We all get stuck in relationship ruts. Our sex lives go from ripping each other’s clothes off at every opportunity to finding excuses as to why we can’t do it (again) tonight. The truth is, it’s pretty normal to expect some level of sexual appetite decrease but it’s when a couple’s libidos misalign that it becomes an issue.
After three years of marriage, my husband, James, and I had fallen victim to the same old bedroom routine. Our sex had lost its sizzle and when we did do it, missionary was the only thing on the menu. He got into the habit of asking for it daily. I got into the habit of turning him down almost daily. On the occasion that I’d say yes, the surprise on his face showed me that he was only asking so he’d have the upper hand when I said no!
His favorite line was, “You used to be fun” and my rebuttal was always, “I was never fun”. And although this little quip was always said in jest, it did make me die a little inside as I thought about the dire state of our sex life. In truth, I didn’t ‘used to be fun’, I just used to care more about his sexual pleasure – giving him a blowjob in the toilets of the bar wasn’t my idea of fun back then either, but I did it nonetheless because I was trying to impress. But who did I need to impress now?
And it was this mindset that made me feel worse about where we were in our relationship. We didn’t make the effort for each other, and I didn’t want to make the effort either. That said, I did still want sex…but not necessarily with him.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t about to go and have an affair – although I had resigned myself to the fact that he probably was. He’d go out with his friends for nights out and I hoped he was having sex so he didn’t want it from me. I was glad when he went out because I gave myself the sexual pleasure that I’d been barring him from giving to me.
Our relationship went on like this for a while and when James got a new job which required him to work away, neither of us were particularly concerned that we’d now be in a long distance relationship.
During one of his first trips away, I decided I needed to raise my masturbation game. With the choice of vibrators and dildos and random things I had no idea about on the market, I didn’t really know which sex toy was right for me, so I pretty much closed my eyes and took a punt.
The box arrived and after the usual testing and giggling you’d expect from any toy novice, I finally used it as it was intended. To say it changed my world was an understatement!
But it wasn’t just the obvious physical effect it had on me; it also began to touch me in a way that I never expected. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the plastic penis between my legs had made me miss the real one I’d been denying. It made me realize that sex could be good. It made me remember that our sex life was good. And it made me question why I’d stopped wanting it in the first place.
When James came home during one of his weeks off, I had set the scene for a dirty weekend like never before. I had the candles, the chocolate sauce (I know, old school right!) and my vibrator took pride of place in my sexy set-up. On my way home from the airport, I could barely contain my excitement and I shuffled to keep my sexy lingerie covered up underneath my stereotypical trench. James was pleasantly surprised by my newly found upbeat-ness, although a little unnerved.
But five minutes from home, self-doubt set in. What if he’d already checked out of the relationship? What if he rejected me? Would he be offended that I’d bought a dildo rather than excited?
We walked in the door and I had to tell him (read: warn him!) about my new friend. My rambling explanation started with an ‘um’ and an ‘ah’ and look towards the floor, followed by mumbled words about toys and how they’re sexual aids, not replacements. The confused look on James’ face subsided as he looked over my shoulder to see my set up.
In a typically rom-com move, he kissed me deeply mid-sentence and opened my coat, delighted yet surprised to see his hope was reality. I’ll spare you the details but it’s safe to say that he enjoyed using my new toy as much as I had.
“See, I knew you were fun,” he said as we finally recovered from the throes of the most intense sex of my life.
And that one little toy was the key to getting our groove back. Inviting in a little friend into the bedroom upped the ante on our stagnant sex life. It made us become more open to experimenting. We had more time for exploring each other’s bodies.
The next time James left for work, an unfamiliar pain struck my heart and the grief I felt at him leaving both made me happy that we were back on track and sad that we’d been so distant for so long.
But James wasn’t prepared to wait until his next week off for us to be intimate again. A week later a parcel came with a (much bigger) companion for my little friend. I texted him letting him know I’d received his package and in an unexpected and completely out of character move, he told me I had to wait for that night for his ‘instructions’. He had bought a new toy for me, and invested in a unique toy from a range of toys he could play with, too.
The months went by and our sex life reach new heights, although we had gotten ourselves into a new routine – James would go back to work and I’d receive a new toy or outfit or something else I’d never seen before, and I’d wait for his instruction. We even found long distance sex toys which meant I didn’t have to do anything myself – James could control it from afar!
But it was more than that. We were having great sex, that was for sure, but we were more connected emotionally. Our interactions were becoming more meaningful, and instead of just going through the motions, we were actually communicating on a level which made us both realize what we’d been missing.
Around six months into our new-style long distance relationships, James returned home and, once again, I anticipated a week of sexual fantasies IRL. But this time was different. James kissed me at the airport in a way I’d not felt since our first months of dating. It was passionate and sexy. And it was a theme which continued throughout the week. That week, we didn’t use our ‘aids’. I didn’t dress in my nurse’s uniform. We didn’t use any fancy lubes. We just appreciated one another for who we were. And it was phenomenal.
Our relationship has gone from strength to strength since. Long distance gave us the opportunity to miss each other. Sexual experimentation showed us what we’d been missing out on. The sex toy industry made it easy to for us not to miss out!