By Zoe Eisenberg
So much of the inner workings of a functioning, healthy relationship revolve around a functioning, healthy sex-life. A relationship with no spark between the sheets is like a car with no engine—you can turn the key and press the pedals all you want but it’s goin’ nowhere. Because without a heavy dose of sexual attraction (sprinkled with a bit of romance) what do you have? A friendship. When the sex starts slipping, everything else will follow, and when other components of a relationship are failing—respect or trust, for example—then these issues will show up behind the bedroom doors, too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re three years into a relationship, or three months—if there isn’t any sizzle, things are gonna get cold, fast. Over drinks this past weekend, a friend was talking about her new beau—they are only a handful of months in. On paper the guy is ideal. He has everything she would look for in a partner. He treats her better than she has ever been treated, But, she just isn’t that into the relationship and she can’t figure out why. As the other friends in the group asked her questions about the couples’ similar interests (many!) or religious background (I was in the south!) I drunkenly interjected with What’s going on in bed? Turns out, my friend’s sex life is about as hot as wearing a rubber Bill Clinton mask to bed. Just. Not. Right. So she posed the question, should she jet before they get anymore involved or stick it out and try to spice it up?
Not to be the voice of doom, but I told her to cut and run. I am all for experimentation, but the beginning of a relationship is usually that hot and heavy, panties-around-the-ankles, do-me-now-or-die time. Once you’re passed that honey moon phase, you have all the time in the world to focus on spicing up the monotony of long-term-relationship sex. If it’s dull in the beginning, it’s only gonna get worse. Don’t try to start a fire with no kindling and wet wood. (I stole that line from my brilliantly insightful friend, David. Thanks, David!)
Now I don’t mean to say long-term relationship sex is ho-hum or boring as a rule. Actually, it can be the opposite. Once you’re comfy with someone, that’s when you usually start letting your inner freak out and being explicit about what you want. As you get to know eachother’s bodies, the sex gets better and better. But it is also the time where, more often than not, sweatpants and Hook on VHS for the 300th time sounds more appealing than putting on something black and lacey, smearing yourself with cherry pie filling and surprising your man-candy as he comes home from work. Bangerang, Rufio! What, you don’t do that?
In the beginning, everything is exciting, your connection is just starting to blossom, and you are generally hot for each other all the time. You are cancelling plans with friends to stay in and molest one another. You are sexting at work about the rug burn on your knees. You are breaking your “Absolutely No Hickies, Ever” rule and look like you had a date last night with Dennis Rader. There is nothing more electric than new-relationship sex. The kind you are having before you start peeing with the door open.
In the beginning, the chemistry matters more than actual skill. It can be super sloppy and still hot at the same time. I like to think that the best things in life are messy—I am a big proponent of food you have to eat with you hands. This also brings up the subject of sexual prowess in general. How much of a good sexual encounter is based on actual aptitude versus the connection between the two people and their commitment to pleasing one another? Labeling someone “good” or “bad” in bed is not entirely fair, as sex changes from couple to couple in the same manner you can make many different meals from the same ingredients.
Agree or disagree? Think my friend should ditch her dude and search for better boning? Stories about super hot early relationship sex in Laundromats or on doorsteps at 3 am—because you couldn’t possibly wait the four seconds it would take to get your keys out of your bag and get inside? I want to know!
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com.