Today at 11, I gave an interview to a person doing a book on women in long term relationships and desire. He didn't have a particular Lacanian view of desire. Desire was all about sexual attraction. Still it was interesting to be on the other end of an interview of this sort. We covered a lot of ground, and I was quite open with him. At the end of the interview, he said "Wow, you seem to have a great sexual realationship with your husband. If someone asked you to give them advice what would you say?" This is a question I've been rolling around for awhile. A friend joked that H and I should write a book about keeping marriage alive in the age of cyncism, and several others have made comments about how we do it. It seems that we have sex a great deal more than many of our friends--both married and unmarried.
But in all honestly I don't know. Whenever I try to answer this questions I feel like I hit deadends. It's not as if I'm not good with words, I think I am, but rather that there are some many elements, so many threads that overlap, that it is difficult to pinpoint some kind of formula. So here's what I do know:
1. H and I are friends. We talk about everything together. There is nothing that I don't feel comfortable sharing with him including some rather uncomfortable feelings, attractions, etc. H has listened when I told him about things that must have hurt him but he heard me until the end. He was open and receptive. He never censored me. And I like to think I've done the same for him. This openness defintely affects our sex life. We talk to each other about pleasures, fantasies, and experimentation.
2. We are still physically attracted to each other. How could you not love a man who has thought you were utterly hot through three pregnancies and years of breastfeeding? And there is no denying the intense phyiscal pull I feel for H. I still catch my breath sometimes when I see him from afar. We hooked up, really based on phyiscal attraction, and while we stuck together for other reasons that attraction has always been there.
3. We're open about being attracted to other people. We've never tried to pretend that we don't feel attraction to others. It's just that we both trust each other enough to know that one doesn't have to act on the attraction. That was a tough one for me. I always felt like my "desire" was so out-of-control that I had to act on it if I admited it. I'm learning that sometimes that attraction to other people can fuel the attraction I feel for H. And I'm not so insecure that I feel like H will act out on his own attractions.
4. We don't give to each other with the expectation that something will be given back. We give to each other because we love one another, and we want to demonstrate that love.
I don't know the way these things blend to keep us having an active sexual life (some would say over-active but bah to them). But they do. They make us not just a stronger couple but stronger friends, stronger lovers, stronger parents. When these things harmonize for us, it's all about the pleasure. There's work involved in this maybe but it's a work that is always pleasurable.