How do you avoid comparing your sex life with others’ (especially friends’)?
Several months back, I told my business strategist how I struggled with professional jealousy. I’d recently unfollowed some colleague-friends on social media, whose feeds I’d find myself scrolling through, seething, at 1 am. My strategist suggested I read this Dear Sugar column, which she summed up by saying: “You just choose to stop.”
I rolled my eyes, laughed, and, a few days later, read the article. I rolled my eyes the whole time. But…a seed had been planted. Despite my resistance, whenever my green eyed monster roared, I’d remember the column and remind myself that I could choose differently.
So KM, I’m going to pass along the same (paraphrased) wisdom:
You tell yourself to stop comparing
Our thoughts can feel out of our control—until we notice them. That’s the first step. Spend a few weeks simply noticing when you compare your sex life to others’. It may feel overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve spent some time batting down those thoughts instead of acknowledging them. Make sure you have extra support in the form of friends who get it, a therapist, and extra self-care time.
From there, choose a different thought. Not radically different. The smallest shift. From “My sex life sucks” to “I have a sex life.” It might sound silly—and you may be mirroring my eye rolls from the past—but acknowledging what you have, lets you create more of it. Plus this slight change sets you up to succeed with getting out of the comparison trap vs trying to totally overhaul your thoughts and actions and setting yourself up to fail.
Let your comparisons guide you
When you find yourself comparing your sex lives to friends, ask yourself if you really want what they have. Just like sexual fantasies don’t always indicate something you want to try IRL, whatever you’re comparing might not actually be something you want.
If you’re busy trying to stop comparing your sex life to others, you’ll miss this opportunity to learn something about your desires.
Do you wish you went on more adventures together? Plan some.
Do you long to explore kink or polyamory? Start talking about it.
Do you need to take a sex or vibrator hiatus for a while? Find other ways to stay connected.
Imperfection is perfect
Having a healthy relationship with your sex life (or your body or your work or…) isn’t about always loving it. It’s about feeling satisfied most of the time, catching yourself quickly when you fall into old habits, forgiving yourself, and getting back to having the intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex life you crave.
The only thing you can control is your own sex life—take charge of it
The only thing that matters is that you and your partner are satisfied. Comparison can show you what you want or need to change, and it also lets you check in and say, “Hey, actually, I’m happy with how things are.”
The less you resist it, the less control it has, and the more wisdom you can gain.
Have a sex question? Email email@example.com and I’ll answer it in an upcoming post.
Featured image by Nirrimi Firebrace