When her wife returned from deployment, the first thing they did was see their brand new house together, where they ended up having sex on the floor of their new living room. Their intensified post-deployment intimacy lasted for about a week, but after the two started fighting as they tried to readjust to a life together, neither of them were interested in being intimate.

“Distance is incredibly hard,” Brittany said. “It’s not like a short business trip. Her being gone 7-10 months practically every year or every other year is heartbreaking. When you’re away so much, at least for us, it takes away the need to have constant sex.”

But, as Brittany explained, sex isn’t the only form of intimacy after a deployment. There are countless little moments of affection that couples miss out on during those long months apart.

“I missed cuddling, cooking together, not having to stand on a stool to get something high up, holding hands in the car, dancing in the living room with our dog, getting to wake up and make her breakfast and say, ‘I love you, see you tonight,’” Brittany said.

Both Brittany and Jane taught me a lot about what intimacy might look like after a deployment. Post-deployment sex, affection, and life together may look different for every couple, but the most important piece of advice both spouses gave me is to remember that however your intimacy looks after a deployment is completely normal, as long as you feel comfortable, embrace sex positivity and communicate if something feels off to you.

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