Something’s changed. You haven’t had your toes curled since Senator Obama was shouting about hope and change. You can predict, stroke for stroke, groan for groan, just how your next round in bed is going to go. You’re yawning after yet another underwhelming sex session when it finally hits you: your current sex life sucks!
What was once thrilling, knock-you-out-like-Tyson sex is now about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Once upon a time, your sessions were full of the most powerful orgasms, fulfilling you both every time you did the do. You couldn’t keep your hands off of each other; everything was new and exciting. Nowadays you find yourself thinking more about your favorite reality show than the lukewarm romp going on in your bedroom. What the hell happened?
At some point, maybe you and your partner started parting ways sexually, and you’re not sure how to reconnect. You might find yourself curious about new things you’ve seen online or in a video or heard your friend talking about, and you want to try them out with your lover. But when you bring up some of these ideas, your partner gives you the screw face and acts like you’re from another planet. What gives?
You need to do something, because without solid sexual compatibility, you two are just really good friends. Too many couples underestimate the importance of sexual intimacy in romantic relationships, to their own disadvantage. Great partnerships deserve great sex!
You can outgrow someone sexually, even while growing closer emotionally. You may find yourself outpacing your partner in your desires and curiosity about sexual acts. Age plays a factor, as men and women reach their sexual peaks at different ages (men younger than women, usually). A woman in her mid-30s, for example, probably wakes up every morning craving a wild ride to start her morning. And her early-40s male partner might get up wondering why he isn’t, um, getting up too. He may feel some kind of way when she reaches for the vibrator and cues up her favorite XXX on YouPorn to relieve herself.
A young woman in her early 20s might balk at her late twentysomething man saying he wants a threesome, because she’s focused on marriage and has been raised that “good women” don’t do things like that. Meanwhile, he’s trying to get all of his freaky desires taken care of before he hits 30 and decides to settle down. Whenever possible, focus on finding someone riding the same sexual wave that you’re already on.
Another thing that leads to noticeable changes in sexual compatibility is lack of honest communication. Let’s be real: not everyone reveals all of his or her dirtiest fantasies early on, usually out of fear of being judged. This is an issue with women, especially, as we’re often called all types of derogatory terms for being open with our sexuality. (It’s not commonplace to say, “Hi, I’m Tomika, and I love being choked until I nearly lose consciousness” on the first or even fifth date.)
When people keep their desires hidden and get accustomed to the sex they start their relationship with, over time they can become bored or discouraged and feel like they’re settling. It’s important to be as open and honest as possible early on so you’re able to connect with someone who’s a solid sexual match. Waiting till later to reveal that you’re polyamorous, for example, isn’t a good idea when you led your partner to think you were content with monogamy all along. Now you’re bored with the same ol’ same ol’ and feeling stuck, when you could have been having all kinds of diverse, kinky fun with a different partner who into the same swingin’ lifestyle.
And what if you were honest, and your partner used to do all of the things you liked, open to exploring new things, but isn’t now? Changes in sexual interaction are almost always indicative of deeper problems. Maybe you’re not getting the exciting sex because the side piece is. Maybe you’re not finding a willingness to explore deeper sexual connection because s/he is planning to sever your whole connection. After ruling out hormonal changes or other health issues, it might be time to have a serious conversation about the state of your relationship if the sex is leveling off and proving consistently unfulfilling.
But if that’s all good, then it’s time to go out on a limb and try those new things you want to do. Buy some kinky toys to start. If you’re into spanking, turn it up a notch and buy a soft leather paddle. If you’re into being blindfolded, tie each other up and explore a hidden bondage kink. Make a personal sex video (be careful!) with your iPad, then watch it together later on. Try role-playing at a local lounge, pretending to be strangers who hook up for sex. Stay in character until you both explode and get to know each other all over again. Test the waters with different things until you get back into a groove that excites you again. This fun experimentation should also bring you closer and help you work out whatever other private perversions you might be dealing with.
Whatever you do, don’t settle for being sexually unsatisfied. You’re only hurting yourself, and eventually, your resentment and discontent will hurt your relationship.
Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at FeministaJones.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.