I can remember one of the first ever times my now partner, let's call him Franklin, and I got down to business. By business I obviously mean sex, and by getting down... I don't know, also sex ? The point is, from the beginning, our sex has always been fire. Like I sometimes cry because I'm overjoyed with emotion and love kinda fire (I can't believe I'm admitting that, but hey). And coming from someone who has had a good amount of sex in her life, that's saying something.
Even before we were partners in life, we toyed with all of the places that our bodies would take us. What Franklin lacked in experience, he more than made up for in his willingness to try new things and experiment with intimacy, even if that didn't mean he was necessarily getting his. Sometimes we'd just make out for hours, our bodies getting increasingly hot with excitement. Sometimes there'd only be touching and biting, and we wouldn't go all the way. Sometimes we waited until the absolute last minute we were together to finally let our built up sexual tension explode in the doorway of his parent's house. Sometimes we couldn't even wait to get home—and the bathroom of wherever we were, would suffice as the perfect place to pound. I love alliteration, but that one left me saying yesss/ew.
But ever since we moved in together, almost a year ago, our sex life has definitely changed. I'm not saying that we're like the typical 50-year-old couple who only does it on holidays, but it's not as frequent as it once was. I've tried to rationalize what brought on the change, other than of course, life, and have been left thinking it's one thing: Now that we aren't hanging out for a few hours every day and then returning to our separate homes, the pressure to 'pound' is gone. We see each other every morning, and kiss each other goodnight every night. I pee with the door open and he's worn the same clothes for five days, so how can we expect to be full of sexual desires when we've literally seen each other at our worst?
And this isn't something that's specific to us. Studies have been done over the past 40 years that outline the importance of sexual satisfaction in marriages, but looking at it through a cohabitational lens is less researched. But you'd think the results would be about the same, right? Well, sorta. According to a study done by Arizona State University's Center for Population Dynamics, both sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction are factors that, like in marriages, impact whether or not the relationship ends in dissolution. But the differences between marriage and cohabitation stem from sexual frequency, more than sexual satisfaction. The study proposes that because cohabitation usually implies younger aged participants, a lack of traditional gender roles, a higher demand for sexual activity, and lower costs of breaking up, sexual frequency is what will make or break a cohabitiational relationship, while sexual satisfaction is more likely to be the cause of the end of a marriage.
So basically, if we aren't doing it on the reg, our relationship is more likely to end in dissolution instead of the alternative, which is staying together. And this information is obvi hella scary to read and write. I needed something else to make me feel like even if we're not jumping into the sack, daily, we're going to be okay.
I found some statistics from the National Survey for Family Growth showing that the number of cohabiting women and men between the ages of 15-44 has been steadily increasing since 2002 (WHY DO THEY START THEY SURVEY AT 15?????) The study also presented information regarding how many of those cohabiting relationships remain intact by year one (67.%) and how many dissolve at year one (13.6%). And with the one year mark of our cohabitation rapidly approaching, we've fallen into the first stat. So hey, I think we're in the clear to continue on this exploration of sexual frequency.
Onto the matter at hand. Franklin and I tried to have sex for a week straight, and it went a lot different than I expected. Although he did not sign up for this, I did, so here it goes.
Full of the excitement of a spritely young couple, we happily jumped into bed together. Once the awkwardness behind knowing that everything that happens this week will make it online went away, we were both stoked to do it. The morning was full of sexy glances and friendly touches, partially because I finally wasn't sick or on my period, but also because we're both kinda freaks.
With this week starting off on such a good note, I was not at all worried about how this would turn out. Boy was I wrong.
Another day of exciting sex was upon us. We didn't start the day in the most spectacular fashion, but it ended with us both getting off, so I'd call it a success.
I woke up super early for work, and didn't even really try to rub up on him before I left. He was happy about that and repaid my kindness with kindness of his own, in the form of kinda-lingus (ha ha, see what I did there). We romped in the sheets, showered, spooned, and fell asleep quickly. It wasn't the longest sesh but it was one that left us breathless and sweaty.
I'm just going to say this flat out: We had sex today, but only because we had to. I was grumpy from work, he was sore from skating, and neither of us wanted to be touched. But, the story must go on. So, I hopped on top, tried to get us both going, and then sorta gave up. "I'm not feeling this," I said. So we tried another position: A flexible version of missionary that included pillows under my back and my legs up in the air (a position which I must say usually does everything for me). Today, not so much. I laid pretty while he did all the work—and I low-key waited for him to finish. I signed us up for this and now I've gotta deal with it.
Disclaimer: I'm not at all advocating for people to have sex when they don't want it. I totally consented to this act of sexual activity with my partner, but it wasn't as enjoyable as it could've been—primarily because I was in my head and like I said, grumpy.
After our mishap yesterday, we decided to try it again. We removed ourselves from the bedroom, hoping that the bad juju wouldn't follow us. We made dinner together, sipped on a nice Pinot Noir, and listened to latin records, in the hopes that the music would ignite something fiery in us both. And to our surprise, it worked. Before we could even finish our dinners, we had relocated to the couch while the record played nothing but static.
Nothing good happened today. We were both so busy (as usual) that there literally just wasn't time. When we both got into bed, we just sort of looked at each other and then rolled over to our respective sides.
Before anything even had room to happen, I passed out and he was sweet enough not to bother me.
Today was just like any other day. Franklin and I spent the morning conversing in bed. What went from light morning chatter to something made up of slightly less poetic content, lasted over an hour but didn't end in anything steamy. I had to rinse an overnight hair mask out of my hair, and Franklin had some errands to run. So we had a quick breakfast, and did our own things.
We didn't see each other until much later, and I was exhausted from working late. He was knee-deep in some video gaming action that I'm embarrassed about admitting. We both tiptoed around each other, the thought of our required sexual activity on the tips of each of our tongues—but we kept quiet, pretending not to notice the each other.
In my head, I went over all of the things that I still had to do by Friday, and bedding my boy was still on that list. I decided to do what any self-loathing writer does: Shove everything else unrelated to this here story, to the back, and get naked. But because I'm naked far too often, what I thought would elicit an awed response, LITERALLY GOT ME NO WHERE. Franklin didn't even blink. So much for that.
I tried to slide over next to him on the couch, and wiggle my hand into his zone. "Stop dude, you're gonna make me die and I've almost blah blah blah, video game lingo," Franklin said. Cool, I thought. "But you must do me, you promised," I whined. God, he's such a child. It isn't that hard to have sex with your hot girlfriend wtf. "I will I will, but I need to finish this," he replied. He told me he'd meet me upstairs in 10, turned to give me a kiss, and returned his attention to the screen. This is a lost cause. Smh.
I stomped upstairs, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got into bed, patiently awaiting my suitor. I wasn't upset, but like really bro...
I fell asleep before I could even finish that sentence (or put a scarf on my freshly blowdried hair), and woke up to him snuggling up on me. We slept intertwined, but only at our feet and fingers; because my hair wasn't wrapped, it ended splayed all over my pillow and subsequently Franklin's pillow, too.
Last day (finally!) Day Seven:
Tbh, I woke up horny. It might sound cliche, but whenever I straighten my hair after wearing it natural for a while, I feel like a new woman. Even if it's wild and I look a little like Don King, I'm over here flipping that ish and feeling myself. So, I rolled over ready to participate in our last 'mandatory' sex date.
Franklin was still asleep, but could feel me looking at him. He wasn't really trying to get it on, and we were both hungry, so the sex would have to wait. Waffles were on the menu. And as a batch were in the waffle iron, and he was making the bacon, something hit me. We were gonna do it, right there, in the kitchen, while everything was on fire.
Maybe it was because today was the last day and the week didn't go as planned, or maybe I just wanted to woo him; whatever it was, I wasn't mad about it. Next thing I knew, I was down on my knees, while the bacon sizzled and Franklin looked down on me in shock.
You can let your mind take you from there... 👀 But just know that it ended in a successful act, right there on the island, as the bacon burned and the waffles browned. Neither of us were mad though because the spontaneous act had changed the outcome of our day and left us both feeling fire.
Looking back on the week, I'm left with a lot of questions. Did a week of consciously trying to get it on make our relationship stronger, even though it didn't end in us having sex for the whole week? Or did it only make it more obvious that our relationship is stronger than just our sex life?
First of all, I definitely found myself trying to turn him on more than once. I kept trying to rub up on him, or get him to look at my body far more than usual. And because of how ridiculous I am, it almost always ended in Franklin laughing, instead of trying to rip my clothes off. But is that really the worst thing??? Laughing is proven to boost happiness within relationships, as well as benefit a person's mental health. The fact that I can get Franklin to laugh, even if I'm trying to get him hard, actually feels more like a benefit than anything else.
Secondly, to the point above, even though we technically failed the challenge to have sex seven days straight, I don't think we're failing at maintaining our relationship. Our ability to converse about touchy topics is far greater than most of my friends (and most of his friends). There's laughter in the bedroom, even if there isn't always sex. But for me, laughter is almost better, because even if the sex isn't around, I'm still happy. And based on previous relationships where sex rules all, laughter is a nice alternate.
Thirdly, on a totally different note, I spent half of the week worrying that I was just sexually harassing Franklin, trying to get him to have sex with me, even when he really didn't want to. This brought up a major concern in my mind because omg ew am I Bill Cosby/Louie CK/A SHITTY MAN WITH NO BOUNDARIES OR RESPECT FOR MY PARTNER??? He quickly assured me that I wasn't because I wasn't taking advantage of him. My intention wasn't to cross any boundaries or do something that he didn't want; instead, I was just trying to show him how randy he makes me.
Looking back on our week, I think it only proved that our relationship is built on more than our sex life. Statistics aside, the frequency of our sexual activity does not determine how long our relationship will last—and that's not just coming from my own mouth. Even though Franklin didn't want to do this, he can agree that our intimate relations are stronger than ever, even if they don't happen every day. Phewwww.