Our play­ful ex­per­i­men­ta­tion has ended

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

When we met, my girl­friend was quite ad­ven­tur­ous in bed, which I re­ally en­joyed. Sex now is still per­fectly nice, but the play­ful ex­per­i­men­ta­tion has all but stopped. I’m wor­ried that she is bored in our re­la­tion­ship. >> No, I don’t think she is bored in your re­la­tion­ship. What you have de­scribed is quite a com­mon tra­jec­tory within a re­la­tion­ship, and is per­fectly healthy. No mat­ter how ad­ven­tur­ous you are in the early days, com­mit­ment and longterm re­la­tion­ships can­not sus­tain the level of ex­cite­ment (and time spent in the bed­room) that you started with. Sex in­evitably be­comes less ex­per­i­men­tal, and is likely to hap­pen less of­ten too.

When we first meet, and start to forge ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships, there is an ini­tial, ex­hil­a­rat­ing pe­riod in which we get to know each other, talk and de­bate all evening — and sex is an ac­tive part of this process. We stay up all night learn­ing about each other’s minds and each other’s bodies. We might play with toys, po­si­tions, and per­haps light S&M such as spank­ing, re­straints and blind­folds. It’s a jour­ney of mu­tual dis­cov­ery where we re­veal the parts of our­selves that we only show to the peo­ple we love and trust.

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, that high­oc­tane in­ten­sity is un­sus­tain­able long-term. At a cer­tain point the re­la­tion­ship be­gins to set­tle down and ce­ment. The dizzy lust that pro­pelled you through the first year or so has de­vel­oped into, and is re­placed by, a deeper in­ti­macy and a stronger emo­tional con­nec­tion. You be­come hap­pily fa­mil­iar with each other. Sex is part of this change. By now, you know each other’s style and se­quence, and what works and what doesn’t.

What that does mean — and what you are dis­cov­er­ing — is that fewer hours are spent in bed, as day-to-day life gets in the way. There is also, of course, a real joy to the close­ness — but every so of­ten you will in­evitably find your­self ro­man­ti­cis­ing about those long nights to­gether when get­ting to know each other was all that mat­tered in the world.

Although you are talk­ing about your girl­friend’s kink­i­ness in the past tense, there is no rea­son why it should re­main in the past. Where there is a will there is a way — so first of all, speak to her, and find out if she is feel­ing the same. If she is, and you both want to rein­tro­duce cer­tain el­e­ments, you need to make it a pri­or­ity.

The psy­chol­o­gist Arthur Aron ex­plains that the chal­lenge is to “avoid the ex­tremely strong lure of the fa­mil­iar”. Rou­tine makes life


of the prob­lems with sex in long-term re­la­tion­ships is that rou­tine tends to make it goal-ori­en­tated

eas­ier to ne­go­ti­ate, but it can also make it un­ad­ven­tur­ous. With­out even try­ing, you can trap your­selves in cy­cles of work, home, sup­per, TV, sleep — and even if you get on well and are deeply in love, if you don’t ac­tively do things to keep your re­la­tion­ship ex­cit­ing, it will grad­u­ally lose its magic.

One of the prob­lems with sex in long-term re­la­tion­ships is that rou­tine tends to make it goalo­ri­en­tated. The ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion is or­gasm and you know how to get there, prob­a­bly with some short cuts. The down­side is that in do­ing so, you by­pass sen­su­al­ity. Light S&M can be a more in­tense experience be­cause it is fo­cused specif­i­cally on plea­sure and sen­sa­tion. It also tends to take a lot longer, and for that rea­son alone it re­quires more plan­ning and bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Per­haps the nicest way to start that con­ver­sa­tion with your girl­friend would be to give her some new props. Coco de Mer is stock­ing an el­e­gant se­lec­tion of masks, re­straints and blind­folds. Have toys, will play, as they say.

Send your queries to suzigod­son@mac.com

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