Maybe it’s the time of year, but the bulk of the intimate conversations I’ve had with friends recently (male, female, gay, straight, single, taken) have revolved around frustration. Nobody seems to be getting any – or at least the amount they want!
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One friend’s partner is on new antidepressant medication; another’s just started something long distance; another is experiencing stress at work; another, poor thing, just seems to want to cuddle. “I don’t WANT curling up watching DVDs and getting foot massages, damn it!” cried the suffering partner of the last, plaintively. “I just want to be f*cked!”
Let me be clear that the complaints are unisex. For every husband or boyfriend battling a raging libido, there’s a wife or girlfriend equally frustrated, angry, embittered or upset at needs not being met. That old chestnut about women wanting less sex than men doesn’t need to be buried, it needs to be thrown off a cliff.
Sex is healthy, fun, and necessary in some form to any good and lasting romantic relationship. Also, A is the first letter in the alphabet, and the sky is blue. I’m not telling you anything new here. As for the question of ‘how often is reasonable’, though, you’d be better off trying to estimate the approximate length of toenails in Mongolia.
There’s a great scene in the movie ‘Far From Heaven’ where women sit around a table secretly comparing ‘how many times a week’ their husbands want it, with Julianne Moore looking beautiful and uneasy at the head. Women do this. Thing is, at the end of the day there isn’t any norm, or median, or magical formula (three nights of sex a week plus two orgasms plus seventeen point five minutes of foreplay equals a normal relationship). God, I wish there was, but there isn’t.
It is a maths game, but it’s one which involves taking both partners’ expectations, averaging them, and coming out with a number which is mutually satisfactory. And sometimes, unfortunately, the number is just a teeny bit itsy-bitsy.
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