Now… or later?

On the phone last night with a friend, we got to chatting about his 5 month relationship which had recently ended. After discussing the failings of the thing, he assured me that he was feeling good because they’d not actually ‘you know, done the deed’

5 months. No sex.

I was speechless (a true rarity). At 40, who on earth is saving it? And what would you be saving it for? He has a child so he sure didn’t save it before. I asked and he said it was more what he was saving it ‘from’.

‘I like to protect my junk’

Yes. And that’s what condoms are for. But apparently not for this guy. He explained that he wanted to have a relationship before ‘making it complicated’ with sex. Sex? Complicated? I am clearly doing it wrong.
While I admire his self control and his desire to have “intimacy” be reserved for those with whom he was, actually, intimate, I couldn’t help wonder about his poor girlfriend. After 40, anything goes and to find yourself with the one person in Denver for whom nothing is going..well. I hope he was paying for dinner. 5 months…I hope he was paying for dinner and AA batteries.

Getting off the phone , it did make me pause and wonder whether he might have a point. Is there something to be said for taking things slow, getting to know someone and actually developing a connection based on friendship, caring and affection before jumping onto each other?

(Single people, stop laughing)

Are we basing our connections too much on chemistry? The argument goes that there are only so many hours in the day you can have sex, and so the other 23 hrs are infinitely more critical than the one spent sweating on the kitchen floor. Maybe my friend is right.. getting the other stuff working is way more important than sex?

‘Marry your best friend’
‘It should feel easy’
‘I just like hanging out with him – doing anything’
‘Sex isn’t really that important’

I hear this all the time, and said those things myself during my brief marriage. But here’s the rub. I married my buddy. And my buddy didn’t want to sleep with me. We had no chemistry. And so we’re not married anymore. I had my 23 hours of buddy time .. but that last hour, that one where you crave each other and want to disappear into each other’s skin? Without that hour there was nothing. There was no intimacy. So sex does count for something and with the ex.. the lack of it became everything. These days I need to know whether its there and waiting 5 months to find out just seems… needlessly punishing.

Are my married friends forgetting how their relationships started or are they just discrete about the dungeon in the basement? Does the addition of kids and mortgages and aging parents just push that stuff to the ‘optional’ pile? Is sex important? Is it not? Dan Savage says without it, any relationship is doomed. That sex can maintain that bond, even when you can’t stand the sight of each other. My married female friends say its not. My male married friends just get that ‘deer in the headlights’ look when I ask, and the only ones who are talking are those recently divorced, new swinging singles. Who seem united in their desire for the sex they didn’t have while married, now that they’re single again.

The only thing I’m clear about is that no-one in a successful relationship is talking. And while my friend spent 5 months with aching groins, he didn’t find a buddy or a life partner anyway. I say do what feels right.

And keep a good stash of AAs handy in case you run into my friend.

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