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It’s no secret that long-term relationships are hard to sustain. All parts of them take work. Communication takes work, romance takes work, cohabitation takes work. Arguably the most infamously difficult part of a serious monogamous commitment to maintain is the sex. Sex in a long-term relationship is constantly shifting, and you can get a sexual peak turn into a valley.

Sex drives change. People grow. Habits form and un-form. So it’s natural that EVERY long-term sexual relationship evolves as it ages. They’re like landscapes. When you’re committed to one person, your sex life has high points, low points, plateaus, and bodies of water that ebb and flow for a myriad of different and unique reasons. And it is OKAY.

I personally have a rich and storied relationship history. I’ve had stretches of singleness, friends with benefits, and so, so many partners. But if you look at the big picture, you might classify me as something of a serial monogamist. I fall deep and fast. I’m a glutton for commitment. And the one thing I can attest to when it comes to long-term committed monogamous relationships is that they are all unique. There is no one way a relationship unfolds. Every detail is totally case by case. Every sexual landscape, unique and imperfect. But with each of them there were frenzied peaks, and there were dry valleys.

The First Peak—A Sexual Rush 

I know I just said that all sexual relationships are unique and different snowflakes. And I’m not unsaying that. But a common and well-known thread in almost every relationship is the way they start. I’m talking about that blissful period before they become long-term. That delicious chapter in which they’re just fledgling love stories. This stage is commonly known as the honeymoon phase, and it’s every relationship’s first sexual peak.

Driven by lust and fixation, the anticipation of something new thrusts you and your partner upwards together to a peak of sexual elation. Coming from a state of single-dom, or the death valley of a dead love, your body gets excited about the prospect of a partner. And in addition to being an extremely emotional experience, studies suggest that it is also very chemically induced.

When you’re climbing this first sexual peak, your nerve growth factor increases. This means that the development and growth of your neurons are heightened. Elevated NGF leads to feelings of euphoria and connection. You idealize your partner. Nothing about them is lacking and all you want to do is be around them, and touch them and have sex with them. And when you have sex, your brain releases oxytocin (sometimes called the cuddle hormone) which increases the euphoria and attachment.

The honeymoon phase is science! It’s wonderful and it’s lovely. However, though most relationships start with this phase, the details are where they can vary. It can be as short as a couple of weeks or can last as long as a couple of years. It can be intensely sexual or heightened romantically. The peak can be sharp and steep, or it can be more like the slow and steady curvature of a hill. It’s the nature of peaks that they eventually descend. It’s the nature of monogamy that a shift will occur.

The Valleys—Or Sexual Lows

What is a valley? National Geographic describes them as “depressed areas of land–scoured and washed out by the conspiring forces of gravity, water, and ice.” So metaphorically speaking, sexual valleys are stretches of your relationship that are low and have been battered by outside forces, as well as time. Maybe you started to notice something you don’t like about your partner (or yourself). Maybe you’ve been fighting. Maybe you’re too stressed out. Maybe you’re just bored. Maybe you have no idea why the sex has stopped.

There are so many reasons why sex in a long-term relationship sputters. Our libidos can be affected by outside forces like medication or trauma. Sex drive also fluctuates as a result of natural hormonal changes our bodies go through every few years. Maintaining excitement is hard for all living creatures. Eventually, cats get tired of their new toys. Teenagers change their fashion choices. Flowers wilt at the slightest gust of wind. It’s natural to be searching for something to fulfill natural curiosity. And when you’ve made a commitment to stay sexually faithful to someone, it’s your responsibility to fulfill that curiosity within that relationship.

These sexual dry spells happen for different reasons, but also, they look totally different from couple to couple. In one of my relationships, reaching a sexual valley meant that sex dwindled down to once a week. In another, it meant that sexual encounters happened months apart. In another still, it was all about the quality of the sex. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of your own landscape. Assessing the situation, communicating, and doing the work can get you safely out of the valley and onto the next peak. Or if you’re comfortable with a dry spell, you can find the nicer, more positive aspects of the valley. Whichever path you can travel, make sure that you can see the road ahead. And if it’s what you want, envision another peak.

Climbing Back Uphill—Sexual Reclamation 

There comes a point in every LTR where you and/or your partner are faced with the challenge of spicing things up. You have to try and rediscover the sexual excitement of your first peak. During this time, it’s imperative that you reinvest in each other and not be fearful of trying new things when having sex in a long-term relationship.

Do what you can to make your sexual encounters feel fresh again. If one of you is usually dominant, switch up the dynamic. If you usually do it in bed, venture to a different location. Maybe if you’re adventurous, try to kink up your sex life a little bit. If you tend towards kinky sex, slow it down and go back to the basics.

If you’re climbing out of a particularly low valley, you may have to do some extra work to get back to where you were before. You might consider couples counseling or sex therapy. You might need to make a sex schedule and do your best to stick to it. But just like when you’re hiking, climbing is the hardest part.

The Topography is Ever-Changing

I’m speaking in a giant extended geological metaphor, but it is true that the landscape of your sex life is constantly changing. At any moment, an earthquake or tsunami or tornado could come and change the entire topography of your relationship. Be ready for these changes, and be present! Notice the difference between steep falloffs and steady descents. The journey never ends! The lower your valley is, the longer and harder you have to work to climb back to it. If you must plateau, give yourself a nice view. Try and make it as high as possible before leveling out.

Monogamy is hard. It’s a challenge and a daily choice. Sometimes things end or our sexual relationships don’t turn out the way we want them to. But as I’ve learned many times over, all you can do is roll with the punches. In navigating sex in a long-term relationship, find fun in the valleys and cherish the peaks. There is no normal and no supposed to be. We’re all inventing what relationships look like as we have them.

Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.

Girls kissing in lights

Sometimes, sex isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, especially when you’re young. As we grow up, teachers, families, and mentors are a wellspring of experience and knowledge that we siphon information from on the way toward adulthood. But one thing that would make for better sex ed is understanding the concept and understanding of sexuality. 

After all, how many adults today have been properly educated about the social, emotional, and psychological components of entering sexual adulthood? How many of us have been formally taught comprehensive sexuality? Whether or not you have, our sexuality is a crucial part of our development, and access to this education should be widespread and accessible.

The Sex-Ed I Remember…

When you think of classic sex-ed in middle school or high school, what do you remember? For me, there’s one day in class that immediately comes to mind. My science teacher put in the VHS tape labeled “The Miracle Of Birth.” I giggled uncontrollably along with the rest of my 7th-grade class and watched the whole bloody “miracle” through my fingers. At the time, it was utter nightmare material. Only years later did I realize this video showing was less about education and more about fear. It was a tactic meant to scare me away from sex, not educate me about having it. 

Leading up to this rite of middle-school passage, we got a brief biological explanation of the physical act of sex and its purpose as it relates to the procreation of species. I was lucky enough to also be given a little information regarding contraception and STIs. This was all definitely important stuff, but there is so much more to be learned about sex than anatomy and physiology. What we need is age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education. But what exactly is that? 

What is Sexuality Education?

The study of sexuality is an ever-evolving process. The more we learn about ourselves as a species, the more we have to teach our youth. So there’s no one correct and complete definition of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. 

The idea is to extend the teaching beyond the limiting themes of abstinence and anatomy. It’s to empower and encourage young and/or sexually inexperienced people to learn about components of sex that have been traditionally labeled as “taboo” or in some cases, irreligious. It’s teaching that instead of something that happens TO you, sex will be something you will determine for yourself. Yes, it’s sex. But it’s also sexual health, sexual identity, and sexual wellbeing and so much more.

So let’s get a little more specific. What are some components you might find in a Comprehensive Sexuality Curriculum?

Gender Identity and Orientation

Gender is a complex, hot-button issue right now socially and politically. As our society progresses, the concept and definition of gender are almost constantly in question. A fully-formed education on sexuality would address the role of gender norms in our society, and the idea of gender as a social construct. This includes the expectations and values that we place on ourselves and each other with regard to perceived gender. 

It also extends to gender biases and gender inequality. Of course, a parent can raise their child how they want and can instill their own values into their offspring. But young people should at least be taught what the terms cisgender, agender, non-binary or transgender mean if for any other reason, to perpetuate the principle of acceptance and inclusivity. 

Beyond gender, learning about sexual orientation and identity should also be a huge component of sexuality education. LGBTQ+ youth are among the most bullied and alienated kids in the world. More often than not, they suffer this torment without even knowing what’s happening in their psyche. The spectrum of sexual identity and attraction is becoming common knowledge. In all education, diversity should be celebrated through positivity and appreciation. Just as we laud diversity of race, religion, and ability, we should also laud diversity of orientation and identity. 

Pleasure

Contrary to popular belief, this DOES NOT mean teaching young people how to experience sexual pleasure. Adding the concept of pleasure to sexuality education means positively encouraging young people to seek enjoyable sexual experiences. 

Let’s be honest, sexual curiosity is born from a biological urge to seek pleasure. This is not a secret we should keep hidden away from the unknowing. If we’re truthful about healthy sexual behavior, we’ll be working against negative feelings of shame and guilt around sex. Sex is a natural part of adulthood, and young people shouldn’t feel intimidated or scared of it. Nor should they feel guilty for wanting to feel good, whether it’s through masturbation or partnered sexual activity.

Contraception & STI safety

Safe sex might sound like an obvious topic to cover in sex ed. But get this: In actuality, only 39 states mandate HIV education. And only 22 states are required to teach HIV education that is “medically accurate”. That means that teachers are legally allowed to lie to students about HIV.

When it comes to contraception, only “20 states require provision of information on contraception,” while “39 states require provision of information on abstinence.” Sure, this is an improvement from the days where abstinence was the only method of birth control that any educator spoke of. The truth is, however, that in many parts of the country, this is still the case. 

There are still 9 states with absolutely no requirements of sex or HIV education. Within those 9 states, 5 of them are listed in the Top 12 states with the highest teen birth rates. The reality is that teenagers are going to have sex. It is their right to be educated on how to do it safely and responsibly. 

Puberty & Body Acceptance

An often overlooked component of sexuality education is a detailed understanding of how the human body changes during adolescence. Puberty is weird, uncomfortable, and confusing! Any level of understanding would, I’m sure, be welcomed by your average pimple-faced, armpit-sniffing teen. 

Biologically, puberty is a precursor to reproductive maturity. Hormonal and bodily changes that teens and pre-teens go through are directly related to their sexual experience. Understanding the function of all the weird things happening can help young people walk through this transition with less shame and more acceptance. 

Consent and Sexual Exploitation

If there’s one thing that I would have benefitted most from in sex education class, it would have been consent. It is unbelievably pertinent to the sex lives and sexual safety of young people. As a young person exploring my own sexuality, I found myself in so many situations in which my consent was compromised or unclear. At the time, I blamed myself for being fickle or careless or slutty. When in fact, I was just uneducated.

I wasn’t alone. Most of us weren’t taught the importance of intention and integrity when it comes to sex. And far too many times, things got out of hand and out of control. 

Young people fall victim to sexual exploitation every day. One place where this is extremely evident is on college campuses where one in five women experience sexual assault. It’s imperative that we teach sexual safety in order to reduce this number and promote healthy interactions between sexual partners. 

Healthy Relationships & Romance

Ah, puppy love. Learning to form our first adult relationships happens early for some. If that growth were accompanied by lessons learned about how to have healthy relationships, imagine how many traumatic experiences could be avoided. 

Sexuality education would address the ways in which sex, love, and dating are both related and independent from each other. Handling the emotions that occur alongside sexual desire could potentially curb heartbreak, rage, and maybe even save a few young love stories from sad endings. 

Whether love is happening or not, the emotional component of sex should not be ignored. It should be explored, studied, and paid attention in an encouraging and positive environment. 

Why Do We Need It?

We need comprehensive sexuality education because quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. Not on a large enough scale where its benefits can be measured and calculated.

Our society is progressing. Growth is inevitable. Our standards of sexual education should mirror the progress that we are showing. Think about the good it could do. Maybe comprehensive sexuality education would help a trans kid to rethink their suicidal ideation.  Maybe it would save a young girl from being a victim of revenge porn. Maybe a son or daughter or person could teach their parents something that they never knew about acceptance and identity. After all, knowledge is power, right? 

Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.

Allie Haze is the coolest, most down-to-earth person ever, and she’s also a really hot bisexual porn star. When it comes to squirting, Allie gets into the internal orgasms (aka the G-spot) and how you need to get over your fears around what comes out of a woman during female ejaculation. Let’s be real, if you have a killer orgasm, who cares what happens?
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october blog sex with emilySomething spooky this way comes—along with loads of sweet treats, sexy costumes and dazzlingly dark festivities to partake in. As prep time ticks down for the Halloween, why not also take a minute to relax and catch up on all the steamy happenings around us this October?

Sit back, let loose and pumpkin spice up your reading pleasure with this month’s rousing batch of sex in the news headlines!

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Right now, millions of couples around the world are having sex to conceive, or doing the “baby dance”. 

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boob medley breast blog sex with emilyOctober has officially landed! One of our favorite things about this month is that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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It’s always the thought that counts when it comes to exchanging gifts, which means a little creativity can be your best friend—especially when time is ticking and you’ve yet to secure a Valentine’s surprise!

That’s right, we’re looking at you, my procrastinating party people— we know this isn’t the first time you’ve almost dropped the ball. But the good news is there’s always an arsenal of sexy toys in reach. So, with just a little imagination (and the magic of same-day delivery), it’s not too late to still bring the heat this V-Day.

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Although Valentine’s Day is commonly known for decked-out dates and ritzy gifts, none of these elements are actually essential to having a truly bang-up, sexy time!

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