Somewhere in my 5th year of marriage, I realized I could no longer stand the thought of kissing him.
I can't really pinpoint why; it was just there one day, that disgust over having to kiss him, and I couldn't shake it to save my life.
It was particularly odd because for our first few years together, his kisses were toe-curlingly sexy and lovely. But now they just seemed heavy on the saliva, and light on the zing.
Fast on the heels of this realization, my sex drive left entirely. Just vanished. It ghosted me like a bad boyfriend. I don't know what caused it. I do know that as the years passed he became complacent in sex, just doing a bit of foreplay so he could get to the big stuff. He used to spend hours stroking my body, almost worshipping it, and then suddenly it was a few pats and his fingers were in my crotch, madly shoving around, trying to get to the good stuff.
I began giving more blowjobs so I could get out of kissing him. I especially couldn't bear to kiss him when we were in the missionary position, so I also started turning over so he'd f*ck me from behind. Anything to keep from kissing him. Anything.
He didn't really notice. Somehow, that was the worst of it. The fact that he didn't see any noticeable change in my behavior, that he just plowed on like everything was fine, was infuriating. It made me like sex even less, if that was even possible. It made me hate him, too. I was so angry.
I realized one day that he'd also stopped touching me unless it was for sex. No longer did he stroke my hair, rub my back, or even hold my hand. In the evenings at home we sat far apart, heads down into our phones, ignoring each other completely.
Eventually the space between sessions of sex began to grow. A week. Two weeks. A month. Six weeks. Two months. We began fighting; it was then that someone told me (someone who'd been married for a while) that men equate sex with love and if you don't have sex with them they feel unloved.
I realized the flip side of this is that I need to feel loved to want sex. We were trapped in a relationship catch-22. We both felt neglected.
I went to therapy and begged my therapist to tell me what was wrong with me, how could my sex drive, once so vigorous, simply shut off like that? What was I doing wrong? We talked about how women hate their bodies, how I felt about the changes aging was causing to my body, how my once fabulous rack now sags a bit toward my waist.
My husband told his therapist that I was cruel and wouldn't sleep with him. The therapists both said we should talk to each other. They offered group sessions. We quit going.
We tried new things. We bought a vibrator, a really good one. He tied me up. I tied him up. These things helped mostly because they included a prolonged foreplay. It was the foreplay I wanted, but I couldn't quite manage to persuade him that he'd stopped doing foreplay during "regular" sex.
He kept saying, "But I kiss you! I touch you! What do you mean we don't do foreplay?"
"Thirty seconds playing with my nipples isn't really enough foreplay," I told him. After that, I could see him counting in his head. It just made it worse.
Then, unexpectedly, we had a breakthrough. We were traveling out of state and landed in California, where marijuana is legal. Giggling like school kids, we got our hands on some edibles and headed back to the hotel. As the drug zinged through us, we found ourselves languorously making love. Long strokes on skin, deep kisses, slow and deep love-making that took over two hours.
I didn't think once about how my body looked. His kisses no longer disgusted me; they were once again toe-curling and lovely. He was generous and patient with me, teasing me mercilessly and letting me take my time.
I lavished love on him with mouth and fingers and more, and we got to heights never before reached. It was a miracle.
We relaxed together after, talking and laughing like we hadn't in years. It broke something open that had been closed. Even without marijuana now, we have good sex again. But we also enjoy savoring it a bit after a nibble of the "special" brownies we snuck home.
Best of all, we kiss. Frequently, and often. We hold hands. We smile at each other, and sit close while we both bury ourselves in our phones. It came back. It turns out it can come back. What a blessing.