Sex Stories is an ongoing series focused on the relationship with our sexual partners, our community, and ultimately, with our physical and spiritual self. In this weekly series, we will feature short and long prose, that examines the layers of sex (or none at all) during a pandemic. This series aims to not only demystify the sexual experience for folks right not, but hopefully, narrows in on the reality that sex is an integral aspect of our very unique pandemic journeys. No matter where you are physically, spiritually and mentally, our hope is that by sharing these stories, we will all continue to hold each other.
“Many forces are at work to shape my sex life at present: being at home full time with two young children for the last ten months; the 15-plus pounds I’ve packed on during quarantine; the collective mental health of both my partner and myself; financial stresses; plus all the other factors that fill the spaces in between. We rarely have sex anymore. I would wager that, on average, it happens once a month, and the saddest part is, I haven’t noticed or missed it. I rarely feel “sexy” or in the mood anymore.
The thing that has surprised me the most is how dramatically my sex drive has deminished since the pandemic. In the before-time, we were relatively adventurous in the bedroom. Sex wasn’t merely the fullfilling of our physical needs or desires, but a deep dive into intimacy with one another. We are in what presents as a straight-cis relationship, but both identify as queer. We played around with gender roles, shared our deepest kinks with each other, and tried new things. It was never as frequent of a conquest as it was before our daughters were born, but it was often enough.
I recall the time before I returned to school and stayed at home with our twins. I felt like a loyal dog, waiting patiently for their masters return, deeply grateful when they finally came back home. Back then, he was all that I had. Then I found autonomy in myself outside of my domestic role. I returned to school, I made my own friends, I rediscovered parts of myself that had been lost to motherhood. There was a new space between us, and this was when we were at our most adventurous. The intimacy was like a lifeline, tethering us together as we lived out our lives.
Intimacy looks different for us now. We play cards, we read books together, we sit in silence side by side watching our favorite familiar show on Netflix. We’re both just tired. Tired of too many things to mention, though to be honest I feel they don’t really need mentioning because this exhaustion is a collective sigh among anyone who has half a brain and half a soul. I could blame my lack of interest in sex on the extra fat that has wrapped itself around my middle, our climbing debt, or the status of my mental health. But it is so much deeper than this. The pandemic isn’t solely to blame, either. The complete and utter ineptitude and indifference of our Government, however… The shame tied to being an American right now. When I am plastered with fear over what sort of America my daughters are going to inherit, along with a myriad of other fears [global environmental crisis, undoing internal racial biases and being anti-racist, a casual insurrection, to name a few], how am I supposed to get “in the mood”? I am equal parts impressed/perplexed by long term couples that are managing to keep things going in the bedroom through all of this. The pandemic is not the caveat behind my dwindling sex life, but it is seemingly the caveat behind literally everything else going on in the world right now. It has us at home more, and as a result, we have more time to notice all the other things happening.
Every now and then I’ll become painfully aware of our situation and feel the deep pangs of guilt. I confront my partner about it and try to apologize, and they never make me feel bad. If anything, they express similar feelings; fear, stress, anxiety. We don’t place too much pressure on ourselves, and when we are able to come together in this way it’s enjoyable and reminds me of how much I really do miss it. I do worry a little about what it means for us in the long term, things have gotten to be very vanilla when they do happen, but as we’ve made it through our seventh year together, I have no doubt that we will one day be able to take a new journey together in the bedroom. For now, though, we are surviving.”
Thank you, J ! More of the Sex Stories series, right this way!