Have a Very Awkward Valentine's Day

Have a Very Awkward Valentine's Day

Alisa Eddy |

My partner in life and love is also my cofounder at our startup Joosi, and months of 12 hours work days have turned the entire house into a 24/7 office. There’s no respite, and now there’s no sex. Having a startup is a lot like having a three year old. I’m having work discussions from the shower, from the toilet, at pillowtalk time; the ‘baby business’ is needy and inescapable and always getting into mischief. It’s February, the season of love, and we officially hit our dryest streak in 6 years together by going a few weeks without sex.

It’s on our radar. In between meetings we’re talking about how we’re not having sex. Okay, so problem acknowledged, but what do you do about it? Is it a problem to be solved? There’s emotional labor in the inquiry: Is there an underlying issue or is it the obvious culprit of stress and busyness and antidepressants? Should we be worried? What does it mean about us as a couple? These questions invite terrifying possibilities that my anxiety happily takes up and paralyzing rumination begins. And now we can add the pressure of Valentine’s Day.

If there’s nothing ‘wrong’, and we just got out of the habit, we should be able to jump right back in for Valentine’s Day, right? Wrong. It feels hard to do. When you go too long without sex, an insidious dynamic sets in and you lose your comfort and familiarity with each other. And if you’re like me, you also have a crisis of confidence. Do they even want to have sex with me? Do they still find me desirable? Now the sex is high stakes, with your personal value and your Valentine’s Day insta post hanging in the balance. No pressure.

To head this off, my partner had the great idea of scheduling a pre-Valentine’s sex date. We put it on the calendar for 3:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday. We had enough time to prepare physically and mentally. We were both brave and we showed up, ready to be vulnerable with each other. And the sex was…awkward. It felt disjointed and unsure, surely a symptom of our self-doubt lurking at the margins. It ended without a bang. I felt a little disappointed and insecure. But. Even though it wasn’t our best sexcapade, I also felt good about it.

As we dressed I realized we could mistakenly leave this encounter feeling like a failure. I took a chance in the moment and said, ”Well that was a little awkward. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we did it.” I held my breath waiting for the response and he gave an emphatic, “Totally.” Phew! We’re still a team. And really, it is about showing up. We committed to coming back to each other and we followed through and we got through the clunky reunion at 3:30 on a Wednesday (and no doubt failure to set the mood contributed to the awkwardness). It moved us forward.

The next week my partner was masturbating and I had the comfort and confidence to walk in and say, "I can give you some real pussy if you want it.” I got another emphatic “Totally.” And that sex was pretty darn good, even if I do say so myself. We got through the awkward reboot so we could get back to the good stuff. Twice that week; it’s a start.

This Valentine’s Day, it might be your first time in a while. You might be rusty and it might be fucking awkward. And that’s okay. There’s no way out but through. Agreeing to overcome the inertia together is how you’ll find your way back to each other. I hope you do.