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Dear Nicola...

Is it time we took up swinging?

Written by . Published on October 28th 2010.


Dear Nicola...





Nicola Mostyn

Monday October 25 2010

Is it time we took up swinging?

Dear Nicola

I’m a happily married mother of three great kids. I love my husband, we have a nice life and I know I’m very lucky. But I’m sad that I’ll never again feel that amazing buzz that you have in the first stages of sex with someone.

It’s not that we don’t make the effort to spice things up – we really do - but after years together we’ve tried every trick in the book and it still boils down to the same thing – sex with the same person. I’d never cheat, but am seriously wondering whether something like swinging, where we can experience new things together, might be the answer?

Nicola replies:

There are thousands of books and magazine articles telling how to keep the ‘spice’ in long term relationships. Far fewer tackle the unpalatable truth: that no matter how hard a couple work at it, monogamy and sexual excitement are always going to be uneasy bedfellows.

They’re like two plants that thrive in different soil. What makes a great marriage? Communication, trust, closeness, intimacy. What makes great sex? Distance, uncertainty, the thrill of anticipation.

If swinging is something you’ve always dreamt about, then possibly it’s an area of your sexuality that currently feels suppressed and is definitely worth raising with your husband. But I can’t help but wonder whether swinging is just another trick that will soon grow old, and one that holds a greater risk to your marriage than role playing or al fresco sex.

You acknowledge that you’re lucky and it’s true. But you’re still justified in envying singles, who are able to experience again and again the excitement of new sex, even while they are probably envying your loving relationship and happy home. No one scenario trumps the other: people’s lives are equal, just different.

It’s tempting to list ways in which you might rekindle the ‘spark’ – having some distance from each other, remembering what attracted you initially, making sure you, on your own terms, feel sexy – but then you could probably write a book yourself. After all, you’ve managed to sustain a sex life through having three kids – quite an achievement.

And now you’ve come to the next – possibly ultimate - trick: Swinging. If swinging is something you’ve always dreamt about, then possibly it’s an area of your sexuality that currently feels suppressed and is definitely worth raising with your husband. But I can’t help but wonder whether swinging is just another trick that will soon grow old, and one that holds a greater risk to your marriage than role playing or al fresco sex.

Is the sexual boredom equal between you and your husband? I doubt it. Chances are, if he’d rather watch The Apprentice than get naked you’d be launching a full on assault to rip his clothes off. And if you’re retreating from him, he’ll probably want sex even more, exacerbating the problem.

For desire in marriage to work, you both have to be capable of playing hard to get at different times. And with a full family life to contend with, that’s quite an ask.

For now, why not take sex off the agenda altogether? After all, there’s nothing less erotic than a grim determination to feel turned on. And, then, in your celibacy gap, read Mating in Captivity (Hodder & Stoughton) in which Esther Peril takes a long hard look at the very question you’ve posed: How do we desire what we already have?

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Nicola Mostyn
Manchester Confidential
Suite 2B, 2nd Floor Quay House
Quay Street
Manchester
M3 3JE

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