Just Because You Aren't Getting It On Doesn't Mean Your Relationship Is Doomed

by Christine Burke
PhotoAlto Frederic Cirou/ Getty Images

When I was sixteen, I read an article in Cosmopolitan about how a woman’s age affects her sexual desire. According to the author, women in their forties had the best sexual experiences because their hormones were raging and women were in their sexual prime. The article was filled with scientific statistics to back up the assertion that women in their 40s screwed like rabbits and that 20-somethings had big things to look forward to when they, too, climbed up over that hill.

I remember sitting on my bed and thinking that I wasn’t sure I wanted to wait twenty-four whole years to have the best sex of my life.

Plus, forty seemed really fucking old to still be having sex.

Little did I know.

Well, here I am, forty-two, married with two kids, and I’m calling bullshit on that Cosmo article.

I’m still waiting for those raging hormones to kick in and make me want to bang my husband three times a day.

And I’m pretty sure he is, too.

That Cosmo article was the first of literally thousands that have come across my desk or coffee table detailing just how much sex I should be having. According to every bit of advice regarding sexual frequency, I should be having sex seven times a week. Or is it five? Or is it twice a day while standing on my head?

I have no idea what to believe.

I just know what works for me when it comes to sexual satisfaction.

And I can say with authority that I do not need to be swinging from the chandeliers in leather assless chaps on the daily to be sexually satisfied. In fact, I need a lot less sex than Cosmo lead me to believe I’d need now that I’m in my forties.

Sometimes, that means my husband and I go through a sexual dry spell.

I stopped putting stock in the Internet and all of its infinite wisdom regarding sexual frequency a long time ago. Frankly, I just don’t believe those articles that tell me if I’m not regularly letting a snake into my lady garden, my vagina will wither and die. #FakeNews

Newsflash: you aren’t a virgin again if you haven’t had sex in a while and orgasms really are just like riding a bike, ladies. Your clit won’t forget what to do when you finally get to play hide the sausage with your partner, I promise, so stop worrying about how often you have sex and just enjoy the times you are able to slip between the sheets.

Going through a sexual dry spell doesn’t mean you and your partner are disconnected or that you are headed for divorce court. Dry spells don’t mean that your husband is going to cheat or that you’ll wake up one day and realize it’s been thirty years since you last got it on.

Far from it, in fact.

The occasional dry spell simply means that once in a while, your sexual mojos just don’t match up at the same time because the stress of raising a family, cultivating our careers and remembering where you put the TV remote has taken its toll on our sexual energy at the end of the day.

You aren’t being lazy about your relationship and you aren’t letting yourselves go, either. You are still connecting with each other, cuddling and infusing affection into your daily lives. And, sometimes, a really passionate groping session when the kids aren’t looking can be more of a turn on than sex. Trust.

I’m okay if my husband is not in the mood when I am, and vice versa, because that’s the territory that comes with a long term relationship.

Sometimes, sex just isn’t at the top of the parenting priority list and there’s no cause for panic if it’s been a while since you’ve bumped uglies with your partner.

And, frankly, I’ll take quality over quantity any day and twice on Sunday when it comes to sex (well, maybe not twice on Sunday…because kids). I’d rather have one furtive, toe-curling interlude during nap time a few times a month than a grin and bear it, “well, the magazine at the doctor’s office said we should do it more so let’s get on with it” session six times a week.

When you’ve been married for “I bought you a dishwasher for our anniversary” years long, intention and quality are the name of the sexual game, people. The chaos of family life simply doesn’t allow for spontaneity and long afternoons spent lazing in bed. Rather, long term relationship sex requires a little bit of thought, planning and cooperation at bedtime from the kids. And, if the stars don’t perfectly align for that rare encounter between the sheets, exhausted parents will always choose sleep over forcing a moment that was ruined by the kid puking at 2 am.

So, yes, I’ve been delighted to find out that 40, in fact, isn’t too old to be having sex. But, I have decided to forgive that Cosmo author for leading me to believe that I’d be having the sex with the frequency of rabbits. I won’t lie, though, sex in your 40s really is pretty great. Mostly because I’ve had several decades to figure out what I like. And I’m pretty excited for sex in my 50s for that reason, if I’m being honest.

But, if that means that we have an occasional dry spell now and again, I’m not complaining.

In fact, as the old adage says, good things come to those who wait and there’s something to be said for the tension that builds up after a dry spell. It might be dry as the Sahara in my bedroom sometimes but, man, when it rains, does it ever pour. And getting soaking wet once in a while doesn’t suck.