Illustration by Chelsea Charles.

Hi y’all!

A big welcome to everyone who is new. I appreciate you supporting my work. I love how Sonya Renee Taylor puts it thank you for being in “right relationship” with me. Where, hopefully, you gain insight or learn something from me sharing my viewpoints with you while I gain monetary support from you. This feels deeply aligned, especially as a Black woman. Grateful.
Okay, let’s get into what this post is about. As you might tell from the attached image, we’re talking about S.E.X.

🎶Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me 🎶
Actually, before we start proper, let me say that I am as always speaking from my perspective as a coupled, able-bodied, sexually active individual with no medical (and otherwise) hindrances to sexual activities. Please know that this is the lens from which I write.

When I read that article after a friend posted it on IG, I immediately forwarded it to my partner. I was like….oh so it’s not just us, huh? When we went from being regularly sexually active to a diminished libido, it brought up old hurts and questions. Especially since you don’t see people all over the internet talking about how they ain’t been getting none since the pandemic. So when I saw that article, I was like whew! It’s not just us. I mean, I think I knew that, but actually reading it felt validating for me. The following quote from the piece was especially so for me.

“Many spouses are feeling trapped under one roof. Amid the strain, uncertainty and unending sameness of pandemic life, many couples find the bandwidth for intimacy is gone.”

The article also mentioned that while most people have had decreased libidos,, for a few, the opposite has been the case. That brings us the question of what happens in a partnership where two people living under the same roof are having the opposite experience. One person has diminished libido while the other has increased libido, as it’s been for us. What then? How do we approach the subject of consent vs getting your needs met vs not getting resentful because your sexual needs aren’t met or because you’re feeling pressured by your partner? The article addresses this briefly as below

“For those whose marriages were already sexless before the pandemic, or where one partner has more desire than the other, months of lockdowns “magnify what’s not working in the relationship,” said Seattle marriage and family therapist Mindy McGovern.”

I just wanted to share a few things we learned in couples’ therapy that may prove beneficial to you too.
First, the needs of both parties are valid. Both the need for space and the need for sexual connection.
Consent still applies. Pressuring or guilting our partner to have sex isn’t in line with consent.
Patience. Patience. Patience. This too shall pass. Most likely.
Cultivating equanimity. The ability to sit in silence with a hard emotion or unmet needs. This will come in handy.
Showing grace and kindness and love towards each other. Being long suffering.
If the energy is there, build intimacy and closeness that isn’t actually sex.
Masturbate a lot!! Self pleasure for the person who has more sexual is going to come in clutch here.

The article ends by saying:
“What I’m saying to my couples is, don’t set the bar too high but … keep your relationship simmering until such time as a full boil becomes possible. This is the time to cultivate ‘maybe’ and little bits of flirtation – even if one knows there is no energy to act on it right now.”

So yeah, if you’re in a similar boat, I’m here to say I see you. A lot of us are. A lot of couples are going to end up splitting up. I think about splitting up at least once a month, tbh even though this person is my person and has been my person for the last seven years and there’s no one I love more than her after me. Because I can be impatient and given the history of our relationship (we had just gotten back together after a divorce at the beginning of the lockdown), it can sometimes be difficult to separate COVID related stressors from old stuff creeping up. And that uncertainty can be a scary place for me to be.

But I’m facing my fears, giving myself and her grace whole endeavoring to remember that we’re in a global pandemic. I hope you remember too.

Xo, Christabel.

Ps.: the article is linked below.

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