I can honestly say that there was a point in my life when I wasn't so sure I did. I was a good girl. I waited to have sex until I was married. I went into it completely blind. I had the basic mechanics figured out in my brain, but absolutely no nuance or idea about how my own body worked. My first time was awful. It hurt. I was scared. And when I asked for a break the next morning, I was guilted into giving in and having sex again. And it hurt. Again. And I was scared. Again. That set the pattern for my married sex life. He asked. I looked for excuses to avoid it. He guilted me. I gave in.
Thankfully, I finally discovered orgasms, and I learned to enjoy sex once I was guilted into it. But I can honestly say that there was only a brief period in my married sex life where I actually craved sex. And you guessed it, that was the period in which he wasn't that interested. And while we're at it, he also happened to most enjoy the sex positions that hurt me the most. Had I craved sex before I was married? Yep. You betcha. But it's funny what fear and guilt can do to a sex drive.
So when I left my ex, I really didn't expect sex to be something I'd want. I was petrified to have sex again. I was afraid of it being another control battle. Of not being able to say no without lots of pouting and accusations.
I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out, I did still have a sex drive. But what to do with it? I sure as hell wasn't going back to my ex. The thought of having sex with him still weirds me out (even though I admittedly still care for him in other ways). So for awhile, I just took matters into my own hands. And while we know this works, it's hardly ideal. But I also wasn't willing to go out and sleep with whoever. I had had such a bad experience with sex the first time around that I figured it was probably a bad idea to find some dude off the street and fuck him. Who knows what kind of psycho I might have ended up in bed with?
Fast forward to my current sexual partner (who wants to remain anonymous on the internets, so no names). Because of his wish for anonymity, I'm going to try to explain this situation without giving details about how/where we met. Suffice it to say we met in a safe social situation. I wasn't really looking for anyone at the time. So to hear him tell it, he had to work hard to get my attention. But he eventually succeeded. We started talking a lot, going out for lunch, watching movies together. And yet, I was still scared. I wanted sex, but not badly enough to have another bad experience. And I certainly didn't want to get into another committed relationship.
Did I mention we talked a lot? We did. And over the course of a few months, we talked about sex, relationships, relationships gone bad (turns out we'd both had one) and what we wanted from each other. It turns out neither of us wanted to settle down. In fact, both of us are fiercely terrified of it. He doesn't want to be in Idaho Falls forever, and I just don't want to feel tied down and owned like I did in my marriage. So we reached an agreement. No expectations. Every day we spent together would be a mutual choice. If the other one needed a break for any reason, we would know that it wasn't a comment on our adequacy. We would not involve my children.
And even still, jaded me wasn't quite ready to have sex. Even though my body was. Finally, slowly, I began to trust this guy. I knew he wasn't a permanent fixture, but I knew that for the time being, he was a sincere fixture. He wasn't going to be dishonest with me. He wasn't going to pressure me (cause he still hadn't up to this point). We were getting physical, but he was reading my signals and backing off when I wanted him to. Finally, I gave the go ahead. But not until I was ready. And you know what? It turns out that some guys will stop when you tell them to. But that's only happened a couple times ;-) Because guess what, I haven't wanted to stop. I actually enjoy sex even before I start now. I want it now. It's fun now.
So now that you know more about me than you EVER WANTED TO, let me get to my point. Marriage isn't the only way to express our sexuality. In some cases, it's not even the ideal way. Not all of us fit into the category of people who want nothing more out of life than to get married and settle down. Some of us value our independence. Some of us don't feel that a marriage certificate changes our decades long commitment. Some of us aren't interested in decades long commitments but are interested in enjoying partners for the moment and then moving on when one or the other partner's needs change, some of us may be okay with open relationships, and some of us may have different ideas about how our relationships will work. But as long as those ideas are fleshed out openly, honestly and entered into consensually, they're all viable.
And lastly, let me say this. I'm not expecting for this current relationship to end painlessly. I'm not in love with this guy. But I do care about him. He has become a very good friend. And when he goes, I'll be sad. But I know from experience now that I'll move on. That there will be other good guys and maybe eventually a good guy that I'll decide is worth keeping. In the mean time, I know now what I should be able to expect from a sexual relationship. Indeed, from a relationship period--respect and honesty.