Since the 1950s, when Doris Day set the sexual standard for women, other, bolder females have attempted to hack the sexual taboo down to size. In the 60s, Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl exploits turned the tide in a decidedly less prudish direction. By the 90s, Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City escapades practically decimated the taboo with an audacious, ribald look at the sexual ups, downs, and all-arounds of single people in the Big City.
A roller coaster always makes for fascinating observations, which is probably why there aren’t many books, television shows, or movies that explore the ‘wild’ world of sex after marriage. Not known for its high drama, romantic fervor, or sizzling heat quotient, sex between a married couple is usually more about love, affection, and comfort. A boring prospect you might think, especially if you’ve become addicted to the thrill of that undulating roller coaster. But if you’re ready to disembark, and settle down to a more grounded sexual lifestyle like marriage, you’ll still find a few ups and downs waiting for you.
Unfortunately, the first “down” occurs at the wedding ceremony. When a couple vows to love, honor, and cherish, they’re also expected to embrace the daunting idea that they will never again have sex with anyone else in this lifetime (a notion that for many people hangs new hope on the scientific data supporting reincarnation). I suggest you not try to grasp the enormity of that concept too quickly, as it may force you to prematurely bolt from the chapel like a bat out of you-know-where, much to the embarrassment of your parents, your spouse-to-be, and your baffled guests.
However, if you bite your tongue and successfully make it to the other side of the marital fence, you will find that sex does change after the vows are exchanged—if not immediately, then soon after. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With every change (even the seemingly negative ones) there are new possibilities for “ups”—unexpected developments where you find serendipitous satisfaction.
It helps not to have too many preconceived expectations about sex after marriage. I purposely kept mine to a minimum, not really letting my mind “go there” for fear it would never come back. Luckily, my husband’s expectations were also kept in check as he’d been married before for ten years. As it turned out, our moderate expectations put less stress on our relationship, and neither of us felt we had to live up to some unrealistic pre-marital standard. With the knowledge that we were now going to be together every night, we could relax. If one night wasn’t convenient, there was always the next.
Although this idea causes some couples to take each other for granted, and therefore experience less romance in their lives, this new, cozier brand of sex can also lead to an unexpected “up”: spur-of-the-moment romance. Having each other around a good deal of the time means you don’t have to do an awful lot of arduous planning. You can be as impulsive as you want when the “moment” strikes you, and this can mean more romance, more often.
There is also a lot to be said for the comfort level involved in marital sex. It allows for more trust, openness and creativity—all things that can help you keep romance endlessly interesting and lead to a very gratifying sex life—even without the help of 50 Shades of Gray!
Admittedly, being together all the time within the “sanctity of marriage” doesn’t sound overly passionate. When the urgency goes out of sex, sometimes some of the zing does too. But if you keep your mind and your imagination open, you may find yourself on a journey to new discoveries in marital bliss you never would have envisioned as a “swinging single” on that roller coaster. And this new path may be a lot easier on your stomach.
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