Tag Archive for Marriage

Basement sex

Have I ever told you about the best sex I’ve ever had? I can’t recall.

It was in Mark’s parents’ basement, years ago. We were still in college, so I’m guessing we were twenty. We snuck downstairs after everyone else was asleep. He fucked me, missionary position, on an old mattress on the floor. I was literally screaming my head off it was so good. I have no idea why.

After a couple minutes of me screaming, Mark told me to be quiet. He didn’t want me to wake anyone up.

So I stopped screaming.


July Mark and I are taking a trip. As part of it, we’re seeing some old friends of ours. It happens that these particular old friends have been through roughly the same situation as Mark and I have struggled with this year. From what I gather, the girl is sexually open and the guy, less so.

Mark ran into the guy over the weekend and they had time to talk. Mark came home wanting to have “the difficult conversations,” whatever that means. As if we haven’t been having difficult conversations for the past 18 months now. He wanted to talk about our plans for July, which may or may not include going to a sex party.

First I refused. I told him that I don’t want to go to a sex party if all I can do is look but not touch and if I constantly have to defer to him about what I can do. It’s the truth. I can look but not touch from home.

Still, I’ve given it some thought. I’ve tried to turn the situation around for the better. So, I say, guys, you have two girls here who are saying they are willing to do pretty much anything. (At least I am. I hesitate to speak for my friend, so if you are her, please chime in yourself.)

This is an opportunity. I say, guys, make some plans. Don’t wait until July 1st, start now. You’re in charge. You make up the rules. Set the agenda. Forget everything you’ve ever learned about being good Jewish boys and let’s have some fun.


I used to have a friend, several years ago when Mark and I were first married, who liked to give me marriage advice. I remember that she described a technique for staying faithful, for ensuring a successful marriage. She called it self-sublimation. What she meant, I think, was that to succeed at marriage, you need to put your partner’s needs and desires ahead of your own. At every turn, you must consider your mate first and act on that consideration, not your own interests or feelings.

I think she had a good point. For many years, I followed her advice. You know what? It worked. My marriage has been very happy and successful. Putting Mark’s needs first became something that made me happy. It was as if witnessing his personal successes and happiness vicariously made me happy and successful. Although I might have from time to time felt frustrations at whatever I might have been giving up or trading off on, as long as I could look to Mark and see him happy, all was good.

In our marriage, I think this dynamic went both ways. Mark has always managed to give me what I want, whether it’s a vacation, a bigger car, or even a third child. For many years, self-sublimation worked for us. The key is having a willing partner who reliably, truly, wants you to have what you want. Each partner must feel that they are both making the other happy by fulfilling their desires, and having their desires fulfilled happily by the other.

Earlier this year I read something. It was short and simple. And–I have to admit this–it threw a wrench in my system. It was this: Monogamy is hard. My first reaction was “No, it’s not.” But those three words stuck. I started to rethink self-sublimation, this time as a negative. What have I overlooked or ignored about myself in the interest of my marriage? What, by the rules of my marriage, do I want that I should not want?

I’ve spent some time this year poking around under those rocks, and I’ve found a number of things. Some of them are acceptable within the bounds of my marriage, and some are not. Some things, like rekindling my career, are relatively easy. Mark is completely supportive. Some things, like finding a place for spirituality in my life, are rockier. Mark’s mind is closed on that subject, so I have to go it alone. And some things, like my desire for sex with other people, are outright outrageous within my marriage. Here lies the limit of self-sublimation: When it becomes self-annihilation, it fails.


More about me and Mark

I realize that I haven’t given you any background on my marriage. Mark and I met when we were little kids. We were family friends until he moved away, and we reunited in college. We started dating when we were 19 and we’ve been together ever since. He was my first, I wasn’t his.

Our sex life has been physically good for me but rule-bound. Mark has intermittent erection problems, and until a few months ago, we didn’t talk about sex. At all. Why we didn’t is a subject for another post.

If in my last post, I gave the impression that I am not fulfilled in my life, I’m sorry. That’s incorrect. Luckily, I am fulfilled in many ways. Most of those ways — as a mother, a friend, a wife — don’t fit in with my sexy persona here. That doesn’t mean that those other roles are not important and beneficial in and of their own rights. But what I’m questioning here, what I’m exploring, is my own sexuality, apart from any relationship. In that corner of my life, I am unfulfilled. I am still seeking something. I want to know myself as a sexual being.

When I first started dating Mark, when we started having sex, I was nervous. I followed his lead. I suspect that he was nervous too, or picked up on my anxiety. Our sexual universe quickly shrunk and it stayed that way. Suddenly I find myself wanting to know what I like, what I don’t, how certain things make me feel. Some of those things Mark has tried with me. Some of them, like sex with other people, he’s not willing to try and not willing to let me try. He has a lot of good reasons. But like most things, not being able to have something makes me want it all the more.

As a thoughtful reader so kindly commented, I have a way with words. I enjoy writing, and I hope that my blogging leads me to a creative writing job. But for me, I want experience before I write. Writing is not a substitute for experience for me. If it were the other way around, my predicament would be so much simpler. But it isn’t.