How Often Do You Have Sex and Who Initiates It?
Do you wait for him to put the moves on? Do you keep track?
-Emily Southwood, imarriedapornographer.com
“Well sometimes you just want to get it over with already, and the longer you hold out, the shorter it lasts!” is the line that flew out of a girlfriend’s mouth the other day.
Was I watching the first SATC movie, yet again, you ask? No, but close. I was drinking martinis with old friends at a reunion and we were all gobsmacked by this declaration. Not least of all because this friend was, shall we say, pretty wild back in the day. She’s now married with children and lives in the suburbs. She was responding to another friend’s admission that it had been some time (a month) since she and her guy had done the deed. We’d all been offering up our sex status quo and I’d be lying if I said some of the answers weren’t depressing me.
“I have sex whenever he initiates it,” another friend chimed in and I quickly realized that I was going to need several more martinis and possibly a hand gun.
Was I in a time warp? Had we travelled to 1950? Maybe they’d all just been watching too much Mad Men. But who was I kidding? They were probably watching Dora the Explorer not Betty Draper. Still “doing it whenever he wants to” seems awfully archaic. I think I read it on an un-funny bachelorette card once.
But as I headed for the bar, I started to reflect on the state of initiation in my marriage. I used to be hyper aware of who instigated sex and how much sex we were having. For me, this was closely linked to my anxiety about whether passion could survive in the long haul. In my tit-for-tat feminist thinking, I imagined that if the chemistry was going to last, I should be initiating sex half of the time.
Before tying the knot, I’d even kept a sort of “sex tabulation” with a girlfriend at yoga class. We’d been with our respective partners for about the same time then—two years. As we worked on our glutes in downward dog, we noted how often we did it with our boyfriends. We figured any longer than four days of no nookie was a passion death sentence. We made darn sure that didn’t happen. So much for free love and spontaneity, this was a competitive sport.
As some time in the conjugal bed has passed, I’ve eased up on my former apprehensions about whether our chemistry will fade or what it means if we’ve passed the four-day mark without a good romp. More often than not, it just signifies that hubby has a nice overtime check coming in.
And I’ve chilled out about who initiates what. The fact is he does tend to initiate sex more. What can I say, he’s quicker to the punch and sometimes I’m not instantly in the mood (aka too busy thinking about my to-do list and what’s for dinner to have considered dropping my drawers). But when I go with it and surrender the details, it usually leads to a good time. And in that sense, I guess we do, “do it whenever he wants to.”
Maybe, I realized, I wasn’t so different from my old friends after all; they just had a special way with words. I know for sure that how much sex a couple has is highly individual and that the important thing, whether it’s once a month, or twice a day, is that it satisfies them. And as for whether my old friend who likes to hold out so that it’s over and done with faster is satisfied, who knows? I’ll have to ask her sometime.
Maybe she’s just a really, really big fan of quickies.
Emily Southwood is working on a memoir called Prude and blogs at imarriedapornographer.com. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Emily is the author of the “I Married a Pornographer” series on BettyConfidential.