Is Divorce Contagious? Sexpert Couple Explores Longterm Married Life

Looks like they've caught it.
Looks like they've caught it.

For those of you who don't follow the machinations of Burning Man, the annual festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, this column may not hold as much meaning as those "in the know," so to speak. For us, however, this year's event is bittersweet for two reasons; first, the event sold out for the first time in its history and we happened to have tickets firmly in hand, and second it was to be our last venture to the playa for at least 2 or 3 years as we'd decided beforehand to take a break (seven in a row merits it, no?). We've made many friends over all these years of attending and seeing them one last time amidst the dust and heat was something we'd been looking forward to for many months.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We think Freddy's made his way to the playa this week after all. He always finds a way!

Alas, we made the decision to give up our passes and skip our 10 day odyssey this year to focus more energy (and financial resources) to our store reopening, which is on schedule for early September. There's a lots to be done, including painting, installing new flooring, acquiring display furniture, and building our podcasting studio to name a few tasks, and taking such an extended period to basically party away didn't seem prudent.

Call it being responsible, as it were. Of course, we fully intend to transfer our playa energies into a grand opening to end all grand openings, complete with special invitees (and Burners like us who couldn't make it) encouraged to wear their finest costumes. A Hug Deli, perhaps? Lots of ideas are swirling, to be sure, and we hope anyone reading these words will come out to play and share some fun.

According to most surveys, the top two reasons for divorce revolve around money (No. 1) and SEX (a close second). The latter can include infidelity, lack of activity, physical impairment and myriad other sub-categories of sexual dysfunction; but the fundamental cause revolves around the "dirty deed."

In our 23 years (and counting) together, we've unfortunately seen more than a few breakups, many of which involved sex (or lack thereof), but lately it seems these splits are becoming alarmingly frequent and closer to home, so to speak. Good friends who we thought were solid couples, even more so than ourselves, have been dropping out of the marriage game and leaving us dumbstruck.

In fact, being so experienced in the sexuality industry and exposed to countless therapists and counselors, we'd have thought our collective radar would be more in tune with cracks and fissures in relationships around us. Some had even been regulars at our former shop and seemed to convey senses of nice chemistry and intimacy.

Sexual chemistry is only part of it.
Sexual chemistry is only part of it.

And then, BAM! We hear the husband or wife has moved out, an affair was ongoing (one case even breaking up another couple), or they just decided to call it quits after figuring out there hadn't been decent sex ever.

At Burning Man last year, for example, the husband of one of our dearest camp mates had been sneaking out to communicate (via spotty cell service, no less) with his mistress the whole week! And just a few months ago, the neighborhood "perfect couple" filed for divorce and called it a day after 19 years of seemingly joyous matrimony; no one even suspected they hadn't had satisfactory sex in years, least of all us, who sold them lubes, vibrators and other items we thought were being put to good use.

It gives us pause and prompts us to wonder if we're delusional and living on borrowed time, ourselves. Will our own sexual intimacy eventually suffer and bring down our marriage? Is there an expiration - not in years per say - but in energy, that every pairing will face and either break up (or simply suffer through until death does us part)?

We'd love to say communication is where the solution lies, but that would be disingenuous and patronizing at the very least; human relationships - of all types - are difficult beasts to tame. Relatives can go years without speaking over seemingly minor squabbles; friendships end over trivial matters; business partnerships go south over ego-driven conflicts. It's a wonder couples make it as long as they do.

Adding sex to the equation only complicates things further and no conversation (or series of conversations) is going to put two people of such diverse life experiences into love forever without many difficulties along the way. We've managed to survive this many years due to a combination of optimistic attitudes toward life in general, difficult compromises, and, let's face it, a bit of luck along the way.

Our sex life, while not the same as two decades ago, continues to evolve as we age, with the two of us trying to adjust as each year passes; holding hands and walking can now be every bit as sexy as tearing off the clothes, a soft kiss on the couch during "Glee" makes for great foreplay, and a sweet scoop of Pinkberry rivals any orgasm we can muster.

Still, we soldier on, hoping to avoid the divorce disease and ride this adventure to its eventual conclusion, whatever that may be.

Now, about those damned finances...

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >