Sour Grapes vs Practice Makes Perfect

There’s a line of thinking that married sex has a natural tendency to get worse and worse over time, until it gets so bad that actually not having sex is in fact a blessed relief of sorts.
Can this happen? Well sure, things can always get worse, especially if one or both of you have limited interest in keeping things fun together. But I can’t help but notice that a lot of the cheerleaders for this point of view are in fact not married, don’t want to be married, actively despise the married and generally have shrinkage at the idea of being married. There’s some sour grapes at work here I think.
Is being married work? No, not really. It’s teamwork and far more days than not it’s the teamwork turning out one of those 2 + 2 = 5 experiences. Jennifer and I are just alive and living a life together. If we were apart we’d still be doing basically the same stuff we’re doing now anyway. The kids take some effort, but they’re an investment for the future as well as something enjoyable now.
One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”
But yes it is the same person we’re having sex with every time. While I get that there is a natural excitement and interest in having a new partner, having a steady partner can’t be so easily discounted as “tastes like chicken”.
The old phrase is “practice makes perfect”. The truth is that with a good steady partner you can slowly but steadily improve your performance with each other and the sex can get better and better. You get to learn each others breathing, how each other looks just before they orgasm, what you have to do just in that moment that can push it into rapture and what can kill it dead in a second. It becomes a well oiled dance together rather than trying to find out what works on the fly. You and your team mate already know how hard is as “rough as it can be” without it turning into injury, you already know when someone just wants the slow tender stuff.
Sometimes it’s just silly and we laugh and play through the foreplay. Sometimes it’s just skip the foreplay and crank one out so we can both get some sleep. It’s companionable, then playful, then rough, then exotic, then heart stopping good.
To be honest though, not everything we try works for us. I tend to be the one coming up with bright ideas for us to try, but for us only about 30% seem to payoff. We laugh about the 70% that are failures and just enjoy the 30% that are good. We’ve probably had sex together around 4300 to 4500 times in our 15 and a half years of marriage. I’m sure that we’re a high frequency couple, but I can assure you it’s far better now that it ever was before. The sex gets better and better. Yours can too.
So anyway, I’m sure some nay sayers are going to think that repeating the same thing over and over again is going to be very very boring and unfun. Maybe. All I’ll say is that practice makes perfect and the entry to the upper tiers of skill comes from relentless dedication to gaining that skill. Then when you have the skill, it all becomes very easy and is more fun than you can really imagine.

(Of course I could be wrong about this. Obviously Joe Montana just played the same position day in day out and did nothing but throw footballs over and over in practice. It’s not really possible that he’s any good at football or has any fun when he does try and play it.)


  1. Going it on your own is fine and good as long as you can be independent, but sooner or later most people will get cancer, or suffer a layoff, or have an injury or longish illness, or become vulnerable in some other way. That's why we as humans have family units – because very, very few of us can be strong all the time. I will agree that Marriage 2.0 is no guarantee that someone has your back, but I don't understand why people feel they have to sneer at others whose situations are working for them.

    I think that many (most?) internet commenters are probably introverts and feel they have limited social (if not sexual needs), so marriage does not appeal. But that may not be the case for all the extroverts out there. In any case, if you change the person in your general argument from "spouse" to "best friend" would any of them argue that relationships with temporary acquaintances are as fulfilling as people you've known forever, genuinely like, and have shared lots of interesting experiences with?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great post. But I have a doubt. How old is your wife?

  3. Athol Kay says:

    @ Anonymous – I am 40 and she is 37.

    I suppose this is where someone comes back with the witty retort that her tits will about to be resting on her knees. Clever.

    We're both getting older. There is balance.

  4. Meg at Demanding Joy says:

    I can back you up on this one. I've been married for 15 years, and the sex is better now that ever. You can be less inhibited with someone you know so well and trust completely. You both know what the other likes and doesn't. With a little effort not to fall into a routine, it's pretty stinkin' awesome.

  5. Athol Kay says:

    Hi Meg – and the "little effort not to fall into a routine" is far less effort than trying to run game on new chicks every night of the week looking for a score.

  6. Married or partnered people have more and more satisfying sex than single people. Perhaps this is news only to the people who had unsatisfying sex lives while single *and* married.

  7. Aeoli Pera says:

    The 10,000-hour rule would apply here.

Speak Your Mind