We're talking more than doing

The sex is boring and we're not even married yet!

By Cary Tennis

Published September 18, 2003 7:42PM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

What do you do when the sex has dwindled, gotten boring, and seems to be on its way to disappearing?

My fiancé and I have been together for two years, engaged for the last six months. I'm 29, he's 34. We met in the Salon personals, actually, when we both lived in Southern California. We're on the East Coast now, and we're in the process of buying a home and planning our wedding. We relocated for his work (medicine) and I've just gotten a teaching position, so things seem to be going along swimmingly.

But it's the same old story, I guess. We have sex maybe once a week (or not at all when I've got my period) and when we do, it's fairly tame, routine stuff. He'll say, "Wanna fool around?" We kiss for a while. He fondles my breasts. We have intercourse. He climaxes. Sometimes I do, too, if he helps me along with his hand. And that's about it. We talk about why we aren't having sex more than we have sex. During our last "Why aren't we having more sex?" conversation, he said he feels like it's work and doesn't want to come home from work to have to work at sex. I feel like he's not giving me credit for the times I initiate sex and do the "work." I miss the days when the sex was spontaneous and just evolved out of a particularly intense kiss or embrace. No one had to say, "Wanna fool around?" because we already both knew we wanted to.

What do we do? I truly love this man -- he's smart, funny, caring, and a deep-down good person. I believe he'll be a wonderful husband and father. I have all these ideas -- maybe we could work some sex toys into the mix, or maybe we could tell each other some fantasies -- but I just can't see myself bringing a vibrator to bed one night (here's a Freudian slip for you -- I just typed "work" instead of "bed" in that last line and had to fix it) and saying, "Let's use this, sweetie!" I guess I need help taking these ideas out of the theoretical and into reality.

Any thoughts?

His "Sweetie"

Dear "Sweetie,"

So you were thinking about bringing some sex toys to work. That makes sense. There's not enough sex at work. There are not enough toys at work. There are not enough beds in the boredroom. The bored members need to be harder at work. We work too much and our work is too hard and there's not enough sex in the boredroom. There's something wrong with how we live. How do you change your life? Maybe you buy some sex toys but you forget to bring them to the bedroom and you bring them to the boardroom instead and your boss looks at you just like your husband does, with that quizzical, slightly alarmed stare. "What do you do with that thing, anyway?" he asks. "Where do you plug it in?"

We work too much. There's something wrong with how we live. How do you change your life?

Watch old movies. Look at the men and women in the old movies. Where is the eros? It's in the forbidden and the unspoken. It's between the barmaid and the masked man, the outlaw and the harlot, the lion tamer and the trapeze artist, the general's wife and the enlisted man, the wayward daughter and the drifter, the reporter and the heiress. It's not between Ozzie and Harriet or Ward and June Cleaver. It's across boundaries and taboos; it's in the shadows of a city or in the blinding sun of a desert; it's in the forbidden and the unspoken.

This column is in the Sex site but if I knew how to have better sex I'd be having better sex right now. Wouldn't you? What am I doing? I'm working. What are you doing? I'll bet you're working too.

There's something wrong with how we live. We work too much. But I don't know what to do about it. Dropping out doesn't work. Dropping out makes you poor and nobody wants to have sex with the poor.

What can you do, stop working? He's in medicine and you're in teaching. You have to work hard or people die or go ignorant. So maybe you sacrifice. Maybe you live with it. Maybe you count up on your fingers what's important and ask yourself, Am I giving time to the important things? How much time does good sex take? Probably more time than any of us have. We're so wound up, aren't we? I mean, not to get personal, but aren't you wound up? I'm wound up. I'm frazzled. I'm terrorismed out, I'm budget-battled to death, I'm Swarzeneggered, I'm confounded and conflicted and deadlined to death, I've got television sickness; I'm Bill Pressed, I'm Patted down, I'm Morley wounded, I'm Koppeled about the face and head, I'm O'Reilly'd in the chest, I am. I'm dot-com boomed and dot-com busted, I'm all written out. So who's having good sex? The young and the reckless are having good sex. The ignorant and the chesty, the muscular and the sleek, the sweaty and well-rested, the powerful and the rich, the ones with time and money, the ones with nothing to do, they're having great sex in the interstices of churches, in the hallways of our schools, in the lunchrooms on the tables, and in the landings of stairs. They're having good sex and they're telling no one about it. They're having good sex and they're keeping it to themselves. While you and I, the good people, the ones who do our jobs, what are we doing? We're working and working and working.

Tell your guy to lie down and don't let him up for at least an hour. Maybe something will happen.

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Cary Tennis

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