Every morning we wake up beside each other then we snuggle into each other’s arms. Years ago you wrote about starting each day with a cuddle and we have come to love doing that. We also often fall asleep spooning into each other. The trouble is we now hardly ever have sex together and I miss it. We’ve been together for eight years; is bed death inevitable? I know you will say we should talk about this, but it’s so hard to talk about sex! I don’t want to start an argument; I don’t want to be critical at all. We’re best friends and I want us to stay that way. Everything else goes well: we run a business together, we have good friendships with other lesbian couples, we take turns with cooking, we share housework. How come we can manage everything else and not sex? Couples of all gender combinations can find their frequency of sex drops a bit over time, but it doesn’t have to. Continue to cherish the pieces of connection you have going well while recognising that maintaining and deepening a sexual connection has some unique requirements which it’s now time to address.
You two sound jointly immersed in many life tasks, what do you do on your own? Make sure you each have one individual activity that you can enjoy so you regularly bring fresh energy back into the relationship. And, as a couple, do you ever date in the midst of all this busyness? Just the two of you, for your own pleasure? Once a week, make space to go to a movie, out for a meal or picnic, a bike ride together or whatever. Make sure there is relationship time several nights a week – no work discussions, no devices on, all to-do tasks done or shelved for the next day. Are you both fit and healthy? Keeping the blood pumping through exercise is helpful for keeping sex alive as long as all your energy isn’t going into training for a marathon. If it feels impossible to talk about sex then try sexting as a form of initiation.
Tell her exactly what you want to do to or with her that night or the next morning. Keep it positive, there’s no benefit in criticising or blaming. These are the basics, if they’re not enough, get back to me and we’ll address phase two. I enjoy equal rights, says so it’s now my obligation to speak up for other minority groups. It would be easy for me not to care about others.
My actual ethnic makeup aside, I have a white appearance. I had a middle-class upbringing that gave me every opportunity. My parents are together, I have post-graduate qualifications and I’m a homeowner.
With LGBT+ rights largely equal in New Zealand now, I am, in 2017, an extremely privileged gay man.
It hasn’t always been this way for people like me, which is why I can’t be complacent.
When we think about some of the current injustices in the world: women’s societal position, transgender rights, the status of racial minorities, the refugee crisis, Trump... it’s not always apparent that they are all connected. They can seem like singular issues that have nothing to do with somebody like me.
But they do. I’m a privileged white male, and it’s people just like me who prevent us all from moving past those inequities. We remain the gatekeepers.
I watched the mini-series When We Rise, which explored four decades of gay liberation and screened in New Zealand earlier this year, and was particularly taken with its core message: “One struggle. One fight.”
That is, whenever one minority group gains the rights once denied to them, it’s their duty to fight for equality for others still struggling.
I enjoy equal rights (though there is still work to be done in the LGBT+ community and advances are easily rolled back) but think I’m now obligated to speak up for other minorities.
Not least because, despite my sexuality, I am part of the powerful majority. I’m one of the privileged white males able to actually make things better for those without such incumbent privilege.
In practice, what does this mean? First and foremost, it’s about supporting non-white and gender diverse people into public-facing roles of power. These people represent their respective communities and need to be heard. We need to give them a leg up to take part in political and cultural conversations and be role models for the youngsters following in their footsteps.
On a pragmatic level, it also means writing letters to politicians to get new migrants into New Zealand, and welcoming them into our society so they can contribute. It means shutting down all racist and sexist comments, submitting to select committees, and being a vocal critic of anti-Muslim rhetoric; able to realise that the actions of a few doesn’t represent the mindset of 1.8 billion.
All of these things are my struggle, my fight. It doesn’t matter that I’m not directly affected by them; that my own life may not change. Every marginalised group, once given better social standing, must carry the torch for the next marginalised group. That’s the only way progress is achieved: if we all keep fighting.
And that struggle will never be over. There will never be true equality; humanity seems to need “the other” to rail against. Privilege is an enduring battle, but the war is only lost when any of us stop trying.