With each passing holiday season, gift certificates for Botox have grown increasingly acceptable as tokens of good cheer. We guess that’ll help out all those Americans whose New Year’s resolution is “get younger.” We were so depressed by this news (what’s next, jars of stem-cell collagen in the stocking?) that we decided to conduct our own unscientific poll about people’s sex-related resolutions for 2006.
Fortunately, no one we interviewed is vowing to “work on positions that make me look younger.” Nor do any of our respondents plan on having more sex, surprisingly. This year, at least, it’s a matter of quality over quantity—it turns out that most people are getting plenty, but they have a sneaking suspicion that it could be better. (Hey, even well-laid New Yorkers aren’t immune to the self-help culture.)
Chris, a thirtysomething mother of a 2-year-old, who’s probably had a more active sex life over the past two years than most women her age without kids, is going to be seriously proactive about improvement. “I’m planning the whole make-monogamy-exciting-again thing,” she explains. “A weekend away from the child, new lingerie, new toys, new toys for him, some role play, possibly drugs, if I ever stop breast-feeding . . . ”
How people define quality varies dramatically—it doesn’t necessarily have a feel-good, self-helpy, women’s-magazine bent. Take David’s resolution: “To locate my wife’s former promiscuity and convince her it’s okay to be a ‘slut’ in contemporary times.” They’re both 24: she with 75 partners under her belt; he . . . not so many. Once they married, she became a strict monogamist. “My goal is lofty yet, I think, reasonable: to watch her have sex with another man and eventually participate in a mostly male five-way with my wife in the middle.” Before you pooh-pooh his desire, hear his reasoning. “Seeing the person I love get off, feel pleasure, and simply have fun does more for me than any orgasm of my own,” he says. “Also, I want to outdo anything she has done, create new and more extreme stories together, and maybe not feel so far behind.” Of course, this sounds like a possible case of “be careful what you wish for.” (He’s promised to check back in 2007 with a full report.)
In many cases, people seem to think the way to achieve better sex is simply to have less bad sex. Lisa, a 32-year-old “career student,” is planning to give up her online exploits in raunchy chat rooms. “I don’t think it’s the most healthy relationship given (1) where we met and (2) the fact we will never meet in person.” She adds, “So I guess my real resolution is to try and meet real live men instead of investing my sexual energy in the Internet. But, hey, it gives me something to blog about.”
Not surprisingly, more women than men told us they are dedicated to ending regrettable sex.
“I’ve decided that for the new year, I want to only have sex within a committed relationship,” says Cristina, a 23-year-old design student. But why, if she’s had uncommitted sex and enjoyed it? “I’ve realized my biggest obstacle in finding friendship and love in a stable relationship has been my impulsivity in jumping in the sack.” In line with the old purity ideal, she’s calling this resolution “an emotional and physical cleansing—like getting my virginity back.”
The cynical among us might assume Cristina’s impediment to love has something to do with the belief that guys don’t consider girls who put out on the first or second date “girlfriend material.” But our trusty professional “bad boy” Steve, a writer who never tells his age, begs to differ: “It’s not how fast a woman has sex with me, it’s the way she has sex with me the first time.” If he feels he has manipulated or tricked her into sleeping with him, she’s decidedly not girlfriend material. “But if we’re having sex on her terms and it’s clearly her decision, then there’s just as good a chance of me falling in love with her as with anyone I might wait several dates to sleep with.”
Unexpectedly, sex within a committed relationship is this ladies’ man’s resolution, too, just like Cristina’s. He tells us, “This year, I’m going to try something very ‘un–bad boy’ and fall in love. I’m going to see if there is a woman out there who can change me.”
Will he be successful? According to a recent survey, only 8 percent of resolution- makers are 100 percent successful. We asked one woman with a sex-related resolution for 2005 how she fared: “Last year I vowed to find a man to help me clean out the cobwebs that had accumulated in my cha-cha after so many years.” It didn’t work out, though she says she did have some “interesting” dates. And as for this year? “I’m reaffirming my vow to be a dedicated spinster.”