real life

Sex every day for a year. Gift or chore?

Life begins at 40: Charla Muller and her husband Brad

This is Charla Muller and her (happy) husband Brad. Looking for an “original, intimate and memorable” gift for Brad’s 40th birthday, Charla decided to give him sex every day until he turned 41.
And then she wrote a book about it.

I never wanted him to look back and ask himself: “Now, what was it Charla bought me for my 40th?”‘ she says. ‘When I came up with the idea of daily sex for a year, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. What man
wouldn’t think that was the best present ever?’

According to a UK newspaper interview:

‘To be honest, I didn’t tell my friends what I’d got him until halfway through the year,’ says Charla. ‘When I did, they were just incredulous, with most thinking that I was quite mad.’One girlfriend said I must never, ever tell her husband what I was doing in case he got any ideas.

‘What they took issue with most was the timescale. Some could see the merit  in offering their husband daily sex for a week, perhaps a month. But a year? It was unthinkable.’

More disappointingly for Charla, the mother of two young children, even Brad thought the idea was a bit, well, unrealistic.

She had been expecting whoops of delight and much punching of the ceiling when she told him of his gift. Instead, she got sheer bafflement.

‘Then, to my horror, he declined the whole thing, saying that he didn’t want me to feel that I had to have sex with him – like it was some sort of duty,’ says Charla. ‘He actually walked away from me, saying we would discuss it later. I was quite deflated.’

Gosh, it is hard being a wife sometimes. All that effort and no one appreciates it. Still, Charla wasn’t that easily dissuaded.

She eventually convinced the skeptical Brad that her offer was bona fide, and in July 2006 they embarked on what she would eventually dub the Dance Of The Daily Deed.

Unfortunately, the first night of Brad’s gift coincided with a family holiday to her parents’ home, which meant a house full of squawking babies, demanding toddlers and organised games (always a passionkiller).

‘It was hardly conducive to that sort of thing,’ she says. ‘I did think: “What on earth am I doing?” And it wasn’t the last time I would think that during the year.

‘But I was pleased with myself for seeing it through. We’d never have considered doing something like that before, but once we did, we realised it’s not that difficult.’

And so it would continue for an entire year. So successful was the venture – the couple don’t claim a 100 per cent success rate but say they had sex roughly 28 days a month for 12 months – that Charla, a feisty American from North Carolina, was persuaded to write a book on the
subject, 365 Nights: A Memoir Of Intimacy.

Church-going and cookie-baking, she exudes wholesomeness. Physically, she admits to being ‘sturdily built’ and is on the wrong
side of 40.

‘I’m hardly a sex kitten,’ she says. ‘But then, how many people are? That is the point.’

Mercifully, her book doesn’t linger on what went on in the bedroom – ‘I am quite prudish about being public about things like that’ – but what comes across clearly is that it was a logistical nightmare.’We did have to sit down with the wall planner going: “Well, we have that PTA meeting on Wednesday and you are away for business on Thursday, so we’ll have to have sex on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.”

‘Brad was appalled at first. His view of sex was that it had to be spontaneous and of the moment.

‘I always thought that was rubbish. How can it be spontaneous in the middle of family life? So we had to compromise a bit. As it went on, I
scheduled it, but tried not to make him aware of how much I was scheduling it.’

Sometimes, making time for ‘it’ was straightforward. ‘Some nights it was as simple as turning off the TV,’ she says.

But did it change their marriage for the better?’It changed completely,’ says Charla. ‘We started being more attentive to each other, not just in bed, but about the trivial little things. Brad
would offer to do some chore or run an errand, and I wouldn’t be thinking he was doing it to gain sex points.

‘We became so much closer. You can’t have that sort of regular intimacy in bed without it spilling over into the rest of life.

‘There was a lot less narking and sniping. You just can’t do that all day then want to get into bed with the person at night.

‘My self-confidence was greatly improved, too. I’d always been one of those women who told herself she would want sex more if she just lost 10lb and felt a bit more sexy.

‘Now, I realise feeling sexy isn’t about being thin or gorgeous. My husband desired me as I was – it
was just a case of accepting that.’

What of the couple and their incredible sex life now the year has ended?

She cites one of her husband’s observations as the best way to sum it all up. ‘It was Brad who said that sex every day wasn’t sustainable in a
marriage, but nor was no sex at all. Now, I just say that we’ve got a balance in the middle.

‘When my girlfriends ask if it’s healthy to do it once a week, three times a week or whatever, I just tell them to do it twice as often as they are doing it at the moment.

‘Their husbands will love them for it, and they might just find that they love themselves that little bit more, too. If they let themselves.’

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