Put Out or Get Out

After the age of forty or so, you think you’ve heard all the good
lines. At least that’s what I thought until the prince (at the time
still my younger boyfriend), uttered, “couples should see each other at
least three times a week.” This was said with an air of authority and
surety, like a cop pulling you over for a speeding violation, sirens
shrieking and lights flashing crazily.
Now on the surface this may seem a reasonable statement. But let’s
deconstruct everything. For starters, the prince is 28. I’m 47. We’d
been together a year. Before you go off getting all “up and judgy” on
that, just remember, nothing is as it seems. Life is a mystery.
I looked at the white wall in front of me as I pressed the phone to my
ear, the words reverberating in my head. My brows furrowed slowly.
“Where’d you get that stupid rule?” I said spitting out the word ‘stupid.’ I sounded like an angry toddler.
“You don’t think a precondition of a relationship is actually seeing each other?” he said.
“Well, uh, I, hmmm.” I didn’t have a comeback. In the heat of the
moment, my words always came later. Like a week later. At which point,
it’s a “lateback” and useless. But I digress.
I blurted out something about how I didn’t put pressure on him when he got busy.
“That’s because I always make time for you,” he said quickly. “I schedule you in.”
I didn’t like his superior sounding ways. “You don’t schedule me in,” I
said reaching through the phone for his juggler. “You schedule sex in.
And when I’m not available you just get mad and then cut me off.” I
huffed. “Admit it,” I said, “You’re breaking up because you’re not
getting enough sex.”
He sighed deeply. “Even though you’re right,” he said, “I’m not getting enough sex, this isn’t about sex and you know it.”
I kept drilling on the same tooth, so to speak, but it was useless.
“I’m done," he said. I can’t take this anymore.”
I don’t take rejection well and spent the rest of the night wallowing.
I was thinking about a) Is that how it goes for the booty call
generation? Does having sex means having a relationship and well,
that's all you have to do? (b) Is this what cougar life is cracked up
to be? Not that I really consider myself a cougar but I thought it’d be
easier than this. (c) Is it possible to just keep a relationship
“light” once sex is part of the picture? Does sex automatically make
the attachment deeper and more complicated, or is that just my little
problem?
I didn’t have any answers. So I called Kate, a good friend with a
couple of kids and the kind of husband who will wake her up in the
middle of the night to dance naked under the full moon.
“How come you got a good marriage,” I asked sniffling. “You putting out regularly?”
Kate laughed. “Ok, what’s going on?”
I explained how I had just been dumped because I was too busy working to deliver sex three times a week.
“That’s so funny,” she said. “When my husband and I were first married,
he said that he had to have sex three times a week. It was his only
non-negotiable.”
“What a pig,” I said, “I can’t believe you still married him.”
“I told him my non-negotiable was sex at least every day.”
“Great, you're a pig, too,” I screamed, “Am I the only one who can’t figure out how to make time for sex?”
“Sleeping together in the same bed every night definitely helps,” she consoled.
“There’s got to be more to it than that,” I said. “Can I hire people to organize all the crazy crap in my head?”
“You have to care about the other person’s needs,” Kate said seriously.
“Which means they have to feel safe enough to tell you what those are.
After my husband told me about his sex schedule, it made things a lot
easier. Now when he picks a stupid fight, the first thing I consider,
is this sexual frustration talking or something else?”
“Then what do you do?” I asked. “Pacify him with a blow job?”
“If I have to,” Kate said matter-of-factly. “You do what it takes.”
“Geesh,” I said huffily. “You’re so perfect. And such a martyr,” I mumbled under my breath.
I got off the phone with her and plopped on the bed. If Kate is right,
I thought to myself, a woman needs only one relationship book. It’s
short and it goes something like this, ‘put out or get out.’ (And don't
tell me that's just the hurt talking.)

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