Disneyland has played an integral role in Doug’s and my relationship. We went on one of our first official dates there, on an overnight trip with what felt like his entire extended family: ten people crammed into one economy suite. We were still in that stage of our relationship where he didn’t have to work hard to impress me, and so impress me he did, by pretending to walk into light-posts and trash-cans to make his younger cousins laugh, and by spontaneously salsa dancing with me in the middle of the Downtown Disney sidewalk. We cuddled in every line, and shared churro after churro, taking turns licking the cinnamon and sugar off each other’s lips.
On this most recent trip, we only shared one churro, which I held out for Doug to bite while his hands were full of baby. It was too hot to cuddle, and even holding hands was a nuisance, since I didn’t want to be associated with Doug as he “accidentally” bumped into people who weren’t paying attention to where they were walking. (Although, I’ll admit, this cocky recklessness still makes me laugh. It’s just that now I’d rather watch the spectacle from a few safe feet away.)
And then when we parted ways with our group at the end of the night, after being sent off with the instruction to “enjoy [our] romantic evening,” Doug and I went back to the expensive hotel room Dawn had gotten for us, climbed into the crisp white bed with its down comforter and mountain of pillows, pressed our warm, tired bodies against each other… and fell asleep.
I can’t pinpoint the moment that sex removed itself from our relationship repertoire. It was more like a series of moments, a series of really good excuses, actually: I was pregnant and my cervix was inflamed and it bled if we touched it and the bleeding terrified me; I was waiting for the other shoe to drop on the non-existence of a baby and meanwhile trying not to miscarry; I had just had surgery and wasn’t supposed to put anything in my vagina for a week; I was about to get my IUD inserted and was supposed to avoid sex for two weeks prior; I had just had my IUD inserted, and was having cramping and spotting and didn’t feel sexy; I was depressed that we had lost the baby; the pregnancy, however brief, had interfered with my natural lubrication system and now I felt like a dried-up old woman; the IUD was giving me yeast infections and sex hurt; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, it seems, any excuse is a “really good” excuse: we don’t have time; I’m too tired; we have to wake up early; it’s too hot out; I haven’t showered; I just showered; I just ate; you need to shave; it’s too much effort to get undressed…
Really, though, what all these excuses come down to is this: the point of sex, scientifically speaking, is to make babies. We are animals, biologically programmed to procreate our species – this is why men want sex all the time, to sow their seed, while most women tend to want it more cyclically, when we’re ovulating and, therefore, fertile. As for me in my current incarnation, I’ve reduced the possibility of conception to a tenth of a percent. Which means that sex, for me, for now, is nothing but a pantomime, and I really cannot be bothered.
Still, when we were standing in line Thursday night, I happened to glance over the shoulder of a guy about my age, who was at Disneyland with his relatives, and read the text he’d just gotten from his girlfriend. “U made my legs shake,” it said. And it made me a little jealous, and a little nostalgic, remembering that there was a time – not so very long ago after all – when my legs used to shake sometimes, too.