It’s hot. It’s been topping 100 degrees for days now. So instead of putting clothes on this morning, I just put on some cute yellow and white striped Gap undies and a pink sports bra and walked out into the living room where my boyfriend was busy working away (he’s a writer).
“Wow, you look really sexy in that outfit,” he took a double take as I walked by.
I turned and smiled and did my little sexy dance.
My little sexy dance consists of the following: 1. Smiling sheepishly, 2. Waving both my right and my left arms in the air like a stringed puppet, 3. Snapping my fingers, 4. Standing on my toes so that I’m ready to change direction at any time, 5. Stepping from right foot to left foot while raising the knee of the unweighted leg, 6.Wiggling my tush, 7. Singing “sexy dance, sexy dance,” and 8. Moving in circles around the audience member while eagerly looking to see if they agree that what they are witnessing is the cutest and sexiest thing ever put in front of them.
After my dance party around the living room, I tried to escape the heat by placing myself on the fuzzy white rug near the A/C unit. Noticing the rug was a bit dirty, I decided to finally get around to buying a vacuum cleaner (thanks Mom and Dad for the Amazon gift card!), when to my surprise my boyfriend joins me on the rug and starts nuzzling his nose softly against mine.
“Remember on our second date,” (which was 7 months ago) “when we hadn’t yet kissed and we just softly touched our noses together? We were so intimate even then,” he said with wonderment. I could sense where this was going…
A deluge of thoughts instantly set upon me. Oh man, why does he want to have sex? He does want to have sex right, that’s what his touches mean? No silly, he’s just appreciating you, relax and enjoy it. What if I’m not lubricated enough? Can’t he give me a little tender attention before demanding sex? Oh wait, he isn’t demanding sex. I’m so excited about the new vacuum coming next week. Ahhh, it feels good to be loved. It’s cold with the A/C blowing this way.
He looked at me and said the dreaded words: “I think we should make love.”
Whoa. Hold on. Reset. Make love? That sounds so nice, so tender, so warm, so appreciative. Making love? I can do that. I WANT to do that. So I turned to him, took a slow satisfying breath, smiled, and said “yes”.
Without going into the details of what followed, I will instead say that we had a wonderful experience of being close to each other, having fun, being wild, being tender, and opening up parts of ourselves that are generally hidden from every day life…all on the fuzzy white living room rug.
To be honest, I can’t remember exactly what happened next. I know we talked a bit, lied down for a bit, and somehow ended up back on our computers. Then he turned to me and said, “I know I’ve said this before, but I have to say it again. I’m so glad we did that. I wasn’t particularly horny, but it’s so important for us. We need to keep it up at least twice a week. It’s good for us in so many ways, for our relationship, for our physical health, for our moods.” I smiled at him, knowing that even though I was initially hesitant, I felt exactly the same way.
Even when you’re not particularly in the mood it’s important to have sex sometimes anyway. I call it “maintenance sex”. One reason why it is helpful has to do with the hormone oxytocin. Nickname: the bonding hormone. Mothers release it when breastfeeding their children, and both men and women release it when having enjoyable sex. It makes us feel intimately close with each other. But its effects are much longer lasting in women than in men. Due to the differing levels of estrogen and testosterone, oxytocin is degraded much more quickly in men so the feelings of closeness last only for a matter of hours to days for them, whereas for women the feelings can last for days to a week.
I have found that if my boyfriend and I go without sex for more than a few days, I feel less able to communicate with him with just a glance or a touch. I feel the connection between us becomes a bit fuzzy; if we don’t have sex for a few days, it takes more effort to see into the other person. But as soon as we have maintenance sex, we’re back to being on the same wavelength. Getting into sex isn’t easy for me (another story for another time) but when I put my thoughts away, trust that it’s a good thing, and just go for it, it generally ends up satisfying the feelings that were preventing me from easily getting into it in the first place. Sex is a wonderful part of being human, it’s a shame there’s such a hubbub about it in our culture. I am on a journey to allow sex to naturally take its place in my life, and tools like “maintenance sex,” while artificial at first, allow me to break down unhelpful patterns I’ve developed throughout the years and take me that much closer to embracing the beauty of sex…
…in the living room.