tagHow ToTalk about Sex Before...

Talk about Sex Before...


When my now husband mentioned marriage, I doubt he thought it would lead to a three day inquisition. As a single mother with two failed relationships, I wanted to discuss in depth some obstacles from the past; among them was sex. Admittedly, I have an unusually high sex drive. By the end of my fourteen year marriage, sex had become contentious rather than enjoyable. So it was very important to me that this pattern not repeat itself. I would like to share in this essay, not the specific answers, but the questions I asked. My hope is that others may find these questions useful to begin and frame their own conversation with potential spouses and/or long term partners.

How often is too often? Frequency is a good place to begin. We have all heard the story about the couple where he wants sex several times a day and she has lost complete interest. Unfortunately, in many marriages this is the reality. Be careful though of the response to this question in particular. Women realise that few men would say every day or more often is too much, but the reality of living with that may test and drain the average man's stamina. Know to that exact matches are not necessary. The problem arises when there are significant disparities; such as several times a day and sex just isn't that important to me. While this first question should not be the death kneel of any relationship, such answers should trigger deeper personal and joint reflection on how such things might be handled.

What do you like? Granted in this day and age, most couples will have been sexually active for sometime by this point, but there may still be fantasies and areas of desire that each of been reluctant to share with the other. How does your partner feel about oral or anal sex? Does this match your own views and desires? How much foreplay does he or she require? This is the ideal time to discuss these and re-discover one another, before moving onto a deeper level.

Wild sex, making love and quickies? Sometimes it is more than the simple frequency of sex that can become an issue. Sometimes it may be the type of sex that each partner craves. An exploration of the specific needs of each person in terms of these three broad types of relations can reveal some potential hurdles as well. As with the frequency issue, this is simply a tool to open a dialogue to further exploration. Yet it can reveal issues that should be dealt with. For instance if one partner prefers quickies and wild sex, but does not 'believe' in love making; this can present a challenge to a potential mate that values making love.

What is cheating to you? If the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton affair offered us any insight into the state of affairs, sexual infidelity that is; it is that people define cheating in different ways. President Clinton may well have meant every word he said when he said, 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.' To some people, oral and manual stimulation does not cross the line of infidelity because there was no actual sexual intercourse. In today's cyber world, this question assumes ever increasing importance. Is cyber sex, role playing such as Second Life, or simply racy, flirtatious chatting cheating to you? Again, the idea is not to match exactly, but to understand the other person's views and reach a compromise. This is important, because the last thing you want to face two or twenty years into your marriage is a situation where your partner says 'but THAT wasn't really cheating.' Such excuses only add insult to injury in an already difficult situation.

Exploring fetishes. We all have them; mine are interracial and impregnation. Obviously from my pen name and bio, my husband has the interracial covered. But I also serve as 'Goddess' at a fetish site dedicated to the exploration of impregnation, pregnancy and lactation. As the mother of six, obviously I have a tiny interest in such things. When we were first married and trying for our daughter, the words 'I want your baby,' was all it took to send my husband into sexual overdrive. Things though changed after the birth of his only child; he is content with one. I, on the other hand, remain fascinated and sexually excited by these topics. It has taken understanding and compromise to reach our solution; I write, often about those very subjects. This discussion of the unusual becomes even more important in certain situations; this would clearly be a good time to discuss the issue of transvestites, BDSM or auto-asphyxiation. But even fetishes such as my impregnation should be dealt with as well; it is always sad to hear from couples with large disparities in the number of children they would like.

As I have said repeatedly, the issue is not to find a partner, who matches you exactly; few of us achieve such things. The issue is to reflectively consider what potential challenges you may face as a couple in the long term. In the throes of new love, most of us idealise our partners. Differences in sexual appetite may be dismissed as 'that is so sweet that he wants me so much,' but these issues can in the long run become significant sources of marital strife. How many people after five years and two children come to resent their partners seemingly incessant demands for sex? By discussing before marriage our expectations in an open and honest manner, we will at least have a framework for continued conversation and compromise.

That is the other thing to realise; situations and people change over time. Having this type of conversation before marriage does not guarantee these issues will not come up later in the marriage. I know from personal experience, they do. But it does give a framework for those future discussions as well. I can clearly say to my husband, 'when we talked about this before we got married, you said XYZ.' Together we then explore new expectations and options.

Marriage and long term relationships are never simple. Unlike what we may have thought, love is not always enough to get us through the tough times. Sex is not the only subject about which couples should have these types of thought-provoking conversations; the same could be said for finances, child-rearing and extended families among other things. We also need skills such as communication and compromise. By having this type of conversation and exploration before we commit, we are developing those skills early.

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