The secret to a great sex life: six people tell their story
Cycle asked various people if they consider their sex life great and what this means to them. Guess what. So many different people, so many different desires. There is no 1 clear answer. A great sex life differs for everyone, and that is wonderful.
Kim (40) has been living with Karin for two years now
I am bisexual and have always been very open minded. I looked at everything on my path and I simply just like people! When I first met Karin, she jokingly told me that she was still figuring out if she wanted to thread life as a man or as non-binary. I asked her if she was serious about acting on it and now the ‘door is open’. We both come from a small village and she didn’t feel as if she had the space to truly explore. Now, she can slowly feel that she has more room to truly figure out who she is and how she identifies: man, non-binary, or trans. Thankfully, it’s more accepted nowadays. It would’ve been nice if we were young in our current climate. For now, Karin would still like to be addressed as ‘she’ but, of course, this can always change.
In the beginning, it was especially exciting. We both came from a long relationship in which we both hadn’t had sex for a looooong time. Karin has also had unpleasant experiences in the past. The subject of consent is something we’re working on very consciously. What do you want, what do you like, and just as important, what not. Setting boundaries is something we truly discuss with each other. “Are you ok?” Now that we trust each other, we feel more comfortable communicating our feelings, to try new things, and to just be ourselves. There is no fixed frequency. It can go from daily to once a week, depending on how we are feeling. If we have a really busy week, we do try to make time for it.
It’s great that we are able to communicate about sex and intimacy this well. It allows us to explore together, which is very nice. We take sex toy quizzes and follow certain accounts for inspiration. Karin has noticed that taking a more ‘male role’ (often involving penetration) feels the most comfortable and natural to her. It’s so special to discover our preferences together. It simply makes our connection that much stronger.
Ruud (47) is married to Anna and together they have two kids
Intimacy is important to me: enjoying our time together and truly feeling each other in the process. A couple rounds of good sex is great to relieve stress, but that’s not intimacy. It’s an important aspect of my life. I am curious about it, I love it, and if it were up to me, I’d want it every day. Ever since we had kids, the lust and desire has disappeared for my wife. Both deliveries were difficult and with complications. Her self-image has also changed due to her changing body. Her becoming a bit plumper is no obstacle for me in any way, but she’s insecure about it. Talking about it is difficult for her as well. Things like these come easier to me.
But yet, I know how to truly enjoy my time, even if it’s just me by myself sometimes. I don’t only use masturbation to “release” tension, but also as a way to get to know myself on a deeper level. Kind of like meditation. The past year, I’ve been exploring what sex means and how it affects your body and mind. Especially in the field of Tantra. Maybe also with the silent hope that I can take my wife along in this journey of exploration so she, too, can feel how beautiful and special she is.
Eva (26) has been in a LAT relationship with Joris (29) for 1 year now.
In my previous relationship, I mainly thought that a good sex life meant having sex regularly. Sex was mostly for my partner, it mainly involved penetration and had little foreplay. I didn’t really think about my own desires and what I enjoyed. After a while, I felt like I hit a wall. I just didn’t feel like doing it just for the sake of the other person anymore. I had to discover and learn what I wanted. I noticed that (other circumstances playing a part as well) I could do this better on my own than together with someone else.
I was able to make a sex wish list and I promised myself to not forget my own desires again in a new relationship. Especially through communication with my partner, because my desires don’t have to be the same as those of someone else. It’s something to figure out together. And my god: it pays. While the conversations about sexual needs might feel a bit awkward and stiff at first, you learn how to make them more spontaneous and even more exciting. Practice makes perfect, both in communication and between the sheets ;).
Michelle (33) has two young kids and got a new partner 8 months ago.
I used to quite enjoy sex, but after my first pregnancy my need for sex has been on a steady decline and now, I don’t quite need it anymore. My days are pretty long with two young children who demand all my attention. I am happy when my head finally hits the pillow. It does happen at times, sporadically. Last October, for example, it happened twice, but sometimes it’s even less. But then it’s because he really tries and we end up having great sex.
This is something I struggled with for quite some time, because I thought I was weird. Sex was mostly to please the other person. At times, I wish my sex drive would return, but that would be more for the sake of my partner. I feel really bad for him that I just don’t miss it. Fortunately, he’s very understanding, although, at times, he’s a little sad about it. We do discuss it often. What he would like and what my needs are. We try to find the middle ground, making sure I don’t feel obliged. That’s something we both want to avoid.
Crystal (23) student and asexual.
I don’t have the need for sexual intimacy and I’m completely fine with that. I don’t feel any sexual attraction to other people. I just don’t and I never have. I can find someone appealing to see, but it’s never accompanied by any sexual desires.
I first noticed I was different from my friends when I was about 16. Sex was THE topic of discussion for most of my friends. They were all sexually active and talked about it. At the time, I had a boyfriend and after we’d been together for a year his friends started asking him if I’d had sex with him yet. They thought it was strange that we hadn’t yet. Which made me feel uncomfortable, because the desire to do IT just wasn’t there. I never really discussed this with my then boyfriend. In the end, I broke up with him, because I just couldn’t see a future together with him.
During my high school years, I frequently browsed through Tumblr and followed people with similar interests. I noticed that a lot of them were asexual and I remember seeing posts thinking “hey, that’s me!”. I started exploring myself more and I discovered that I was Asexual or ‘ace’. My parents know about it and my mother sees herself in me as well. I’m fine with hugs and kisses, but sex is just something I don’t want. I do masturbate at times, but only when I can’t sleep. It helps me fall asleep, but aside from that, I don’t feel much else.
I can fall in love, just without the sexual attraction. I’d like to have a relationship, because I do feel romantic attraction. I am not ‘aro’. I can see myself living together with my best friend. I am very close to her.
Everyone experiences their asexuality differently. I am very secure in my feelings now, but it can take a while before you’ve found yourself. There’ll also be many times you’ll doubt yourself whether you’re actually asexual or not. People often react with comments like “oh, that’ll come when you’re older” or, “you just haven’t found the right person yet”. My advice is to ignore those comments and to explore for yourself. And remember, what you experience right now, doesn’t have to be what you’ll experience in the future. Your identity is fluid and can change with time. Do you want to know more about asexuality and being ‘ace’ and ‘aro’? You can read more about it in this article, where we explain.
Susan (49), has been single for 1.5 years now and is dating.
After a marriage of nearly 30 years, it unfortunately ended 1.5 years ago. I first met my ex-husband when I was 21 and I was pretty inexperienced sexually. I thought I had a pretty great sex life. Sometimes we did it 10 times a week and other times once in a few months. Now that I’m single and dating again, I noticed that there is so much more to it than I thought. I’m getting to know myself all over again. I’m going through a kind of sexual revolution!
Right now, I’m mostly just enjoying my body. And wow, am I doing things I’d never been able to even consider. This phase is very special, it’s like an awakening. I know who I am now and I feel secure. Now that I’m older and less prudish, I’m more open to trying out new things. I truly make love with my entire heart, like I do with all things in life. Sex just for the sake of sex is not for me. I do have to have feelings for a man, but when I do, I fully go for it. For the past year and a half, I've dated 6 men. That number can change quite quickly, but I don’t date multiple people at the same time. Way too complicated for me.
I truly feel sexually liberated. Of course, I realize that I am still dealing with the divorce and, therefore, I try to focus on the positive. You have to keep looking at yourself and learn from the experience as well. That I feel like a teen at times, is simply part of it. It’s complicated, fun, tiring and delightful.
Do you want to know more about how you can better talk about your sex life? Check out our practical tips for do’s and don’ts for the bedroom.
Want to give your sex life a boost with a toy? How do you introduce them into your bedroom? We give you tips that you can find here.
Note editorial staff: The names have been anonymized, but are known by the editorial staff.