Sex always felt like a nighttime activity.
Not that I was intellectually opposed to a little afternoon delight. It just… never seemed to happen.
There were always pets to be fed and walked, work to do, errands to run, meals to enjoy and probably have a little too much of. Plus, I felt a little bashful about being so visible in the light of day. At least at night I didn’t have to worry about a pimple on my butt or if I got lax with shaving.
The dark covered a multitude of sins.
Weekend mornings were different, of course. When you’re not contractually obligated to be out of bed by a particular deadline, a little morning loll sounds better than breakfast.
To my dismay, however, I spent more than a few years with someone who didn’t much care for getting sticky in the early hours. Morning breath was often cited as the critical issue. Mints on the endtable were a possible solution, but were rarely kept there, and if you’re going to get up and trudge across the apartment to brush your teeth, you might as well just start the day.
Despite my science background, I took my sample size of one to be representative of a greater rule. Morning sex was a special dispensation, I learned, not something to simply be enjoyed on its own merits.
But then I started living with a new partner.
For the first six months, the nights were delicious. We were excited to live together, and our worries felt pretty small. It was easy to scamper off to the bedroom a little early at night and wrap ourselves around each other.
Then the pandemic went from a possibility to all-encompassing. How we lived changed. My partner lost her job. I worried about groceries, rent, and if I might lost my job, too. (I would a few months later.) Worry piled on top of worry through each day.
By the time we got to the night, when we felt relaxed enough to do anything we might actually enjoy, we felt too tired and too overwhelmed. “Let’s get some good sleep and maybe we’ll feel better tomorrow.” I can’t even count how many times we said that, hoping it would be true.
We didn’t like the disconnect. And maybe from the outside, the solution would have seemed simple. But you have to remember that what happens between — or over — the covers is more emotional than logical.
Over years, I’d been taught that daytime sex was undesirable and practically required an apology in advance. Bed head, the whiff of sweat, and unbrushed mouths made the whole experience unattractive. I worried I was gross and undesirable.
Thankfully, my girlfriend and I found a way out.
While the career turbulence added no small amount of stress, staying in bed a little longer, up close, led to touching, and then to those pleasant little noises that tend to build, and, simply by shrugging and doing it anyway, the morning became the best time to reconnect.
The lingerie in the dresser went unworn. The floggers on the wall stayed there. This wasn’t elaborate, extravagant sex. No fancy lights or outfits or plans. Just touch as the sun started to rise over the eastern mountains.
I started to believe my girlfriend that all those things I was worried about didn’t really matter. And it was actually nice to do things early, when the whole day seemed to stretch out ahead of us, instead of trying to carve out time later. Especially if we wanted to take a little nap after.
When you’re with someone for a long time, it can feel like you pick up sexual skills as you go. You level up. But that’s not really true. There is no absolute skill tree to work through. You’re learning how to have sex with that specific person, whether you know it or not — not just the how, but also the when, informed and influenced by your partner.
If that relationship ends, you can’t just port everything over to someone new. What they enjoy, or don’t, is probably going to be quite different in one way or another. Despite being so vital for many of us, sex can suddenly seem confusing and frightening. I’m doing what worked before, so why does this feel… off?
I won’t say that I don’t miss regularly exercising my service top skills. I still love coming up with a savory menu that my girlfriend and I can enjoy by moonlight. But with stress levels turned to 11 for just about everything, I’d rather churn the sheets at 8AM than wait for 8PM and realize we’re both too tired and out-of-it to do much more than cuddle.
Every night, before I go to bed, I place a glass of water on the nightstand. Just in case I get thirsty at night. Or, more likely, that I need a quick rinsing gulp before I look at my girlfriend’s smirking face and say “Good morning.”