If there ever was a good place for wantonness, it would be in marriage, yet I hear time and time again about how boring marital sex can be.
You’re supposed to be able to be yourself with your partner and free to take risks to try something new. He’s in bed with you when you fart in your sleep, for crying out loud. She washes your underwear. You don’t have anything left to hide.
And yet, when it comes to sex, many couples go on doing the same things, time after time, afraid to ask for what they want, afraid to experiment.
There’s a reason for it, though.
You get dependent on your partner. You grow to rely on your partner for identity, affirmation, comfort, and direction. Remember what I’ve been saying about differentiation? Over our childhood we grew more independent of the people taking care of us. For many people, this reaches a peak in early adulthood when they get a job, get an apartment, and stop calling their mother so often. They look outside the family and hook up with someone whom their father may not approve. This looks like the height of independence. Then they get married and treat their spouse as if he or she were their mother. This is a setback that screws up sex because you can’t have good sex with your mother.
It’s easier to have hot sex with a stranger; you may never see that person again. You can grunt and groan, take risks, propose gymnastic positions, make insatiable demands, debase yourself, be as slutty as you want because there’s nothing to lose. She won’t need to talk about it, he won’t worry who you’d do that with next. And yet, sex with a stranger proves hollow, it’s a pale imitation of the real thing.
Having sex with your spouse brings your conflicts about love, intimacy, carnality, and spirituality right to the surface with the person you might be dependent on. Passionate marriage requires that you are OK with that, it requires that you become an adult.