Sex had not been great from the get-go, but I always found excuses. Firstly, there was the long distance. And then I thought, this is the real love story. This is not about physical desire. It’s about what we are building together, the family, the life.
And I thought once we lived together we’d hit our groove. We could play freely! But our encounters were humorless. There was no banter, innuendos, no sexy talk. My frisky teasing was met with averted eyes and fell flat. More achingly for me, there was no touch. None outside of the sheets, and very little in between.
So he lacked skills—that’s fixable. In my absolute dedication to optimism, I decided to treat it as anything one isn’t good at: it’s just something to learn. There is no shortage of teachings on the subject—it will be so much fun to dive into that together! Venkat remained mostly locked in a mulish silence, which I attributed to his unfamiliarity with the subject. I was blind to how touchy it was for his male ego.
Guess what I did: I bought a book. Perhaps I should have found something with a less intimidating title than Sex and the Perfect Lover. It was bright red and had illustrations.
“Ooh,” I’d say, “look at that one—we could try that!”
He’d frown. “Wow, that’s pretty athletic.”
“You know, going to the gym can really help in bed . . .” I’d encourage.
At that point he could barely hold himself in a push-up above me. He’d collapse with an umph and suffocate me with his weight.
He ignored my suggestion. I lowered my athletic ambitions and took a different tack.
“Did you know that touch has all these physiological benefits? Can I read you a passage from . . . ?”
When I wasn’t in a lecture-y mood, I would just go for angry.
“I need a fucking orgasm. And I can’t get there in two minutes.”
“Did you know that orgasms have all these physiological benefits . . .?”
Angry plus lecture-y.
Didn’t really help matters.
But nothing can help when there is refusal of communication, and that is where we landed in the first year of our marriage. His stonewalling was more trouble than it was worth, so I let it go. The book was hidden in a drawer, and we settled into occasional encounters with accidental passable results.
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