Sex ad­vice

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - PERSPECTIVES -

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.

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