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Where Did The Sex Go In My Long-Term Relationship?

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Photographed by Rory DCS
“We haven’t had sex in three weeks,” my boyfriend blurts out. I ignore him (as per) and continue battling with a very complicated Sunday roast (chicken Kiev from Tesco.) "What on earth are you talking about." I spit back. I mull for a second, scolding myself on whatever that revolting juice is that comes out of packaged meat. I run through our sexual encounters quickly in my head. There was that time last week when he had a hard on... or when we nearly did it the other night. And we definitely had something similar to sex in December, until I got a DM on Instagram. Also, the other night – when I stopped mid-way through sex to re-configure and began to marvel at my new £150-a-set White Company sheets. They are frightfully nice, and mother is awfully proud, but, I mean, come on...

Being in a long term relationship has done the complete opposite of what I thought it would. I’ve been with my builder-come-artist boyfriend for nearly three years and it hasn’t made me feel secure and settled in the slightest. False advertising, really. The relationship has made me as anxious as a 1950's housewife with a shortage of bicarbonate of soda. I’ve digressed. I care more about what goes in the washing machine than what comes on the sheets.

In shorter relationships I would cry myself to sleep if my boyfriend or fling rolled over and didn’t initiate sex, and laugh at the absurd idea that people in relationships don’t have as much sex. I mean, what do you do at night when you’re not having sex? I’ll tell you what we do: Hand wash everything because we just can, get into box sets and watch fictional people having sex, which is exhausting enough (watch the Affair on Netflix then you’ll get it.) We pretend to cook and begin to consider M&S fabulous for its meal-for-two cellophane dinners. And with all this on my plate, frankly, I forgot about sex.

It’s daunting when the kicks you used to get from attempting anal with your partner in the hallway while you're hosting a Nando’s dinner party now comes from a different kind of analytics altogether. The Google kind... of your website. What used to excite me sexually is no longer a priority. The suggestion by some to "spice up" my sex life makes me wince in horror and do a sicky burp. The only spice we have is the chilli, not garlic, kind on a kebab when we leave parties separately (always).

I could even tell you before we have sex how long it will last, how many orgasms I will have and how many positions we will try.

I actually forget he is my boyfriend most of the time; nothing he does is particularly new to me. Gosh, I could even tell you before we have sex how long it will last, how many orgasms I will have (probably one, two on a weekend if I’m feeling thin) and how many positions we will try (again, one, maybe two on a weekend if I feel thin.)

So, what to do? Desperate, I took (semi) drastic measures a month ago. I decided to banish my newly found prudishness that came as a meal deal with the "long-term" bit of the relationship and agreed with myself to flirt with and be more promiscuous with whatever I could get my hands on.

When the lovely Turkish man at my local shop said the packet of cheesy Doritos was on the house, I asked for his number. Cocky. When a plump silver fox in a high viz jacket eating an egg and cress sandwich on the tube offered me his seat, I asked (jokingly) if I could sit on his lap. He said yes, I got off at the next stop. Yes my attempts were slightly below the wrong kind of belt, but none the less, attempts they were.

I was so desperate to feel wanted or feel that someone other than my obedient dog – I mean boyfriend – actually fancied me I even started coming onto two "heterosexual" boys in our art department at work. Hideous!

I signed up to Tindr using my alias, "Daisy Clover", with a Babestation-style Google image to accompany. I began talking to someone called ‘Mike69’. I flirted using some old lines I’d picked up on MSN Messenger in 2007, if there was a "PING" button I would have had it on lockdown. But when he dropped into a conversation that he had three BMWs, I stopped him there and told him, "Babes, I don't know the difference between a BMW and an STD."

Meanwhile, with my new double life jump starting, my sex life was finally revving up. I mean, we weren’t quite visiting the dungeons of 33 Portland place for Sex Kitten Parties but at least I was fucking more. And all the while Daisy Clover’s acquaintances were doing what my boyfriend used to do at the start of our relationship: Give me undivided, unsolicited and a bit undeserved attention.

Moving on, I started playing the games with my boyfriend that I had arrogantly bypassed at the start of our courtship (our courtship was repeatedly being the last ones standing at our local pub.) He played ball and imitated me. We’d have a furious argument – which I’m a sucker for – and obviously then have sex, quite decent sex. It was so simple. In fact, I don’t know why people waste time playing games at the beginning of a relationship when hot-sex-until-you're-limping-to-the-doctor is a given, and save the Cold War-like mind games until they are really needed. Three years in, plus.

It may have been unethical talking to other men, I may have been emotionally cheating and God forbid if he found out it would be the end of us. But at least there is some fuel being chucked on this fire.


This article was first published on January 31st 2016
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