The Love Goddess: To Bed or Not to Bed, That Is the Question

Editor’s Note: Who is the wisest of them all? Who is more dedicated to your pleasure than anyone on earth? Who can help you when you’re going online for the first time to find love; or when your lover’s children hate you; or when you want to strangle your husband? Why, the Love Goddess, of course. She promises nothing less than celestial wisdom, heavenly sex, divine dating. Read on …

Ah, just when the Reverend Ed Young suggested last week that parishioners have daily sex for one week, the writer Lauren Slater suggests (in Sunday’s New York Times Style Section) that married couples be given a reprieve from the focus on sex; and that she, for one, never much went in for married sex anyway. Protesting the notion that in order to be considered a loving wife she should want to love her husband physically — and that, as she puts it, “he wants hot sex. I turned tepid long, long ago …” — Ms. Slater asks not why couples don’t go get it on daily, but rather, why not help married couples with “a prohibition or two — no touching allowed until Tuesday,” because, she says, “longing springs from distance.”

While the Reverend Young illustrated the unlikely — a minister urging his flock to go home and go at it — Ms. Slater illustrates the unspeakable, the true feelings fueling those tireless magazine articles exhorting readers to “Put the Spark Back into Marriage!” and offering “Ten Ways to Turn Him On!” — as though love depended on figuring out how to stay sexual, or, in Ms. Slater’s case, how to become sexual. And as though love — all love, in whatever way it’s experienced — were not sacred. The joys of love, she feels, are apportioned equally to the bedrooms of lovers and the bedrooms of your beloved, sleeping children.

I applaud these brave people — the minister, for hoping that, by getting married lovers into bed with each other they will want more sex, and the writer for admitting that, as much as she loves her man and her marriage, more sex isn’t what she wants. Aren’t we trying, all of us, to find as much joy as we can in our lives together — by all the means of loving we have at our disposal? And shouldn’t we applaud those who love with more sex AND those who love with less? Isn’t desire unique, idiosyncratic and not anyone else’s business anyway? Just as some of us have more of an impulse toward the maternal than others (and aren’t allowed to admit it, for fear of seeming unwomanly), don’t some of us have more of an impulse toward the sexual (ditto)? And who’s to say which love is ultimately the more satisfying, or the more binding?

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