Sunday, February 15, 2009

is life without sex normal?

I read an advice column in the paper today. It suggested that there is a common dynamic between couples: he wants more; she wants less; he nags; she's put off and wants less again; he nags more; etc. 

So a simple imbalance in libido, it seems, quickly and commonly leads to a viciously accelerating cycle of increasing imbalances. The more he's upset about how little he's getting, the more she feels unromantic, so the less he gets, so the more upset he gets. 

And the nice thing about reading this is that it normalises -- to a degree -- what's happened between Sue and me. 

There are other factors, of course. The kids. The chronic exhaustion. The lack of the stimulation, structure, familiarity and, perhaps above all, the sense of control that comes from work. Or at least came from Sue's work for her. 

A lot of these things seem to be resolving themselves:
The kids don't wake us up much any more. 
I certainly don't do anything that could be even _remotely_ construed as nagging her about sex. 
Her energy is picking up a bit. 
And, finally, she is going back to work part time. 

The money will be nice. But that's the smallest part of it. Really, I am hoping it will give her a sense of. . . well, of happiness! A broader world for her to look out on. People to talk to besides our kids, our neighbour, a couple of mothers, preschool teachers, etc. 

By doing something in her profession again, Sue can stimulate the old gray matter. All new moms complain about that. But it's probably so much worse for Sue, because she's such an intellectual. Not that she's complained about it. But that's just it: I don't think she's fully aware of what's making her so unhappy. I think she might be a bit like the teenager who stays in her bedroom until 1:00 pm every day, with the curtains pulled tight, not realising the joyful power of a breath of fresh air and sunlight on her face. And so with Sue: it's not until she starts work again that she'll realise what she's been missing: the pressure, the social stimulation, the laughter, the focus, the sense of achievement, of setting goals and reaching them. 

And all of that is, of course, a wonderful thing in it's own right. So I feel rather cheap brining it back to the subject of libido. But, hey, that's what this blog is all about, right? 

So, the point is that she will, I think, be drinking in the fullness of life once more. A job and all the demands and rewards that come with it will awaken parts of her that have been lying dormant for years now. And that may well include her libido. 

My theory is that libido is an essential indicator of normal good health. Just like an appetite to eat, or the desire to get out of bed in the morning. Baring a history of abuse, or an endocrine problem, people like sex. We might not all like it the same, but it is as normal an appetite as the appetite to enjoy the sunshine after weeks of rain, or to enjoy a tall, cool glass of water after hours in the hot sun. 

Of course, all libidos are not created equal. But that is another story. The point here is that all libidos are created. And, it seems to me, the absence of one points to personal problems; or health problems; or -- as is, I hope, the case with Sue -- a spirit that's been worn down by a life that's become more a series of mundane, predictable and dreary demands than the uplifting, engaging challenge that a fulfilling profession should be. 

Well, she starts work in three weeks. So watch this spot. Maybe after a month or two, she will be a new person again. 

On the other hand, the demands of a new job on top of the normal demans of motherhood may make sex seem about as appealing to her as codliver oil. 

Mind you, if Sue put sex on a par with codliver oil, that might denote a marked improvement in her libido! 

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