In conversations with my friends, I have learned that we’ve all been wondering about and asking the same questions about the great unspeakable topic. And we’ve been doing it our entire lives.
Witness the 10 phases of sexual obsession in a woman’s life:
Phase 1: Childhood, when we giggle, snicker and wonder about sex
Here we start to learn what sex is. We take sex-ed classes, which involve gym teachers in spandex explaining how a sperm penetrates an egg. We titter every time the “penis” and the “breast” are on a slide. So we start making jokes, truly stupid jokes, with our friends at the lunch table.
Phase 2: Adolescence, when the lunch table conversation turns to an obsession with who is actually having sex
It seems so foreign, strange, exotic and also wrong to be having sex. We whisper, wide-eyed. We watch the sexually promiscuous and try to learn: Does the world hate her? Does she have a disease? Do her parents know? Is she pregnant?
Phase 3: The teenage years, when we obsess about when we will have sex
Oh my God, the anticipation, the planning, the thinking, the agonizing. Does he love me? Is he The One? Will the world be different? Will the world hate me? Does he have a disease? Will my parents know? Will I get pregnant?!
Phase 4: The college years, when we find new sex-based obsessions such as “Is it possible to have sex while sharing a box-size room with a roommate?” and “What about date rape?”
We also question if we should have sex at all. (Perhaps we are still in Phase 3 combined with this new Phase 4, and our heads nearly explode from trying to figure it all out.)
In college we also have to worry about date rape and fraternity parties gone awry and terrible, horrible stories that keep us afraid of sex. But we are still thinking about it. A lot.
Phase 5: The real world, where our sexual concerns become those of the ‘Sex and the City’ variety
We wonder if we are more like Samantha or Charlotte. Are we having too much sex, not enough, when should they come home, when should they definitely leave? Are we pregnant?!
To all this, now add the nagging newest obsession: Am I good at it?
We want to ask our partners, but we don’t really want to know. The answer is never right.
Phase 6: The newlywed years, when we obsess about sex as a means to conceive or if we should have a child at all
We start newlywed bliss thinking, “Hooray! Sex unfettered! Sex approved! A sexual stamp of approval from society and the church now. Off we go!”
But this lasts such a short, sweet time, as immediately after marriage everyone begins to question when the baby will arrive.
Suddenly sex becomes the topic, the obsession of every single calendar, cycle, schedule and plan.
“We HAVE to have sex tonight,” we text our spouses at 9 a.m.
Phase 7: Then pregnancy, when there are too many emotional questions about sex to navigate
How do we even have sex during pregnancy? Should we at all? What about the baby?
Hold on, you mean we can use sex to induce labor?!
Phase 8: Postpartum sex, when we wonder when we can get back into the bedroom, when it won’t hurt, when we will feel like it, and whether our partners will feel neglected in the meantime
But we make it, women. With the help of friends, books, blogs and magazines, we proudly make it through the first eight phases of sexual obsession.
Phase 9: We are now in the prime of our sexual lives!
So we’ve been told. But we find we’re still waiting, obsessing about when the prime starts and if we will recognize when it gets here, or if we’ll be off somewhere taking a nap.
The prime of our sexual lives does not, it seems, coincide with the peak of our energy levels.
So this makes us start to ask really awful questions that are far too much in our head: Do we have sex enough? Are we having bored, lame, married-person sex? Does he still think I am sexy? Am I good at this?
Years of sexual obsessions, sexual thoughts, and it still hasn’t ended. Phase 9 is exhausting.
Which brings us to the last phase of sexual obsession in a woman’s life.
Phase 10: Menopausal sex, when apparently it can hurt
I saw a prescription drug advertisement the other day informing me that sex during and after menopause can hurt, which is what prompted my thoughts on this topic. Because you mean that after years of wading through the sexual quagmire, it will hurt?!
I have what I hope is a decade before menopause hits, give or take. In the meantime, women, I am taking back sex.
I am making a commitment that from here on out I will stop thinking about it so much. I am going to enjoy it. I will be in the prime of my sexual life, and my energy levels will have to keep up.
Because it’s been a long life of talking about, obsessing and worrying about sex. I am ready to move on.