Thirteen years ago, I ran through my house at breakneck speed and flung open the front door where my future husband stood. I jumped on him, legs wrapped around his waist and lips planted firmly on his. This was no polite hello — this was a crazed, thirsty, deep, and primal need to jump his bones. If I could have, I would have ripped his clothes off right there.
That was how turned on I used to get around my husband. That was dating.
After a mortgage, three kids, and signs of wear and tear as we inch ever closer to 40, things have cooled in the boudoir considerably. Take this past Monday, for example. The Late Late Show was coming on, and the commercials were taking forever, so we looked at each other, the blue light of the TV screen playing across our tired faces, and my husband said, “well…you wanna?” And then for ten perfunctory minutes, we fumbled on the couch and tried, politely, to take turns having orgasms.
That was how not turned on we got that night, not unlike many other nights. This is marriage
There was a time when I thought we would never be that couple who relaxes into a routine that excludes flirtation and the kind of heavy breathing that causes one to blush. It seemed to me, in my energetic twenties, that there was something kind of sad and maybe a little bit desperate about letting that kind of passion slip through the thin spaces between stacks of bills and unending responsibilities.
Although we didn’t break a sweat on the couch that night, this past Monday, we did lounge in our underwear and eat nachos together. We laughed at political jokes and openly wondered about whether or not Meryl Streep will ever retire from acting. That kind of comfort that manifests after years of couplehood has replaced the appetites of our younger days, but in so many ways it's better.
When my husband and I talk about our sex life, we tend to be forgiving and rely on humor to describe our current state of being. "Remember when we used to play grab ass?" I ask my husband as he strolls past me in the kitchen where I am doing dishes.
"Ha! Oh, yeah!" he’ll reply as he half-heartedly gooses my derriere while simultaneously asking me if I’ve seen the phone charger.
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The truth is, as much as I want to be cool with growing old together and being comfortable with the natural progression of our sex life, I’m not 80, and I still want passion. There was a time when we had to relearn how to French kiss, and it was smoking hot but also awkward and weird, which in many ways made the experience feel fresh and alive.
I don’t know how to keep a marriage from getting stale and lazy in the sheets. If I did, then we wouldn’t be in this blur of mediocre orgasms and lackluster date nights. But I do know that at some point we took the obstacles of parenthood and exhaustion from business and turned those into convenient excuses to not put effort into our romantic life. And that’s a tough truth to admit.
As our thirteenth anniversary creeps up on us, we’re finally dusting off the nacho crumbs and wondering if perhaps a commercial break is not the ideal time to get it on.
We scheduled a date night for Saturday night. I hired a babysitter.
We drove to the restaurant and chatted about silly things. We ordered dinner and played footsie under the table. I laughed awkwardly because we were obviously trying too hard but that alone was sweet and inspired amorous feelings. By the time the check came, we were ready for bed — because real life exhausts us and 10:00 pm may as well be 2:00 am.
We got into the car and started to drive home, but then my husband turned off the main road started heading down back country roads. It wasn’t long before we were parked near an open field with no houses nearby. Something about the spontaneous nature of this sharp left in our plans felt exciting. Before I knew it, his boxers were hanging from the rear view and my panties were down around my ankles.
Marriage can be a real chore sometimes. Life gets busy, things happen, and we get spread thin.
But when life gets in the way of sex and intimacy, when it steals those moments away, it can feel like we’ve skipped over the best parts of our story and headed straight for staleness.
And that's not OK with me.
My husband and I have learned that staleness in our sex life is a sign that we need to shift our focus back to us and our sheets. Taking chances on being goofy, awkward, daring, whatever it may be in the sack is the thing that will keep us coming back for more.