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As a writer for the World Wide Web always eager for more clicks, I thought about calling this essay, "8 Ways to Get Your Husband to Stop
Bugging You About Sex!" Then I realized the article would be too short:
1. Have sex with him.
2-8. See No. 1.
It might make you chuckle. Also, the advice sounds
too subservient, too compliant, too downright anti-feminist. It even reads like
a joke. Which it is. Or would be, if it weren't also abso-f***ing-lutely
Not to be a hack who quotes a Nike ad, as
tough as it can be during the holiday season, with kids bursting through the
bedroom door, barking gift ideas, and in-laws sleeping on the other side of a
wall in the guest bedroom, you must persevere where sex is concerned and just
do it. For the tension release, the elevated endorphin levels and something you
can do to set yourselves up for a truly happy new year.
As someone who has done a lot of research on successful
longterm marriages, I have had time to analyze the data on the subject of sex
and the happy marriage. Newsflash: People who are happily married have
sex. Good times, bad times, no fighting, fighting like cats and dogs,
financially flush, worrying about the car being repossessed, hating the in-laws,
worrying about school admission, celebrating a promotion, strategizing the next
career move while anxious about never working again, happy couples schtupp their way through it. Not every day. Sometimes not even every week. But they usually don't let more time than that go by without getting some.
Lately I've had more than a handful of women complain to me
that their husbands are relentless in their quest for sex. If not
physically on their hands and knees pawing them (not that this isn't a
technique), then being about as subtle in their desire to get it on as
Akinyele's popular rap "Put It in Your Mouth." These women are exhausted
from the pressures of keeping a job, orchestrating their kids' schedules,
managing their parents decline, the impending mental and emotional avalanche of
having children home for several weeks of winter break, and/or
feeling "fat" from tending to all of the above and neglecting
Because 9 times out of 10, when I followed a thread about the importance of couples having sex, it led me to a Christian.
Any combination of these strains can make a gal feel about as
sexy as waking up in a mosquito-packed tent the morning after a dinner of
cabbage soup. Often, men are also faced with the same pressures, except
the feeling-fat part. (I have yet to meet a straight man who feels too fat to
have sex, God bless them.) The difference for men who feel overwhelmed—and we women need to take a page from their playbook here—is that sex for them
is actually an antidote to all this stress rather than another item on their
In pursuing the subject of sex and marriage, what was most
surprising was my discovery that the most expressive and enthusiastic advocates
for it are religious. I guess I think of the pious as squeaky-clean folks
who would just naturally see sex as dirty and bad. Clearly, I'm stuck in
some kind of "Footloose" perception of God-fearing citizens. Because
9 times out of 10, when I followed a thread about the importance of couples
having sex, it led me to a Christian. (Or Dr. Laura). So I called a religious
friend of mine with a very popular blog and asked her why.
"Christian women believe in staying married, and we know the
only way to do that is to have sex with our husbands." Can't be more
direct than that, huh?
My only minor bone of contention with this point of view
is that sex is often characterized as something you engage in to "serve your
husband." Maybe I'm a selfish heathen, but the idea of constantly doing
something to serve my husband, as much as I love him, I'm sure would end up
being more of a turn-off than anything else. This is just not a helpful
way to think about sex. As if it is a chore.
But beyond all the physical perks, taking pleasure in each other stripped down to your birthday suit also creates a key and sometimes otherwise elusive connection for couples.
If you find yourself
feeling this way, please take a look at what is going on in the bedroom and
commit yourself to making it better, for
you, which will ultimately serve your marriage. According to many of the long-timers' marriage, it's not just the act itself that has value. Yes, it's good for your
circulation and the skin-glowing effect is no lie. But beyond all the physical
perks, taking pleasure in each other stripped down to your birthday suit also
creates a key and sometimes otherwise elusive connection for couples.
I was lucky enough to speak with the 80-something character
actor Paul Dooley earlier this year about his 28-year marriage to the
wonderful writer and actress Winnie Holtzman. Dooley talked about something most
men don't, which is the importance of pillow talk in their marriage. The
quiet, honest, often vulnerable talking that goes on post-coitally between a
husband and wife that he finds as important as the act itself.
So in between the shopping and the cooking and wrangling of
children off school for an interminable two to three weeks, make a point to
close (and lock) the doors over the next few weeks. I'm not saying not
doing it will ruin your marriage. I'm just saying not all gifts come wrapped in