by Vianca Masucci
This month I have been tasked with answering the age-old question: how do you maintain a fulfilling sex life in a long-term monogamous relationship? The answer to this question has eluded (sexually) frustrated askers since the first unfortunate soul pieced it into conception. A quick google search will connect you to multiple vendors who can offer you the solution to lifelong sexual fulfilment for just $19.95. What a fucking bargain! Unfortunately, warming massage oils do little in the way of sexual satisfaction but plenty in the way of yeast infections. Other sex columnists will suggest that you ‘spice’ things up in the bedroom as though the dish of deep intimacy and close attachment is bland, vanilla, tasteless. But, it is not the dish of monogamy that becomes bland; it is the cravings of the consumer that change.
In fact, as humans, we crave the different spices that make up monogamy: stability, consistent companionship, emotional balance. Committed relationships provide the fix. But with stability and routine comes the loss of fantasy, spontaneity and novelty—the holy trinity of passion and desire. When those things begin to dry up, our cravings for them intensify. Herein lies the dilemma: the environment that nurtures love poisons passion yet we expect, demand even, that they cohabitate.
I don’t think that it is unrealistic, though, for monogamists to want to have their hair pie and eat it too. Keeping sex alive in a long-term monogamous relationship is a matter of discovering an algorithm for cultivating dynamism between your partner and yourself. This algorithm varies by relationship but these tips below can help you start creating one:
Create a Separate Erotic Ecosystem:
In long-term monogamous relationships, all the compartments of your life begin to blend. Your partner becomes your best friend, your co-worker, your roommate, your support system, sometimes your parent and, lastly, your lover. But there’s nothing sexy about hounding your partner to renew their prescriptions. (That’s right, Pat; I put it in the column. Will you finally call the doctor now?) For this reason, it is imperative to foster an erotic safe space in your bedroom where the unsexy elements of everyday life are not invited, where your partner only fulfills the role of the lover. Create strict guidelines for freeing your erotic imagination and separating yourself and your partner from all the utilitarian roles that you play within the relationship.
Make Eroticism Part of Your Daily Routine:
Inspire your partner to take on the role of lover periodically throughout the day and cast yourself in that role. Do this by flavoring your daily interactions with intimacy. For example, you could send completely NSFW texts to your partner when they’re in work meetings, make sexy bets on mundane things or tease bae by starting their car but not driving it. Most importantly, be generous with affectionate touch. This will help you create a physical language with your partner that will mediate sexual communication. Plus, studies suggest that there are many psychosocial benefits of intimate touch such as confidence building and stress relief. Frequent touch will positively contribute to having more sex. Think of it as a never-ending game of foreplay.
Jointly Pursue Passionate Interests:
Passion is something that extends beyond making the beast with two backs. It is all-consuming. In pursuing passion, therefore, it is wise to share some non-sexual passionate interests with your partner. This will offer dynamic situations that allow you and your partner to share sensations of passion—the blood boiling, heart-pounding, positive anxiety—that can carry over to sexy times. Moreover, these experiences will help you gain new and enticing perspectives on your partner. Nothing is sexier than seeing the person you love in their element.
Be the Expert on Your Partner’s Sexual Preferences
Make sure that you know how to satisfy your partner and that you consciously incorporate their fantasies into your sexual play. This requires constant study, as sexuality is ever-evolving. Satisfying sex encourages more sex. After all, no one wants to take frequent trips to the Land of Make-Believe-I-Came but Eat-That-Busch Gardens is always poppin’.
Maintain a Sexual Self
Somewhere along the line people got this crazy idea that being in a monogamous relationship meant sticking the responsibility for individual sexual satisfaction on your partner. That notion is as false as Rachel Dolezal’s ‘natural’ curls. The foundation of any satisfying sexual relationship is a strong understanding of the sexual self. Never consider yourself sexual solely in relation to your partner. It is important to develop your sexuality individually by continuing to explore the ways that you feel sexual, understanding the circumstances that turn you on, and contributing to up keep of your own sex drive. Explore your own sexual tendencies through masturbation or private consumption of erotica. Learn to manage stress so that it does not kill your sex drive and strain your health. Above all, it is vital that you work on developing and maintaining a positive headspace and body image. Not only is confidence a major turn-on, but its evil twin, insecurity, can make intimacy a source of distress that deters sexual interaction.
Build Autonomy Into Your Relationship:
Observation: once you live with bae, it is too easy to crawl up their ass and find a decently priced studio apartment to live in.
Solution: Spend time apart from your partner and have individual interests. Your relationship should be like the union of a Venn Diagram with each of you having your own circle. Not only does this relieve some of the small irritations and annoyances that are a natural byproduct of living together but it also gives you both the opportunity to miss and fantasize about each other. Distance helps maintain some of the mystery and fantasy in relationships that feed desire.
The most important thing to remember is this: life is not a #relationshipgoals meme. In real LTRs, desire is not always a given; it is the result of thoughtful effort. But, it is worth every drop of it.
Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Vianca Masucci is a health advocate working to eliminate health disparities in underserved populations. Her voice is influenced by her experiences navigating this world as a queer, Afro-Latina with a thousand-year-old soul and an insatiable appetite for social justice. Her Meyers-Briggs personality type is IDGAF.
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