God, was I a happy bunny at the end of my birthday week. Though Mirror Image and I didn’t quite spend all of it in bed (and she had a period for most of it, thanks, crappy biology!) we certainly took the opportunity of the privacy we had at home and a couple of nights in a hotel to have some sexy time.
What else is a 40th birthday for except lots of uninhibited sex and exploring each other a little bit more, right? Working around her period, we had penetrative sex twice and non-penetrative “sex acts” (as Jeremy Kyle would unerotically call them) on three occasions, including an evening snuggled up in a bubbly hotel bath with a bottle of wine. That worked out far better than we thought it would in such a small tub, but while there’s a will, there’s a way!
*Ahem* fond memories, either way.
Not one to discussing the sordid details of my rather vanilla but no less enjoyable sex life, I had a startling revelation after she left. Though I cannot actually make a count to compare, I believe now that Mirror Image and I have had more sex in the 15 months since we’ve been together than I had in 12 years or so with my ex-wife. Well, it would be 7 years because as you recall we were together over 5 years before we actually had sex.
It’s made me realise too, the pressures that we men put on ourselves and each other about our sex lives. We are supposed to be always ready and always wanting sex with very little right to refuse in real terms. Testosterone drives us in ways that women cannot really imagine or ever understand, and some do not want to understand which in itself fuels misconceptions about male sexuality. It also means the imperative for a man to be as sexually active as possible is as biological as it is social.
A lack of sex, feeling left out and being made to feel less of a man can critically affect a man’s mental health. This is further exacerbated when we continually present male sexuality as something negative, something predatory and dangerous, and ultimately selfish. If we’re having lots of sex, the assumptions is we use women purely for sex and cast them aside when we have got what we want. If we’re not having sex, our masculinity and sexuality is challenged: we’re not “A Real Man(TM)”.
Though my ex-wife never made me feel like I was a selfish lover, I was made to feel like I simply wasn’t good enough in bed. I admit at the beginning it affected my sex life with Mirror Image and probably more than I realised at the time. Sometimes out of anxiety I would struggle to get or maintain an erection and only wind myself up even more about it. It wasn’t a huge problem and 75% of the time we’d have no problems.
Between my relationships, I felt inadequate to the point that no woman would ever want me purely because of my lack of experience and how useless I had felt sexually at the end of my marriage. This is the critical double-bind for men: if we’re having lots of sex, we’re a Love Rat of whom a woman should steer clear. If we haven’t had lots of sex, well, which women would want to sleep with a man with such little experience? I don’t want to teach you! What’s wrong with you?!
For a long while, I genuinely felt that it was too late for me to ever have a good enjoyable sex life. I can see much clearer now and I finally feel free of the sexual problems resulting from my marriage – and that is another big step forward.