I have a confession to make: I’m not having sex right now. At all. I’m taking a break from dating while I do some Sophie-related soul searching, and this includes even the casual, easy ongoing fling I’ve had for the past… Almost year. With a boy I really liked who suited my tastes and weirdnesses to a T… But, that’s neither here nor there. It is HARD, and the fact that I write about sex and spend a tremendous amount of my day around porn has made sure that my mind is on it even more than it already would be, but do you know what? That’s okay. I’m doing the best thing I know to do for myself right now, as suggested by my very innovative and persuasive therapist. All this is temporary, and it should lead to a happier me, if a super sexually frustrated me over the next few months. It’s been a week, but a rough one.
The main reason I’m doing this is because I want to look at the reasons I’m intimate and make sure they’re actually making me happy and making my life better instead of worse. Neutral would be okay too, but definitely not worse. Well, wouldn’t you know that the university just a few blocks away from me (University of Toronto – site of the Feminist Porn Conference!) is in the process of studying why people have sex and how that rates in terms of satisfaction and well-being? They’re only doing this work with couples (for now) so I’m not likely to become a lab rat for them, but at least I can look at their findings and apply them to my life, and perhaps to yours as well!
They found that when you’re having sex for positive reasons, you’re likely to have a much better time than if you’re having sex for negative reasons. This may seem obvious, but I don’t think it’s something people put much stock in. Positive reasons like increasing intimacy and connection or feeling better about yourself are more inclined to put you in touch with your partner and yourself and revelling in your sensuality together for its own sake, whereas doing it because you feel like you should or because it will smooth over a fight… Not so much. Wifely duties shouldn’t be a thing, and that goes for any other partnerly duties, too. A slave to duty is just that… And if you’re going to be a slave, you better have a safeword!
Sex is a wonderful thing, and we should all be having more of it (though not me right now, I guess) but it’s valuable to take a step back and make sure we’re feeling good about what’s going on. There’s something to be said for giving pleasure rather than focusing only on receiving it, for rallying and for making a concerted effort to promote intimacy, but there’s work on the self that must be done to ensure that this is a positive choice rather than self-coersion. You shouldn’t ever have to talk yourself into sex. That’s very different than making time for it or making it a priority. By checking in with ourselves, we’ll be able to enjoy it infinitely more.