I am a worrier. I always have been. Every possible horrible thing that could happen to you, I’ve thought of it. I don’t troubleshoot, I just worry. I had grey hair long before I had children.
Anyway, I was thinking the other day about what I would do if something happened to my husband. If he died, for whatever reason. I immediately thought that I would never want to get married again and possibly even avoid another committed relationship. As soon as this thought crossed my mind I took a step back and thought ‘wow, that’s a bit extreme’. But as I really broke it down, I don’t know if I could have another emotional relationship like I have with him. We are each other’s best friend. He and I have cried tears of sadness when our dog died and tears of joy when our sons were born. I’m not sure I could be that open with anyone again.
But, the nymphomaniac in me did stop to consider my sexual needs. And that part of me was a tad bit pissed off that it wasn’t the first thing to come to mind. But it wasn’t. And that got me thinking about emotional vs. sexual aspects of committed relationships. Sex is so integral in a committed relationship, but it’s often the most abused. Look at the divorce rate, look the number of people trying ‘open relationships’ to avoid the issues arising around adultery. And our culture puts so much emphasis on it. We have the bachelor/bachelorette parties before weddings, the ‘seven year itch’, and the constant focus on ‘spicing up your marriage bed’. Our society is determined that your married sex life must be lacking and in need of added flare to avoid cheating.
Sir believes that this is because our pre-societal ancestors were in polygamous relationships. Whether due to gender imbalance or cultural standard, he is correct. But does that really have that much affect on our interactions today? Is the divorce rate high because that many more people are unhappy in their choice of spouse or is it just more accepted now. Would more people have gotten divorced 100 years ago if it was as easy and culturally normal? I don’t believe so, but that’s just me.
Our generational gaps have placed an emphasis on different values than they used to. The clearest example is television. Programs in post-World War II America showed couples sleeping in separate beds, with limited, if any, conversation about their sexual relationship (ie. I Love Lucy). Now look at Friends, How I Met Your Mother, or Grey’s Anatomy. These shows depict sexual encounters without emotional relationships, divorce, and pillow talk. I’m not a prude, I’ve watched all these shows; my point is simply that the landscape has changed. Society is much more open about our sexual encounters and fantasies. We are also looking for more in a sexual relationship. Sexual compatibility is no longer as simple as procreation. As one who is still trying to find her place in the BDSM world, there are a million and one ways to feel sexually satisfied. And, if your partner or spouse can’t give it to you, there is someone out there who can.
Does that make us too comfortable with sex? To clarify, have individuals made their committed relationships too much about sex? I understand that for most, getting married means faithful behavior in the bedroom. Is that all it means anymore? My thought when I considered the loss of my husband was that I would never feel comfortable really crying in front of someone else. The idea of someone else seeing me naked was much further down the line. I will admit, I did think it, but loosing my partner in life was about so much more than our sexual relationship. In media it seems that that is not the case. Television and film has sex as the central issue in the start of a relationship; so much so that I think it has had irreparable effects on societal norms.
Maybe I am way off base. Maybe everyone slept around in the 1950s as well, they just didn’t talk about it. And because no one talked about it, no one got divorced because of it. Everyone had Jackie O’s dignified stance of plausible deniability.
In short, I plan to pass before Sir so he can find himself another good slave and I won’t have to worry about it.