"give and take" in the bedroommay start out as one thing, but time can alter the meaning of the phrase. Is the frequency of sex ever a mutual decision, or is one person ultimately calling the shots? Sexual appetite varies. When you're single, the only hunger you really need to satisfy is your own. But in a monogamous relationship, chances are someone will end up going hungry from time to time. Or at least serving him/herself.
But at a time when your partner's raring to go and you're not, is it possible that the underlying reason for saying no is a subconscious desire to control someone else's sex life?
It's something I never seriously considered. Until recently.
For me, Sunday morning is a precious block of time, both peaceful and productive. With an alarming case of bed head, I awaken as close to 8 am as possible, throw on my glasses, pyjama bottoms and a tank top. Making my way to the laundry room with a bag filled with dirty clothes, I load up a few of the washers before returning upstairs to my condo.
For the next two hours I'm glued to my television set as I watch a week's worth of the British soap Coronation Street. Apart from running downstairs to transfer my clothes to the dryers, I spend most of the morning a blissful couch potato and find myself craving beans on toast by the end of the show's second hour.
The last thing I'm looking for is sex. And given my unwashed appearance, it's safe to assume that I won't be in high demand anyway. Or so I think before my partner wanders in from the bedroom.
Joining me on the couch, a hug and kiss are exchanged, always a welcome start to any day. But as we begin to get more comfortable, it's clear that someone's awakened with sex on his mind. Body language has never been more obvious.
As arousing as it is, I'm convinced the timing is all wrong. For starters, my program isn't over. That's not very considerate. More importantly, today is Sunday. I'm feeling more domestic god than sex slave. But he seems really horny, and he is my partner, after all. I carefully weigh my options.
There's only one thing for me to do under these circumstances.
Quick to cite my various reasons, I inform my partner that sex is unfortunately not on the menu this morning. I'm not a bitch about it, but politely firm. While understanding, he's nonetheless disappointed by the apparent return of my inner chaperone, the Sex Nazi.
"Well, I see that once again you're the one who gets to decide when we have sex," he proclaims half-jokingly before disappearing into the bathroom to (I'm assuming) shower.
I realize he may be right. While my partner has the stronger sex drive, ironically I'm the one wielding the real power in this aspect of the relationship. I may not want to fuck as often as he does, but you can bet this bottom's dollar that when I'm ready, he is, too.
This wasn't always the case. I'm perplexed. Like many couples in the early stages of love, sex wasn't just an option, it was an absolute necessity whenever we found ourselves alone with one another. It seemed like the only time we went without sex on a weeknight was when we remained in our separate homes. Or one of us had the flu.
After a year of dating, we decided to live together. My boyfriend suddenly became my partner. And while it's a decision neither of us regrets, I don't think either of us expected this eventual, yet seemingly sudden, shift in sexual supply and demand.
I'm not fond of the position I find myself in and struggle with processing the reality of the situation. I have a healthy sex drive, but it pales next to my partner's. My power to control our sex life is a result of something completely beyond my control, namely my sex drive. Huh? While lives aren't exactly hanging in the balance, a case of blue balls may be.
Yet for us, this isn't a sign of the beginning of the end. I'm reminded of conversations I've had with both gay and straight friends who were in serious relationships at a time when I wasn't, discussions about one person wanting sex more than the other. From all accounts, it's not a power thing, even if it may feel like it at first. Sex should be thought of as icing on the cake once you've found love.
And cake needn't be frosted every day of the week.