Differences

Let me state the obvious. All those things couples work on in a relationship–communication, sex, learning to live with another person? They’re still there after you’re married. Getting to the husband-and-wife part doesn’t mean you’ve made it, you know each other, you understand each other, and now you get to live your happy married life. You’re still the same people working on the same things; it’s just that now you’re really committed to working on them.

We’re still working on sex. Each time we have a serious conversation about sex, I feel like we talk about all the same things and that actual progress is slow. I have to stop thinking that talking about something once will make it so, and there won’t ever need to be reminding or readjusting. And it’s not just B who needs reminding, but me, too. I have written in the past about how B feels like we only have sex when I want to but not when he wants to, like I’m dictating when and he just has to go with it. I heard him and understood when he told me this, but things didn’t really change. I don’t know how to make myself be in the mood and have sex when I don’t want to, so if B has a libido twice as active as mine, he’s only getting sex half as much as he’d like. Sometimes when I offer, B says he’s too tired, and I get the feeling that he says no because he wants to be the one to say no sometimes, to have a feeling of control.

The last time this occurred, I lay next to him and we talked about it. He felt like I was making the statement ‘I’m ready now, and this is the only chance you’ll get’ like he has to perform on command. It’s true that I have the impression that he’s ready all the time so when I’m finally ready too, he’ll be happy to participate. He feels confused because he knows I like being freshly showered before sex, but I don’t want sex every time I get out of the shower so he never knows when. I’d never thought of that being confusing.

I learned that our communication styles about sex are significantly different. B likes to just let things happen. Maybe making out turns into sex and maybe it doesn’t. He likes nonverbal communication. And I’m pretty much the opposite. I don’t need to schedule sex outright. But if I’d like us to both be clean, awake, and in the mood, that takes some verbal communicating. And I think that’s where we’re confused by each other. He starts kissing me in bed, and immediately my mind goes to ‘Are we just making out, or does he want sex? When was the last time he showered? And I need to get the lube,’ etc. etc. I don’t just let things happen because sex isn’t like that for me. Sex isn’t spontaneous. I like to say it straight out and then we’re both clear on each other’s hopes or intentions: I’d like to have sex with you. I find that both secure and sexy. He feels like I’m telling him to have sex now. This discussion was eye-opening. I’m not quite sure what to do with the information, except work on my nonverbal communication skills and try to be more comfortable going with the flow.

After learning about each other’s communication differences, we talked again about our actual sex life. Sometimes I feel rushed to be aroused and ready because B is already ready. (He’s so damned responsive. We use the microwave/oven metaphor. He heats up like a microwave. I’m the oven.) He said, but I always wait for you to let me know when you’re ready. And I admitted, I know, but I still feel rushed sometimes. We’ve been having trouble with B getting me to orgasm, or nearly there, with his hands. So I have to get myself aroused with my own hand while he waits around kisses me and stuff. And then we manage penetration and I continue stimulating myself while B reaches orgasm. I’m making that sound clinical and sad, but it’s not. I do enjoy it. I do want to figure out other ways. We talked again about extending our foreplay time. I don’t actually like the term foreplay because it sounds like it’s just the cursory moments before the real event. I want us to keep exploring and discovering new ways of giving each other pleasure. Penis-in-vagina sex doesn’t have to be the goal every time. I’d like us to get more comfortable with oral sex, for example. There’s just so much potential, and really, we’re still very new to this.

Then there’s the hygiene goal. I’ve spoken about hygiene with B several times over the past year: ever since my UTI, things have not been the same for my urethra. It still feels irritated regularly, and I can’t pinpoint anything specific, though peeing and sex seem to trigger it. I talk about bacteria and how important it is to have good hygiene around sex. I talk about how I do not associate my bottom with sexiness because I associate it with, you know, poop. Even if I’ve just showered, I’m not going to be turned on by B rubbing against my bottom. It just doesn’t turn me on. B seems to think I can learn to be turned on, that it’s just an issue of learning to accept that my bottom is sexy, and I keep trying to explain that turn ons are different for everyone, and that just isn’t one of mine. And finally I told him that since I associate the bum with bacteria, it’s actually a bit of a turn off when he rubs against me. But I know that he enjoys it, so I don’t mind it–as long as he realizes it’s not going to drive me wild. If he’s trying to get me ready for sex, that isn’t going to be the way to do it.

The anus, the vagina, and the urethra are very close together. Men have a much better anatomy for not spreading bacteria from one orifice to another. I have pretty good hygiene–all that wipe from front to back, pee after sex, wear cotton underwear stuff? I’ve always done that. And I think B doesn’t really get it. He thinks I’m making too much of a big deal about all this stuff. But here’s the thing, if his penis bumps into my bum on its way into my vagina–that’s enough to set all the flora off kilter. And I don’t want to get an infection again, not when I’m still dealing with the after effects of the first one. Associating infection and pain with sex is not a good thing, and can we please just both agree to have clean genitalia before we engage in sexy stuff?! I think we’ve finally agreed on that. No you don’t have to shower every day in case today’s the day I want to have sex with you. And yes, doing a quick wash with a wash cloth is not spontaneous. But I will feel more sexy and more inclined to do sexy things with your penis if it is clean. Simple hygiene as a base line is good. It was a good conversation. Finally progress?

Nope. Because right after all of this communication occurred, I started the never-ending period. As a recap, the first year after I got the nex.planon, I had seven consecutive months without a cycle, and I was pretty happy. Right at the first anniversary mark, the cycles came back and were really irregular and often. More like twice a month than once. Right at the second anniversary mark I started another cycle. That didn’t stop. For 35 days. After a couple weeks I was like, okay, we should just have sex anyway. We’ve done it before and it wasn’t too messy. Then it got heavier, and I thought, ugh, never mind. But finally, finally, it stopped. And we had sex. And it wasn’t great. Because it had been so long. I was a bit sad but not surprised, even though I did use my toy to keep things stretched out and even though my body felt like it actually wanted sex. All those things we talked about need to be revisited so they can actually be applied.

I have one more year to go on this birth control and I am really, really ready to get it removed early. Now. We have seriously discussed B getting a vasectomy. He’s open to it, but it’s an incredibly big decision to make for someone who just turned 30. Even though we don’t want kids. And even though we would adopt if we did. It’s still a big decision. I was ready to schedule the appointment for him. I want the vasectomy and my birth control to overlap while the procedure takes effect so there’s absolutely no possibility of a mishap. So he has several months. But I dread what happens next with my cycle. I dread also finding out what my body does on its own again. And I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high that my libido will blossom without manufactured hormones. What if our sex drives actually match up when I’m not on birth control? But what if it’s not affected by the birth control at all and this is just how I am?

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