– By Abby of Little Miss Perfect
The latest Huffington Post article that came up in my feed was called “This is How Often Married People Are Having Sex,” and I clicked on it, because I thought, This is obviously something I need to know. They finally did a poll on this shit? And found a way to control for all the responders who lie? Hot damn.
Sadly, the post turned out to be a list of responses from a Reddit thread. And how many couples were represented in this sample size? Sixteen. That’s right—out of the millions of married people that could have been surveyed, this article tells us what sixteen of them are doing in their bedrooms.
I feel deceived, like I was lured in with a misleading title and then presented an article of no substance. Not only is 16 out of several million not an adequate sample size, but it’s like the author hand-picked the responders to disprove the conventional wisdom that married sex is nonexistent sex: almost all of them said they have sex at least three times a week.
I have to be voice of reason here. My husband tells his horrified younger co-workers this all the time: marriage changes sex. Kids definitely change sex. Sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship. And no matter what you read or what people tell you, I promise you there are couples out there who are not having much of it. And they’re still happy. And they’re normal.
Throughout my entire pre-marriage existence, I worried that I wasn’t normal. I wasn’t having sex enough. The sex I was having wasn’t good enough. I was constantly analyzing my listless libido. (And I hated the mere word. As a teenager I kept getting “libido” mixed up with “impetigo,” so it still sounds to me like a skin condition: “Oh, libido. Betty had that. They gave her some cream for it.”) At one point I was so terrified of being abnormal that I bought The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex, in which sex therapist Barbara Keesling asserts that all women secretly want to have “bad girl sex,” and that any woman can—except, regrettably, a small number of women who just plain aren’t interested. These women—there aren’t many, keep in mind, but they do exist—she terms “librarians.” How somebody can get a Ph.D. in this bullshit mystifies me. Anyway, even though I scorned the book, I freaked out that I might be… I can barely say it… a “librarian.”
“What’s wrong with librarians?” asked my boyfriend at the time. “They’re hot.”
“Honey, they’re not real librarians,” I said, exasperated. “It’s a word she uses to describe women who never want to have sex. In other words, a very small number of abnormal women.”
“You’re normal,” he said. “There isn’t anything wrong with you.”
In tears, I called my mother. “I’m not normal!” I wailed. “I’m a librarian!”
“Whatever is normal for the two of you is normal,” she replied. “If you’re happy, then you’re fine.”
“No, I’m not! Because CharlotteYorkGoldenblattandHarry have sex THREE TIMES A WEEK, and I don’t! Therefore, I am not normal!”
“Charlotte, Mother! Charlotte from Sex and the City!”
“Abby,” my mother said pointedly, “that is a television show.”
“And a movie,” I pointed out. Charlotte’s sex life was the standard to which all young women aspired. Miranda had become uptight and sexless, Samantha’s stint with Smith had burned out, and Carrie was an emotional puddle of goo, but Charlotte and good old Harry Goldenblatt were still living in their posh apartment with their two adorable children and King Charles spaniels and having sex three times a week.
Sometimes it felt like too much pressure. Be sexier. Have more sex. Have sex with more people. Buy things that will make you sexier and have more sex with more people. The barrage of products alone was daunting—creams, gels, and lotions; feathered baubles; flavored and textured condoms; pheromones-in-a-bottle; sex positions cards and manuals; vibrating, rotating, multi-part devices that, disturbingly enough, always seem to be molded into the shapes of cute, unsuspecting animals. To keep a man, I was now supposed to cook, clean, look gorgeous, support myself financially, and pursue sexual satisfaction, and I didn’t have time for all those things. I sort of wanted to go back to the Victorian era, where all I’d have to do was lie on my back and think of England.
I took me until my thirties to realize that my mom’s truism is right: When it comes to sex, there is no normal. Whatever’s normal for you is normal. And I’ll know I’m normal as long as my libido continues to be reliably stimulated under the following three conditions:
1. You’re Chris Cornell.
2. I’m drunk. But only one-drink tipsy. Two drinks make me sleepy. After the third, I will regale you with obscure facts about Emily Dickinson, and if they were mixed drinks, I’ll probably be saying contextually inappropriate things in Italian like “Here is the ferry” or “There is an eggplant in your moustache.” There’s a sweet spot, and it’s between drinks one and two.
3. I’m ovulating. Ovulation in my twenties was barely noticeable, but ovulation now that I’m in my thirties is monstrous. For three to five days every month I’m afraid to leave the house, lest my enlarged libido assume Godzilla-like proportions, leading me to stamp through the mall with giant woman-feet, breaking up the roof and eating it as I searched for lithe, toned high school boys to grab by the handful. Whoops! That was an Abercrombie and Fitch mannequin. No! Bad Ovulating Woman! Put him back, please. Yes, put the mannequin back and then you can go to Haagen-Dazs.
Hmm. Enlarged Libido Stomps Through Local Mall, Abducts Store Mannequins. Now that’s how you do it, HuffPost. Watch and learn.
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Abby writes humor, satire, and cultural criticism. She is in disbelief that she has yet to receive any financial compensation for being so clever and hilarious. Follow her on Facebook, on Twitter, and at her blog, Little Miss Perfect.