What is a sex fast and should you try it?

Dorothy Black talks about the time she tried to lay off the sex for the good of her relationship…

sex fast

I tried a sex fast once. It lasted a week. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that we made it to, maybe, about five days.

I’ve never been good at diets.

So you can imagine my amazement when I read that actor and footballer, Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca King Crews, went on a 90-DAY sex fast. That’s THREE MONTHS.

Excuse the caps, but I need to emphasise the extreme dedication that this length of sex fast takes. Because a sex fast is not a quiet, unthinking slip into dead bedroom syndrome, it’s a very conscious decision that requires a ton of focus and commitment.

Look, maybe ‘sex fast’ is a bit misleading. You’re not torn away from all things intimate and cosy so that you become love starved. Think of it rather like a reset button on your sex and romantic life: for a period of time you both agree to lay off sex (penetrative, oral, manual) and focus instead on cuddles and kissing and talking.

The idea is that this will strengthen, and rejuvenate, the full spectrum of your interaction

So you’re not ‘going without’, you’re just shifting your shared energy into bonding behaviours that are not focused on ‘getting each other off’. The idea is that this will strengthen, and rejuvenate, the full spectrum of your interaction.

This can be particularly useful for couples who have fallen into a bedroom sex rut or for long-term monogamists. And Terry and Rebecca, with 25 years and five kids behind them, are about as long term as they get these days I reckon.

Maybe I tried my sex fast at the wrong time – about five months into a new relationship.

It seemed like a fun thing to try and I was hoping to work through a number of these sorts of long-term couple sex experiments: a sex fast, then sex only whenever he wants, then sex only whenever I want, then no-orgasm sex…

As I said, I got five days into the sex fast.

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And the rest? Well, we’ve touched on each in week-long spurts of interest over the past year. Even I have to admit that being switched on sexually is sometimes a lot harder work than just falling into bed for a quick shag before rolling over for some zzzzs.

Even so, I’ve found that these short bouts of experimentation keep the necessary conversations going and the important physical intimacies flowing. It’s a point that Terry raises in his comment on men and intimacy:

‘Every man has a desire for intimacy,’ he told Huffington Post. ‘You’re not looking for porn. You’re looking for someone to know you and love you at the same time. That’s all you want – every man out there. But he’s scared sometimes. That’s why men put up big fronts.’

The idea of a sex fast means that both individuals are required to focus on that building – and rekindling – that intimacy for each other.

And I can really dig that. For myself, I hope to give it a proper try in about five years.

This column was first published on Women24.com