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classes at Physique 57 on weekdays—the number will elicit some kind of judgment.
It’s true that the “happier couples have more sex” theory has gotten a lot of play, but earlier this month, a study at Carnegie Mellon found that nobody actually bothered to look into whether the correlation between sex and happiness was a chicken/egg thing rather than cause and effect.
“He's happy with [the frequency], although I'm sure if we had a few weeks of just twice a week, he'd be disappointed.” (And, she admits, “I’d freak out a little.”)But on the bright side—if this is a bright side—not a single woman I spoke to said that she had a better (read: more orgasmic) sex life when she was single.
“I couldn't get my ‘itch scratched,’” says Lisa, “But my husband is pretty great at scratching.” And Veronica’s sometimes-monastic experience as a twentysomething single woman in New York is really common: “I'd go through random dry spells of like a month or two without so much as kissing someone, let alone having actually interacted with a penis.”Orgasms, for many women, are elusive, and understanding this should shift the focus onto quantity rather than quality—if you’re having sex with your boyfriend once a week, and having an orgasm, why should that indicate your relationship is inferior to someone who sleeps with her boyfriend five nights a week and doesn’t come at all?
Grief over childlessness for a single woman in her thirties and forties is not as accepted.
But then there were times, lonely days and nights, when I would cry. I would lie in bed awake for hours, tears running onto my pillow. Having experienced the same feeling for a few years, I now know the grief was over being childless, or more poignantly, over the loss of the baby I never held in my arms.
I not only have to cope with my circumstantial infertility, but I have to defend my desire to be married to someone I'm crazy about before conceiving.
I have to defend why I'm not a mother when it's all I ever wanted to be.
This type of grief, grief that is not accepted or that is silent, is referred to as disenfranchised grief. Not having my own, I felt like the world, in one big swoop, was moving forward and I was being held back. Being an aunt was (and will probably always be) my greatest joy.
It's the grief you don't feel allowed to mourn, because your loss isn't clear or understood. But losses that others don't recognize can be as powerful as the kind that is socially acceptable. When you're over 35 and heartbroken over a breakup with the guy who you hoped would be 'the one' or haven't had a good date in a while or watch your close friends go on to their second or third pregnancy, it's hard. Starting my own business, becoming an author and fulfilling my professional potential have been extraordinarily rewarding. Becoming a mother at this point would be a very happy surprise. That hard-won peace of mind can be interrupted by an unexpected package from a PR agency sending me a newborn baby onesie for promotion.