An old friend once told me that when she or her longterm boyfriend wanted to signal to the other that they were open to having sex, they would wash their faces, brush their teeth and…wait for it…not put their retainers in. I honestly couldn’t type that sentence without laughing. In fact I laugh every time I remember it because a) it’s supremely unsexy, b) I’ve 100% done the same thing and c) how fucking millennial is that?
It’s also funny because it’s relatable. For how often we’re bombarded with sexual themes in our everyday lives, conversations about sex can feel super loaded (don’t you dare call that a pun). In fact, in relationships sometimes they aren’t conversations at all. They’re smoke signals, body language, pregnant pauses (okay you can call that one a pun). The air in a bedroom where it’s been a while can feel…heavy. Maybe because it actually matters or maybe because societal “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” are so loud it’s become increasingly difficult to listen to our own bodies and feelings. Granted, conversations around sex can also feel cathartic and fun and productive when you’re able to have them openly, without fear, in the vacuum of your relationship. If that’s your thing.
No matter the dialogue or lack thereof, quality and quantity of sex in relationships is just a Thing. It’s such a Thing!!!!!! At least that’s how I’ve felt in past relationships, with varying levels of importance and anxiety. Does that feel true to you? If you’re in a relationship, do you think about how or how often you have sex? Is it a source of stress? Joy? Conflict? Do you have to check in with your partner about it or do you guys leave it unspoken? Let’s talk about it, baby.
Collage by Emily Zirimis.