
We are constantly bombarded with images of beautiful people having beautiful sex. And because of this they are happy…elated…energized! We are repeatedly told by “sexperts” that you need to spice things up in the bedroom to “keep the magic alive.” And when friends get together and talk the dirty (and not in the middle of the day at a local shabby chic diner for hours at a time like Sex and the City would lead you to believe), it’s almost always about a mind blowing orgasm, a rainy day marathon, or an inopportune and especially volatile queef.
But what about the average sex everyone is having? Why don’t we ever hear about that? Is consistent, moderate sex unacceptable?
I just do not believe that people all over the world are having non-stop, tear jerking, flesh gauging sex – and I think that’s OK. In fact, I think that’s natural and normal. Great sex takes work, and personally, I’m not always up for the challenge. I’ll admit it – sometimes it’s nice to just lie there, (and you’re lying if you say you’ve never felt the same). Yes, most of the time sex is an incredibly fulfilling, invigorating and enriching experience, and yes, most of the time I’m a team player. But after a ten hour day, four non-light beers, and two episodes of Intervention, I can guaran-f*cking-tee you I won’t be hanging from chandeliers or slipping into any tutus. AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT.
I recently had a friend come to me in tears, terrified that her relationship was over because “we are only having every sex other day.” Although my concerns had more to do with the condition of her vagina, I simply responded, “you’re totally fine.” This was not enough for her, however, because she had fallen victim to another “sex myth.”
Time and time again, we have heard that the quality of sex is directly related to how much you care about the person, but that just isn’t the case. I think that perfect strangers can have mind-blowing quickies, I think you can have mediocre love making sessions with your soul mate, I think perfectly happy couples can hit a dry spell, and that two people with nothing in common can come together (pun intended) in bed (or on couch, in backseat, hanging from flagpole, whatever your fancy).
Certainly it makes sense that the emotional connection you have with your partner will affect the sex you share with him (or her) – stronger feelings will produce a deeper sense of intimacy, inspiring more passionate bedroom business, and bringing poignancy and sentiment to an exchange that can otherwise be quite barren. We are also inclined to be more generous and attentive lovers when we respect and appreciate our bedmates. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the closer we are with our partners, the more comfortable we feel talking about the sex, sharing our likes and dislikes, our haves and have nots, and exploring fantasies, fetishes and fears that would otherwise remain dormant (and unfulfilled). However, I think this theory has some loopholes, and that it often plateaus, and once again, that the sex simply is not always indicative of, or an accurate representation of the tenor and essence of a relationship.
Nothing comes easily in the world that lies within our bedposts, and I’m tired of being told that it does! I’m tired of doing kegel exercises while watching Oprah so I can really nail that Reverse Cowgirl. I’m tired of watching middle-aged women climax repeatedly on courtroom dramas. I’m tired of oysters being marketed as aphrodisiacs – they’re fookin’ delicious, and that’s why I’ll eat 100 of them. And most of all, I’m tired of everyone denying the fact that just maybe, when the moon is full, or when the tide is red, or when the goddam pigs go soaring past your bedroom window, that they too, from time to time, are having just average sex.