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Sexual Playgrounds, Ennui and Taking Risks

I used to have a line that I would use, half-seriously, half in jest, with new lovers: The only things off-limits are children, animals and things that leave permanent scars. Meant to be a provocative statement, yes…but also with a large element of truth.

Sex can be amazing, earthshaking…or it can be mundane and boring. It can be something that you just get through as quickly as possible, or it can be as creative as performance art. It can be ritual, and it can be roleplay…but it’s never the same every time. And I have broken the above rule once or twice, actually (the part about permanent scars).

I suppose this subject arose because I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately: what goes into making a solid one, what tears them apart, and how sex affects that. It’s easy to get into a rut, in the day-to-day longterm existence of 9-to-5 jobs and mortgage payments. With one exception, most of the very intense experiences I’ve had have been while in more transitional relationships. How do you sustain that during a relationship that spans years?

I know that relationships ebb and flow; at times the sex is incredible, and during others it was more of a physical release/emotional comfort. That is natural. Things like dominance/submission and other types of roleplay help. Opening the relationship to someone else can also bring new, intense feelings. (Although that can be a minefield – I think triad relationships, for most people, are very difficult to sustain. I’ve found coupledom to be difficult – add another person to the mix, and it becomes SO much more complex.)

How do people do it? I’d seriously like to know. Are there couples out there that have been together successfully for a long time…ten years? Let’s say at least five. Do you still get that roiling feeling inside when you think about them? Is it still intense?

I’d really like to know that those types of relationships exist.

7 thoughts on “Sexual Playgrounds, Ennui and Taking Risks

  1. I know that I don’t have first-hand experience with a relationship lasting more than 5 years, but I hope you don’t mind my throwing my .02 in anyway.

    Even though Josh and I have chosen to make monogamy somewhat “optional” in our marriage, I don’t think that this decision is what will ultimately make it work for the long term. I think that what will make it work are the same things that make long-term monogamous marriages work.

    I would agree that sexual variety is a very good thing and can certainly help keep the spark alive, but there are a great many long-term marriages in which sex is virtually non-existent, for whatever reason, be it medical, psychological, what-have-you. Which indicates to me that perhaps it isn’t the most important factor in a happy long-term relationship.

    My concept of non-monogamy isn’t so much about having sex with other people, but about having the freedom to FEEL and EXPRESS – to be able to have deeply intimate relationships with others that may, or may not, include sexual expression of those feelings. I’m a person who falls in love easily and often… and feel suffocated when I’m not allowed to express what I feel in either word or action.

    I think I’ve wandered off the subject a bit – what I wanted to share with you was an online article I found which claims to show what makes a good marriage. I couldn’t find a single thing in it that didn’t make sense to me and felt that it might explain what I believe much better than I could.

    Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage

  2. Oh, one more thing not mentioned in the article that I think is really critical…

    Common Values

    If you don’t want the same things, hold the same things in high regard, etc., I don’t see how a relationship can work.

  3. I was hoping that you would respond to this – I know that you would have an interesting response. Besides, you are amazing, and very sensual, and I know that whatever the secret is, you and Josh somehow will have it.

    My questions wasn’t so much how to keep a marriage healthy and alive (that was a good article, btw – thank you!), but how to keep the excitement alive over a long period of time. It was just something that I was thinking about yesterday morning. Some relationships have been very good, and yet I’ve had a very longterm marriage where we ended the last few years living virtually as brother and sister, rather than as lovers. And we did try to keep it alive.

    Well, Phil just came upstairs and asked me to stop typing so loudly, so I supose I’ll go and get ready for work now. lol…

  4. It WAS loud – that Dell keyboard sounds like you’re nailing Christ to the cross…especially the space bar – when you can type and wake me on the floor below you know it’s loud…clatter, clatter, thud, clatter, clatter, THUD!!

    lol

  5. Awww… *blushing*. Thank you, Beautiful.

    Though it doesn’t sound like I answered the question you were really asking, I’m glad my response was at least interesting :P.

    So, as to your actual question, I think what you might be referring to is something they call NRE (New Relationship Energy) in poly circles.

    Definitions of NRE from a couple of sites:

    “New Relationship Energy, NRE. The surge of erotic and emotional energy in a relatively new relationship. Over time, relationships change to a more sustainable set of energies, or dissolve.”

    “That lovely euphoria you experience when you become involved with a new love; the world seems brighter, people seem more beautiful and chocolate tastes even better. ”

    “…NRE (new relationship energy)–that period of time where you can’t get enough of each other, when everything else pales in importance to the beloved… a nice period for sexual experimentation, where you can find the other person’s hot buttons, find out what turns them on… NRE establishes that heat, those memories.”

    (apologies for my laziness in not crediting sources here)

    NRE doesn’t last. At least that’s my belief. I think sexual attraction ebbs and flows, and mundane crap makes your forget what it was that first excited you about the other person. I think one has to recognize the fluidity as being natural. And when things start feeling stagnant, take the time to do special little things for each other – like Phil coloring your hair, or cooking a special meal for you. Those little things help you to remember what you once saw in the other person – that specialness that drew you to them in the first place.

    Because NRE fades, I think in order for a relationship to last years upon years, you have to have something to fall back on. There have to be common values, interests and goals to keep a couple together. Because no matter how much we want that passion to last, I don’t think it does, and if all one had is physical attraction and great sex to begin with – when that’s gone, what’s left to keep you together? Companionship. Friendship. Common Goals. Things of that nature.

    I think NRE is one of the great attractions of polyamory… the occasional influx of emotional intensity into your existing relationship. But for it to be a good thing, it also requires that both parties really grok compersion:

    “Compersion n : the feeling of taking joy in the joy that others you love share among themselves, especially taking joy in the knowledge that your beloveds are expressing t heir love for one another, personal enjoyment from seeing your partners enjoyment of others.

    i.e., I feel good when Josh gets all blushy and bubbly and silly over Susan.

    Does that make any sense?

    *wincing at the realization that I probably sound like a walking billboard for Polyamory*

  6. “That lovely euphoria you experience when you become involved with a new love; the world seems brighter, people seem more beautiful and chocolate tastes even better. ”

    *sigh* Yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about. So you (like me) are of the opinion that it fades. :( Yes, I understand that other, more important things take its place, but still…it is an awesome feeling.

    Walking billboard for polyamory? lol…perhaps. But you make a good case for it. I just don’t think that most people are mature enough to handle it. I know I’m not. I will definitely own up to having some maturity/confidence issues!!!

  7. You make some very good points, very eloquent…tho I’m not sure things actually fade.

    I’m trying to think of a way to explain…

    How about this – it’s like a bed of flowers – colourful, bright, luscious. But it snows – the snow can be the daily grind of bills, routine, over-familiarity.

    The flowers are still there, you just need to brush off the snow.

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