Charity sex

By Heidi Raykeil

The other night I was enjoying some "me" time, curled up on the couch watching the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy, meanwhile, my husband was tossing and turning in bed, stressed out over his latest work project. Frankly, between McDreamy and McSteamy, I was already pretty satisfied. But if I know one thing about my husband, it's that sex helps him sleep. So I put down the remote and headed upstairs to take one for the team. That's right: I had charity sex. And you know what? It was actually pretty hot.

I believe that charity sex is just what its name suggests: it's a gift you give to your partner, and to yourself. Maybe you do it because he's all wound up and sex relaxes him. Maybe you do it because she's feeling a little down, and sex gives her a boost. Or maybe you do it because, like some 41 million Americans, you've both gone too many days, weeks, or even months without sex. It's really easy to put sex out of your mind and focus on other things (work, kids, money, and yes, even Grey's).

It's a lot harder to get it back in. Fortunately, there's nothing like a little charity to help lift you out of a rut.

Here's how to make the most of it:

Don't confuse charity with pity. As someone who's had my share of both charity sex and pity sex, I can tell you they're nothing alike. Pity sex is the bone you throw your spouse to stop him (or her) from nagging you about sex. You want it? Fine. Here. Now shut the heck up, already. As you might imagine, this can leave you both feeling pretty resentful. On the other hand, charity sex is something you do to reestablish a connection with your partner and to make an investment in your relationship. Think of it this way: Pity sex is about checking sex off your to-do list. Charity sex is about checking in with each other.

Fake it 'till you make it. No, I'm not advocating that you fake an orgasm. But there's something to be said for putting in a little effort. With charity sex, you may not initially feel like you're in the mood. And really, if you waited for desire to arrive before having sex, you could be waiting a very long time. Instead, take a leap and start going through the motions. Before you know it, your desire will likely catch up. As Emily Nagoski has written in the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms, "There is only one kind of orgasm. Sure, you can achieve it all different sorts of ways. But in the end, an orgasm is simply the explosive release of sexual tension. The destination is more important than the journey. So if one path doesn't get you there, try another." Putting your body through the moves of faking one could actually lead to having one.

Forget about the big "O." Yes, yes, I know. Why have sex if you're not getting a big payoff? Well, for starters, making an orgasm your goal puts a lot of pressure on both of you. And remember, this is a gift. So stop worrying about your orgasm, and start focusing on the sexy sights, sounds and sensations you're experiencing. Enjoy the process and stop stressing about the destination, and you might just get there anyway.

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