The media depicts sex after marriage as this pretty bleak affair for both genders: Men supposedly want more of it, women never have orgasms, etc. In this week's Sex Talk Realness (opens in new tab), Cosmopolitan.com spoke with four men about their actual experiences with sex as married men.
How old are you?
Man A: Thirty-eight.
Man B: Forty-seven.
Man C: Forty-two.
Man D: Thirty-five.
And how long have you been married?
Man A: Fourteen months.
Man B: Almost 15 years.
Man C: Nineteen years.
Man D: Twelve years.
Are you both monogamous?
Man A: Yes.
Man B: Yes, we were always monogamous.
Man C: I am. My wife is not, which I'm fine with. Sex with her isn't that great, so I don't feel like I am missing anything.
Man D: Yes.
How much did you guys have sex before you got married (if at all)?
Man A: Three to five times during the week and multiple times during weekends (and no, we're not talking two minutes a shot).
Man B: Before marriage, I believe we averaged about two to three times per week.
Man C: Regularly.
Man D: We once counted condom boxes and there were only 100 days that year we didn't have sex, so a pretty healthy amount.
Why did you decide to have sex before you got married?
Man A: Because it's amazing. We experimented pretty much from the moment lightning struck. Sex is a central pillar to the magic that makes up our lives and we've been infusing our days with that magic since the beginning. That's how we knew we were going to get married in the first place.
Man B: This is my third marriage and her first so we never thought to wait. We did sleep apart the night before our wedding day though.
Man C: I don't know that we made a decision. We were horny teenagers and it just happened.
Man D: Neither of us were virgins or had strong beliefs about premarital sex diminishing the validity of our relationship.
Did you have sex on your wedding night?
Man A: Yes, delicious Costa Rican sex, since we were there for our wedding.
Man B: Yes.
Man C: Yes.
Man D: Oh, yes.
How did your sex life change after the wedding?
Man A: It improved. There's something sexy about introducing my wife as "my wife." There's something powerful about removing the option of "others" from the table officially. While it's a new world and my wife is a powerhouse, breadwinning goddess, it's comforting to know that she's mine.
Man B: After the wedding and honeymoon, we still averaged sex about one to two times per week for over four years until my wife's health declined.
Man C: It made little difference, to be honest. We'd been together for so long beforehand that the metaphorical honeymoon period had long passed, and sex was another one of life's pleasures that was getting pushed out by the daily grind. At least getting married allowed us to have a literal honeymoon, where we had more sex in a week than we'd had in the previous six months combined.
Man D: Honestly, not that much. Life in general was pretty much the same after the wedding.
What has been the most exciting time for your marriage, sexually?
Man A: Every new encounter is exciting. Vacations certainly increase the dynamics by adding some extra newness, but weekends without the kids are tremendous. Secret trysts in forbidden rooms of the house are also exciting.
Man B: The most exciting time sexually was definitely in the beginning when everything was still new and fresh, even though we'd been together for four years prior to the wedding.
Man C: When she first started exploring some kinkier things.
Man D: Right now. The kids are old enough to sleep through the night, we can sneak away without them needing us all the time. It's even better than when we were young.
The least exciting?
Man A: Being interrupted by one of our kids. Or the time my wife got a foot cramp in Spain.
Man B: The least exciting would be the decline of my wife's health due to numerous diseases and conditions. We stopped having intercourse in 2011, I believe.
Man C: When we first had kids and the sex stopped. It was probably a year or so before it got back to normal. When she thought I was emotionally involved with another woman, it changed and we started having sex more.
Man D: Any time with prolonged stress. Sex can be a release, but if there's something hanging over your head, it pushes all that desire down.
When you have dry spells, what's usually the cause of it?
Man A: Illness. That's about it. Or if we're traveling separately. My wife has fibromyalgia and if it's extremely inflamed, we may miss a night or two. Same for a bad cold. Other than that, sex is the all-healer.
Man B: When we were having sex regularly, the dry patches would happen because of work schedules, fatigue, health, and time constraints.
Man C: Kid issues. Stresses. Financial issues.
Man D: Stress and putting in a lot of extra hours at work.
How do you get past them?
Man A: Nurse each other back to tender-lovin' health!
Man B: Things would just work themselves out and we would have sex again. We were never the type to plan it or put it on the calendar. It would just happen including several occasions of one waking the other in the middle of the night for sex.
Man C: We usually just hit a point where things would get so bad that we'd fight and then make up.
Man D: We don't really get past them; they just go away with time and then it's back to normal.
What do you think is the ideal amount of sex for you and your spouse?
Man A: As much as we can have. For us, sex serves as connection and the deepening of connection.
Man B: I would be very happy having sex three to four times per week. At one time, I believe my wife would have concurred.
Man C: For me, daily. For her, probably once a month now. I definitely watch a lot of online porn to cope with that difference.
Man D: About where we are right now, which is one to three times a week.
What are your biggest concerns, sexually?
Man A: We don't really have any concerns. One of us falling ill and being unable to have sex for weeks on end, I suppose.
Man B: Other than no longer having sex with my wife, there are no concerns.
Man C: Our lack of chemistry now.
Man D: That she's feeling good and that she has an orgasm.
What's something you've always wanted to try but haven't told your spouse? Or what was the hardest fantasy to share with them?
Man A: Nothing. She likes me to discover some of her fantasies, but I've been very upfront with everything I like, and don't need or want. We're both open, free, confident, exploratory, and down for the adventure.
Man B: I never really had anything I wanted to try with my spouse. I was never one to want another woman or man in bed with us, which always seems to be the rote fantasy. Don't know if it's being a product of the Midwest or Lutheran upbringing or just unimaginative, but I never really had a fantasy that I wanted.
Man C: I want to see her do a gang bang.
Man D: Maybe a little anal play, but nothing too intense. It's not something I think about a lot or plan out, it just feels like it'd be right in the moment. We're pretty open.
Do you feel like you have more or less sex than your other married friends?
Man A: We seem to have a good deal more sex then our married friends. Which leads me to believe we like it more. My wife disagrees. She just thinks we prioritize it more. But I prioritize the things I like most, so.
Man B: Much less in that I have none, minus masturbation.
Man C: Less.
Man D: I would bet more. We work really well together, our life is where it needs to be, and we're both super horny.
Do you think you have more or less sex than your single friends?
Man A: Definitely more than our single friends!
Man B: At this point in my life, I have one single friend and I believe he is not having sex either.
Man C: Less.
Man D: More. I can't remember the last time we went more than two weeks without sex.
Now that you've been married for a while, do you feel like married sex is better, worse, or the same?
Man A: Better, though it has less to do with being married and more to do with it just getting better as time passes. There's certainly something to having sex with someone new, but being in love is an ever-evolving and therefore ever-novel experience. And my wife and I have the benefit of knowing our partner's favorite sensations and being able to use them.
Man B: Marriage never altered the frequency or quality of the sex that we had. It took my wife's health to slowly grind things to a halt.
Man C: It's worse now than it was when we were first married, but marriage itself didn't change it.
Man D: We've been married a long time, and it just keeps getting better. You know each other more, you're more open and honest with each other, you know yourself more, life is more stable. At this rate, we'll be the dirtiest 50-year-olds you've ever met.
What are some things you've tried to "spice up" your sex life, if any?
Man A: Being openly and publicly affectionate. Role-play. Sex toys. Travel. We haven't tried anything that hasn't worked yet.
Man B: When the sex was regular, it was good and we never needed anything to spice up our sex life. Neither of us was very imaginative, I guess. Eventually sex devolved into her giving me oral sex, then hand jobs, then neither of those worked as her body continued to shut down. We tried oral sex once where I stood on a ladder to be tall enough so that she could give me oral sex while sitting upright in her wheelchair. That was unpleasant in a lot of ways ... most of them for me being mostly naked on a cold stepladder!
Man C: She has explored with women and other men, but I haven't done anything. Adding in some other things, like spanking, has helped.
Man D: Toys, oils, wild positions, different places. We never really spiced things up because something was wrong, but we definitely added different dimensions. Oils just get to be a pain because someone has to wash the sheets. Also most men need to learn the female anatomy.
Is there anything sexually that you don't really like that much but you do it to please your partner?
Man A: Nada. We like most things and the few things we don't care about are mutual.
Man B: There never was anything I hesitated to do or disliked. We attempted anal sex once but that was something that she didn't want to do and I never wanted her to do something she didn't like.
Man C: I don't really like giving her oral sex, but I do it because she likes it.
Man D: No.
What do you think is the biggest myth about married sex?
Man A: That once you marry, you stop having sex. I mean, there's truth to that if you let there be. But it's your life so you might as well take control of it. Especially in the bedroom (or any other room).
Man B: That once you got married, the sex stopped. I do have a friend where that myth is 100 percent accurate, but as for me it never was true, until her health problems. I fully believe that we would still be going strong had things not changed with her.
Man C: That people keep having it. I think a lot of people get married, start having good sex, and figure that is how it is. But it isn't. Over time, you have less and less sex. At least, most married couples I know do.
Man D: That it dries up. I don't understand that. And if it does, you married the wrong damn person.
What do you think is the key to having a happy sex life as a married couple?
Man A: It starts with knowing who you are as an individual and being true to that. Two people who share values and future memories of the lives they're living into, that's sexy! Already agreeing on the life and future we want, sex becomes a passionate, rhythmic reminder that life is perfect no matter what else is going on.
Man B: Trust, laughter, zero fear of making a wrong move, and willingness on both parts to listen to what your partner wants and asks for.
Man C: Communication! Our communication is not good at all and that's the problem.
Man D: Care about each other. Care that your partner gets off before you do. Talk about what's on the table and what's not. Have lots of different kinds of sex, from sensual lovemaking to a rough fuck in the car.
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Lane Moore is an award-winning comedian, actor, writer, and musician based in New York City. Her first book, How To Be Alone: If You Want To And Even If You Don’t became a #1 bestseller and was praised as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, New York Magazine, NPR, Good Morning America, Fast Company, Marie Claire, and many others. Moore also gave a TEDx Talk based on the book, called How To Be Alone. Her comedy show “Tinder Live!” is regarded as one of the best comedy shows in New York City and has been praised by The New York Times, Entertainment Tonight, CBS, Time Out New York, and New York Magazine. She has a monthly sold-out residency in NYC, and also tours rock venues and colleges worldwide. As an actor, Moore plays Kelsey on HBO’s Search Party, and has a recurring role on Rooster Teeth’s What Do You Know? and had a memorable role on season 5 of HBO’s Girls. She also frequently appears on Comedy Central, VH1, MTV, truTV, and IFC shows. As a musician, Moore is the front person and songwriter in the band “It Was Romance.” In her time as the the Sex and Relationships Editor at Cosmopolitan, she won a GLAAD award for her groundbreaking work championing diverse, inclusive coverage. Moore also hosts the live streaming comedy show How To Be Alone on Twitch, which she calls “PeeWee’s Playhouse for lonely adults.”
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