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Is Living Together a Real Test Run for Marriage — or Just a Way to Put It Off?

How Shacking Up Will Affect Your Sex Life

Is living together a recipe for tepid times in bed — or sex 24/7? Theresa O'Rourke finds out.

We didn't want things to change. Especially the sex. After a year of dating, we were moving into our first apartment together. There would be no more shuffling between his place and mine; no more simply exchanging bodily fluids, showering, and leaving — now there were groceries, chores, bills, the whole bit. Everything was about to change. Thinking otherwise was a big crock of stupid. Of course, I had heard the debates. Cohabiting, the peanut gallery argued, would turn us into glorified roommates. Nah, the other side would say — cohabitation meant better sex, more often. We were about to see who was right. Pre-move, our sex life was hardly shabby; it was intense — and loud. I had a hunch my neighbors threw a big party when I moved out. But the new pad was huge and oozed chic, a happy by-product of combining incomes. Making love in this incredible apartment (our apartment) was like making love for the first time again. The bathroom, for one, was an orgasm waiting to happen. In the past, we'd tried to navigate the choppy waters of tub sex — alas, neither his bath nor mine could contain all 5'2" of me — let alone both of us. With wide eyes and expectant loins, we sank into our plunging tub. The only thing better than doing it in the bath was doing it without cramped limbs and a face full of faucet.

When there were no new orifices left in the apartment to explore, we settled into a routine of sex twice a week. Thing is, when you're under the same roof, you can't help but be amazed by life's banalities.

Soon, talk of hot-tub action became: "Hey, have you noticed how much sediment settles on the bottom? Think that's remains of the bath salts or just our dead-skin cells?" We put the whole tub-sex thing on hold.

A cohabiting case in point: There are no chores when you're living apart. A forgotten pair of panties left on his floor becomes a keepsake; perfume on a pillow, an erotic trail. "I snuggled up to your side of the bed so I could smell you," he would tell me on the phone, moments after I'd left his place. Now, today's musky sheets are tomorrow's dirty laundry.

There was also a new kind of sex that refused to be denied. And it was the kind I, heretofore, liked least: morning sex. Living apart, it was easy to skedaddle back to my place before he awoke. Sometimes I didn't even stay the night.

But when you're living together, there is simply no escaping morning wood. There it would be — risin' and shinin' — rubbing against my thigh as unapologetically as the sun beaming through our windows. Surprisingly, morning sex turned out to be not half-bad. It's all about compromise, so I indulged him once a week; in turn, my sated man promised he'd destress with me instead of his Xbox.

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