I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend since we began going out four years ago, which has meant that when we see each other, we’re dying to rip each other’s clothes off.
I’m finally moving in with him, and I worry that now that we’ll be with each other all the time, our sex life might stop being so exciting. How can I stop that happening?
>>I was at the airport yesterday and I watched enviously as a couple, who were clearly desperately in love, said goodbye to each other at the gate. Their faces were blotchy from kissing, and as the girl walked slowly towards security, I could see tears streaming down her face.
Parting really is “such sweet sorrow”, but the pain of long-distance relationships is, at least, tempered by the giddy prospect of reunion and the intensity of sex after weeks of separation can make it all seem worthwhile.
Four years in a long-distance relationship is a lot of mileage, but moving in with each other is still a huge leap of faith. As the one who is making the bigger investment, you are likely to be more apprehensive and this may translate into a degree of dependency.
If you feel vulnerable, you may be oversensitive to changes in your sex life, but try not to be. Sex ebbs and flows in all relationships and although there will probably be an initial “honeymoon period”, when you luxuriate in a relationship that is no longer punctured by absence, eventually you will almost certainly experience periods of sexual inactivity.
There will be times when one of you wants sex, and the other doesn’t, but good sex is predicated on free will ... as well as free won’t. The lulls are more likely to be a natural response to the demands of your daily lives than any reflection on the quality of your relationship, but one of the biggest pitfalls of commitment is the ease with which we become complacent.
There is no doubt that periods apart can help to keep the romantic flame alive.
Relationships that are not exposed to normal levels of wear and tear have the potential to remain idealised, simply because there is limited opportunity for life to become routine. As a result, it is far easier to preserve the sense of “otherness” that makes sex with someone we don’t presume to possess feel so unpredictable and exciting.
As we merge and achieve closeness, we lose the distance that creates erotic frisson. Trying to maintain the tension between emotional intimacy and sexual desire will mean living together and delineating your separate selves at the same time.
For you, that will involve carving out an identity for yourself in a new town. For both of you, it will mean challenging your relationship in ways that allow you to create a new, shared, history that is distinct from the one you had as a couple who saw each other once a month and ripped each other’s clothes off.
Physical distance perpetuates a greediness for sex, but proximity has its own rewards. Sex is not limited to the act itself. In a long-term relationship, erotic tension reverberates in the cheeky wink, the unexpected compliment, the third glass of wine, the goodbye kiss that undresses you all over again.
Continue to employ the techniques that worked for you while you were apart. You should also make sure that you don’t isolate yourself from your former life. Visiting home will involve travelling back to where you came from, but it will give you the chance to be the couple at the gate again.
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