“Did you and your ex have a good sex life?” my therapist asked me, while we were trying to unpack why I stayed in my marriage for as long as I did.
“What’s a good sex life?” I asked, genuinely wanting to know. If quantity counted, it didn’t suck. But quality? I wasn’t sure and never thought too deeply about it because I was busy getting through my 30s, 40s and 50s like everyone else.
When I met my ex, he was not yet on anti depressants (hell, Prozac really wasn’t even a thing yet) and our libidos were biologically performing as they were designed to do. Enter kids, work, and life and any sex at all seemed like a miracle. I subscribed to the adage, “Mediocre sex is like mediocre pizza. Neither suck.” I was led to believe that my inner circle of friends were in similar situations, as we joked on the occasional girls night out about how exhausted we were to even think about sex. I felt validated and too tired to worry about it.
Somehow my therapy session got off track and we never discussed what qualifies as good sex in a long term marriage, but I can’t stop thinking about whether I settled for mediocre sex, just as I had settled for so many other mediocre things in my marriage.
When my kids went to college, I decided it was our time to make sex a priority. I rented a charming lake house for a week’s vacation and told him it was our love nest and no guests allowed. We could do whatever we wanted and maybe even try some new stuff.
“What do you mean?”, he asked sheepishly, as if sex were a foreign object.
“I don’t really know,” I answered, “but wouldn’t you like to try?” I suggested coyly. “I brought some books.”
“I’m just not sure.” he answered, his mood and sex drive eviscerated by mental illness.
What followed was a sexless week, little laughter and lots of time spent alone while my husband napped. Shortly thereafter my marriage was over. For many reasons.
But I continue to think about what good sex actually means and how I will find it now that I am single and sixty. Then, I was kissed like there is no tomorrow by a new man that I recently started dating. I felt like I was 15 with my first boyfriend; 70s music humming in the background and all hormones on the inside. Good God this felt amazing was all I could think while we made out on a beach wall, oblivious to the people all around, including his dog who was waiting patiently at our feet.
“I don’t think I have ever been kissed like this before,” I said to him, when we came up for air.
“Then you haven’t been with the right guy. You’re beautiful and special and that’s a problem.” He said. “I don’t mean to make you feel bad. I mean it as a compliment.”
What? Huh? Maybe he’s right? And needless to say I am titillated to see what comes next with this man. And if he doesn’t work out, then maybe, just maybe, there are more men like him out there, waiting to kiss me and I cannot wait