I've been writing and thinking lots about marriage. I've been collecting and sharing your stories. I've been asking questions on Facebook, even marginally daring ones. The other day, I asked:
How important is sex to a marriage?
A) Hugely B) Somewhat C) Depends D) Not at all E) I'm not saying
At first, crickets. No comments at all, but then the replies started rolling in and oh were they interesting. There was a range of opinions. Many people said that sex is indeed very important to a marriage. Plenty of people said it really depends on whom you ask, on what stage the marriage is in. A good number of people argued that sex is important, but not all-important. Anyway, an interesting poll. I encourage you to click over to my FB feed and read the whole slew of responses. All very thought-provoking.
Anyway, I thought I'd ask this question here too because I think it's an important and illuminating question. I just realized that I asked this question years ago too. Clearly, it's an inquiry and a topic I've found intriguing for a while now. Anyway, read and if you have a moment or two, please leave your thoughts.
The following is an excerpt from a post I originally published in 2010.
Today I'm getting a wee bit wild. Pushing my prudish limits. My homework this morning is sweet and simple: To start a sexy conversation and have fun doing it.
But sex? Why must I write about sex? I do not need to strip down or sell out to please you guys. I can write a squeaky clean, but intriguing post on oodles of interesting and inspiring topics that have nothing at all to do sex. It doesn't always have to be about sex, right?
When it comes to life, lust is a must. What is the river of existence without a current of deep desire? What is a cosmic fire without that spark? What is romance without a periodic romp? What is partnership without a pulse? What is date night without a squeeze of the knee or a nuzzle on the neck?
Pause. Hold up. Do not get angry yet. I am not saying that life should be all frisky fireworks. I am not saying that a happy life is one long honeymoon. I am not saying that we should perennially prance around in lush lingerie with come-hither eyes. No. Many days are full of Platonic wonders. Of shared chores and frustrations and doubts. Many nights are full of headaches and heartaches and reality television and, yes, even sweatpants.
That is life. That is reality.
But. Sometimes. Every now and then or even more than that, there should be more. Every now and then, love should manifest in longing and trust should give way to lust, right?
Okay. Where ever is this coming from? I'll tell you where. A friend of mine told me once that her friend - who is seemingly happily married - never ever has sex. Like, never ever ever. I grilled my friend. I told her this couldn't possibly be true. But my friend assured me that this other girl is pretty open about it. She says she and her husband have barely done the deed since their honeymoon. That they made an exception to their no-sex rule to conceive their child. My friend insists that her friend really doesn't care. That it's just not a big deal.
And so I thought about it. Can a marriage survive without sex? I tend to think no, but what do I know? Maybe, just maybe, the architecture of sound relationships depends on far more than lust? Maybe, just maybe, for some people, for some couples, sex is just not an important part of the existential equation? Could be.
(Doubt it though.)
- Do you think a marriage can go the distance without lust?
- Do you know anyone who is in a stable and happy relationship but never has sex?
- Do you think that in most relationships, sexual lust gives way to more Platonic trust? Do you think trust and understanding sometimes enhances lust?
- Do you think that infidelity is somehow more excusable when committed in the context of a sexless marriage?