Sex and Relationships
Do you remember the notions you had about sex as a kid? S-E-X was like a curse-word, something scrawled under the slide in the playground, a word that if bravely spoken would receive gasps and muffled giggles. I had little to no idea what sex actually was, yet we all knew it meant something bad, something filthy. Ours is a culture that teaches us from a young age that sex is dirty; we are taught it is something that adults do, yet these very adults seemed appalled by the very mention of S-E-X. We learn that the only way sex is not bad is when it is sex in marriage.
Yet as studies have recently shown, waiting until marriage for sex virtually does not exist, pre-marital sex is nearly universal.
So, studies show we are having sex outside of marriage and relationships, but we already knew this. What I want to know is: How does our perception of sex change when we are in a committed relationship or a marriage? How are we supposed to feel about that shameful act we know and love when it’s no longer dirty and bad? What is sex in a committed relationship supposed to look like/feel like/be? And why do we equate the word monogamous with boring?
I wish I had the answers to these questions. I’m still not exactly sure how love and sex fit together. To me, sex is about connection, mostly the connection to yourself. Looking back on my sexual-life, the type of sex I was having and what it fulfilled seemed dependent on my self esteem, self worth and what was going on emotionally and psychologically (hot sex didn’t always mean healthy sex.) When we are in committed relationships and “the excitement of the hunt” and dirty connotation is somewhat taken out of sex, I think we are often left seeing ourselves as we are, our issues spilled on the sheets.
While waiting in line at the supermarket, I’m sure you’ve seen gads of sex and relationship articles, most of which fall into the Cosmo-genre of “ways to please your man and spice up your relationship.” I see this as the view from an evolutionary/biological standpoint. They are ways to keep re-playing the hunt, to feel dirty, to keep your sex-life exciting…like when you were single.
When I was single I thought I had a very full and hot sex life. I was living out my sexual fantasies and chasing excitement, whatever I wanted. My bed rotated with partners and I lived for experimenting with whatever kink I, or a partner, could come up with. Sleeping with someone new every time seemed to keep sex exciting.
Those “please your lover” articles often speak of the boredom that creeps into our monogamous bedrooms. I’ve known this stale feeling all to well in past relationships, I think maybe there is more to it than the purely biological. When boredom slithers under the sheets, what is going on in the heart and mind?
In the past, as I’d find myself easing into monogamy, sex would become inevitably something of a chore. I’d find myself zoning out during sex… or uncomfortable…or anxious. I felt much less confident about sex and myself, I began to wonder how much I actually even liked sex. For me, taking away the frills and thrills of “bad” single sex is when the truth came out. Something was missing.
Next time you are on the bus, look around. How many people actually look present and aware? I think many people go about their day without actually being there. They are the day-sleep-walkers, never actually in the moment or aware of what is going on inside of them. I used to be one of these people. I realized that I had been out of it for a fair amount of my life, during sex included. The missing ingredient in my sex life was the connection to myself.
Good sex is all about being in the moment. Maybe I enjoyed sex with strangers and new kinks because it was dangerous. I wasn’t dissociating as much, kind of like cutting to feel something. Maybe it was that sex was okay as long as feelings were left out of it, or as long as it was “bad.” As I began to work though my issues it seemed sex was much easier in my older “wild” days when I could only be shocked into my body. Being present in my relationship had me feeling ultra sensitive and sexually shy.
Yet the peaks in sex became much higher. Rather then rolling around seductively, batting my lashes, aware of how I pleased my lover, or submissively agreeing to sex and waiting for it to be over, I became aware of myself. I closed my eyes and connected to my inner self. As uncomfortable thoughts or feelings came up, I faced them. Being so incredibly in the moment and into the movement and feeling of our bodies, while slowly arching and curving moving closer to my core-self was way hotter than any tip from Cosmo. To me this sex was spiritual, not because I was connected to a “higher power”, but to myself.
There is no point of reference for what sex is supposed to be like in marriages and committed relationships. I’m still not sure what sex means in my marriage. I do think that we are fed a lot of backward ideas about sex and most of us then walk around with hang ups and fixations over this. These issues naturally come out when we are comfortable, when we are ready to face them. For a lot of us this is when we are in a safe, committed relationships.
Our society right now seems unfortunately, not designed to accommodate human sexuality. Because of this, problems in our sex-lives will inevitably arise, but the more we share and become vocal about our experiences the more we can all learn. What does sex in a committed relationship mean to you? Is it different than single-sex and one-night-stands? How do love and sex fit together for you?