Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twice A Year

Originally published Aug, 2004.

Q: If a couple only has sex once every six months, would you say there is something wrong with their relationship?

A: If I was one of the members of that couple, I'd say, "hells yeah there is something wrong with that relationship!" Only playing "hide the pink crayon" twice a year? Are fireworks so important to lovemaking that it has to be saved for New Year's Eve and Independence Day? Are you shitting me? I'd have to play the be-out game, and, well… you know… be out.

But thankfully, I am not a member of that couple. Neither, I suspect, are most of the readers of this column. Rarely are those that aren't getting any interested in the problems of those that are.

All of us are aware that we need to sleep. On the average, adults require seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but some of us (like my grandmother) seem to function on just a few, whereas others (like my roommate) can't seem to get enough sleep. You can force an eight-hour night, but the true measure of how much sleep a person needs is whether or not they're able to function, healthy, and feel satisfied. Like I told my grandma, if you feel as if you're not getting enough then you're not, but if you feel fully refreshed on four hours then you probably don't need any more. Now go bake me some damn cookies.

Oh wait, I was supposed to be discussing sex. Ah, it's the same thing. Some people need it all the time and some are content to live their lives without it, but most fall somewhere in the middle. And again, the best measure of if you're getting enough booty is if you feel satisfied. I know there are some people out there that can be perfectly happy having sex once or twice a presidential term, or never at all.

Our desired sex frequency is usually an important consideration when we enter into relationships, and partner discrepancies are among the biggest sources of conflict. Whenever one partner wants more than the other negative feelings of resentment, frustration, unhappiness, obligation, and regret can be introduced into an otherwise successful relationship. Oh, and people sometimes cheat. I should mention that.

That's not to say that differences in sexual desire are always the cause of relationship hell; a lot of times, other problems in a relationship can kill sexual desire. If you grow to hate someone for always forgetting to put the seat down, you probably aren't going to want to have sex with him. Similarly, if someone constantly tries to talk to you while you are obviously trying to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you probably aren't going to want to have sex with her either. Infrequent sex is very often a symptom of deeper, more serious relationship problems.

So, if you and your partner are reasonably healthy and only bump uglies once a leap year or something like that I'd say you need to take a good solid look at your relationship. If both of you are content, then by all means enjoy all the extra time you have to pursue other interests like needlepoint, yelling at the neighborhood kids, and wondering why your own children never call. Or just take a nap. We could all use a little more sleep.

P.S. I know a couple that has a very serious discrepancy in their preferred frequency of intercourse. He almost never wants it and she seems to be insatiable. They've been together for over ten years and apparently everything else in their relationship is perfect. A few years ago, they decided that she should start to take on outside lovers to fulfill her sexual needs. They worked together to determine a very strict set of rules for whom she could have sex with and what was acceptable in order to avoid any feelings of jealousy or create any unwanted attachments (not to mention diseases and pregnancies) while he remains faithful to her. Sure, there were some kinks to the system that had to be worked out, but so far it seems to be holding up and they are happier than ever. I don't think their solution would work with every mismatched couple, I just find it interesting…