Grow Up Together
THE Relationship Blog
Let’s take a time out here and get really serious. We know that most of the people who read our site are in a relationship. We know that most of our readers are in committed, monogamous relationships. So we decided to write about a topic that is relevant to a long-term relationship. We don’t think about it and we assume it happens naturally. We assume that the transition between newlyweds and settled and old married couple is something that happens without anyone noticing. Well it doesn’t. A marriage evolves and, like Homo habilis who thought it a good idea to use a rock instead of his bare hands, sometimes newer is much better.
One of the issues we have as couples as we get out of our newlywed phase is sex. Sex, like everything else, evolves. If you look at sexual maturity, we understand that a male reaches his peak at the age of 17. Males tend to be more concerned with quantity versus quality of experiences. Ejaculation is the goal and nothing, even the satisfaction of his partner, will stop that. As they age, sexual maturity meets emotional maturity. Sex begins to mean something more than getting off. In a loving relationship, men begin to get that sex is a means of connecting with his partner. Their intensity and passion is only heightened.
One of the problems with men and sex in long term relationships is that they don’t really know what they are doing without instructions. Ladies, and I am speaking directly to you now, when we first become sexually active, our sexual maturity is clouded by our emotional instability. Can you honestly say that you were ‘together’ when you started having sex? Can you say that you had a good self esteem or even felt like a woman when you first had sex? Of course not! Women may mature earlier than boys in that we take on responsibility earlier than our male counterparts but true emotional maturity comes later than most of think.
Women and men reach true emotional maturity around the same age. While men are getting use to being men, without the paranoia that someone may call them out as a boy in a man’s body, women are becoming comfortable in their own power. In our 30s, both men and women reach a level of comfort within their skin that they had never experienced. Now, to be clear, some people never reach this due to physical, emotional or sexual trauma or developmental disability. But, even with some trauma, most of us muddle through and reach a level of esteem where we can assert ourselves.
This affects women in a very powerful way. All of a sudden, we find a different voice. We create different priorities. This is part of development. Erik Erikson talks of Intimacy vs. Isolation in early adulthood and Generativity vs. Stagnation in adulthood (30-50). When we reach the stage of generativity, it isn’t only having babies, it requires a certain shift from someone who is cared for to being caretaker. We become the Mama Bears. To become this fierce animal requires a deep emotional shift. One of the things we realize is that sex is great but not the ‘be all, end all’ of our relationship. Let’s do it! Our attitude about sex becomes cavalier and not unlike a male perspective of orgasm is king!
We know, it’s unfair that once you get your priorities straight, he gets all passionate and lovey. Sharing intimacy does not require penetration. This is where we need some very clear, open and direct communication. He does not need to take an hour to satisfy you anymore! Don’t worry honey, I got this. If I am interested in a day in bed where we just enjoy each other, I will tell you. However, on a Tuesday, where I have committed to making 50 cupcakes for the kids classes and I have a deadline tomorrow and the laundry is piling, I just want to get off. Quick and the nastier the better. Then we can cuddle. You like that, right?
The evolution of a marriage requires a deep commitment to the entity of the union. It’s like revising a business plan. Include your new priorities. Include your new feelings. Include your new desires. Growing old together involves growing up together. This is just another part of it.