Equal Relationships + Sex

The other day a dear guy friend of mine and I started talking about long term relationships and sex (editor’s note: to my father who reads my blog – you can stop reading now!). My dear pal mentioned that in a recent relationship he believes he was too passive. At the time he felt he was being sensitive, but the woman later told him that she would have liked him to take a more dominant role in initiating sex.

This conversation reminded me of an article I read ages ago, and as I realized it is almost V-day, AND with the hoopla of 50 Shades of Grey being released to the world, there are some thoughts on sex and relationships that I just want to lay out on the table!

Many people want a loving, equal partnership, yet we also don’t want lust and passion to be dead. However, this article in the New York Times puts forth the idea that you may have less sexual desire for your partner because you see them as your equal.

I highly suggest reading the whole article, but in the meantime, here are a few juicy bits:

On an emotional level, “kindred spirits” sounds lovely. But when it comes to sexual desire, biology seems to prefer difference.

Is the trade-off of egalitarian marriage necessarily less sexual heat? It’s possible that the sexual scripts we currently follow will evolve along with our marital arrangements so that sameness becomes sexy. Regardless, more people marrying today are choosing egalitarian setups for the many other benefits they offer. If every sexual era is unhappy in its own way, it may be that we will begin to think of the challenges of egalitarian marriages less as drawbacks and more like, well, life, with its inherent limitations on how exciting any particular aspect can be.

“It’s the first time in history we are trying this experiment of a sexuality that’s rooted in equality and that lasts for decades,” Esther Perel said. “It’s a tall order for one person to be your partner in Management Inc., your best friend and passionate lover. There’s a certain part of you that with this partner will not be fulfilled. You deal with that loss. It’s a paradox to be lived with, not solved.”

Now I find this article a bit on the depressing side (ie. maybe you just can’t have both!), but overall I disagree that an equal partnership means less sex. I think equality in a relationship is nothing but a good thing, and in the passionate lover scenario, recognizing that having a long-term, equal partnership filled with lusty primal sex is a rather difficult thing to achieve (physiologically/mentally/whatever science is telling us!), means we will just have to be more aware and communicative about it. The more we recognize that “it just ain’t easy”, and don’t put the blame on ourselves or our partners (ie. self doubt and thoughts like “maybe I’m not attractive anymore”, “she isn’t into me”, etc), means we can openly (and in a positive healthy way) find ways to achieve both.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish everyone in long-term relationships the ability to go from doing boring life things with your partner (ie. doing the dishes, your taxes, etc.) to something passionate that gives you butterflies in your stomach. One way to do this may be to embrace our differences. And no matter how you try to spice it up just remember, it’s not easy, and that’s not necessarily because of your tiredness or granny panties, it’s just that we ask a lot from our egalitarian relationships, so go easy on yourselves!

Got any thoughts on sex and long term relationships? Throw them on the table, I’d love to hear them!