If you haven't realised by now that most things in life change during the course of their existence, then you're probably in need of a serious bitch-slap.One doesn't have to believe in evolution to see how easily human beings adapt to changing circumstances, whether it's biological or psychological in nature. There's a reason we call it survival of the fittest, for victory can only come to those who are mentally and physically prepared to endure the pressures of every day life, not to mention the hurdles and challenges of long-term relationships. Marriages, civil partnerships, companionship. Happily ever after doesn't just happen and stay that way without work, especially when couples aren't always necessarily on the same page. While the pro's and joys of lover's lane outweigh the cons, I couldn't help but wonder whether consistency came at the cost of compromise...
Anyone familiar with the cycle of marriage will tell you about the radical changes they experience throughout its lifespan. How romantic weekend getaways become lazy nights on the couch watching Game of Thrones marathons or how five times a week at the gym turns into "I'll start again on Monday" because physical fitness is no longer a priority. Social calendars are suddenly booked up months in advance with events hosted by people you don't even like (or worse, the dreaded play-date), and shopping, which you once thoroughly enjoyed, becomes just another mundane task. If you're mapping out your grocery list according to the store's layout, then you know you're officially in a relationship.
And then there's the sex. Sweet, glorious, sensual sex. Wherefor art thou, sex? What used to be a raging libido fit for a horny teenager soon disappears into a barren abandonment. Those record-breaking sex-athons you used to have gradually fade away into nothingness. What starts off as three to four times a week will slowly scale down to weekend sex or bi-monthly events that require banners, bells and whistles. While some situations are far worse than others, short of joining the ALWPH club (Anniversaries, Long Weekends and Public Holidays), some people have just given up on sex altogether. Does sex really become that insignificant the further along you go? Is it something that couples need to schedule into their busy diaries like some kind of bikini wax appointment? Should we keep trying to satisfy each other sexually or are sexless marriages just like Harry Style's homosexuality - inevitable?
"One of the most common misconceptions about being in a marriage or long-term relationship is that you are constantly having sex. Of course the access is there but to be honest, I'd much rather curl up with an erotic novel on my kindle." Kaitlyn, a 42 year old married mother of two, had decided to join me for breakfast one morning to chat about her recent bout of sexlessness. We were sitting across from a painfully happy young couple and their approximately 7-month old baby. "You see that there. It'll all change. They have no idea how draining a child can be and what those little monsters can do to your sex life."
Her scorn was as bitter as my double espresso, and even though I entertained her twisted taunts at the undeserving couple (who left shortly after we arrived), I found it hard to believe that children were the sole reason behind sexless sex lives of married men and women.
"They say we're supposed to be in our sexual prime now, but sex just isn't as enjoyable as it used to be. For one thing, there's only a certain amount of physical acrobatics my body can handle at this age and after popping out two watermelons, my vagina is ruined. Sex can be quite painful the older you get. And yes, we have tried all sorts of jelly's and erotic creams to ease the situation. The bedroom just isn't as exciting or intimate anymore. Don't get me wrong. I couldn't imagine myself with any one else other than Rodney, except for Alexander Skarsgard, but lately, it all seems to be a hell of a lot of effort for the whole 5 minutes it lasts."
Kaitlyn had been quite happy to adapt into a sexless marriage but could tell that Rodney was beginning to feel inadequate. "He's started to complain that we're not doing it enough. After nearly 15 years of marriage, he says he would like us to get back to three times a week. Sure, if he doesn't mind me just laying there. Sex is the last thing on my mind after a gruelling day at the office and then coming home to manage a household full of boys. Thank God I'm not that woman whose husband made her sign that prenup demanding sex 3 times a week. My lack of interest would be grounds for divorce! Whoever says that sex is not important is telling a big fat lie because the lack of it can seriously hurt your relationship."
Sex in a long-term relationship is kind of like the Big Bang theory; something that starts off with an incredible amount of heat and energy that gradually expands into a cold, expansion of nothingness. It's up to us to keep the fire burning by making the time to connect with our partners on that sexual level. A dry spell is one thing but when you haven't had sex in over a year and his tadpoles have successfully turned into frogs, then it's time to lay down the law of the bedroom. The frequency of our sex lives will inevitably change, but the intensity and quality is completely up to you.
When it comes to love and marriage, is sexual intimacy on the verge of extinction?