Disclaimer: I am not a professional. This is not advice. This is me talking about my experiences, what works and what doesn’t for me, my family, in our situation.
What works for us may not work for you – because we are different, which is cool. If you want to tell me why I am wrong, or right, or kind of wrong or right, or what works for you, I welcome your feedback.
Disclaimer the Second: You may want to ask your children who can read to leave the room. If it wasn’t clear in the title, this post mentions the existence of sex. Or the nonexistence. Or the sporadic existence.
Disclaimer the Third: Mum. Just stop. Really. Let’s not make this awkward. I know that you know that I have had sex at least twice in my life.
Let’s just leave it there. You can continue reading this if you really want to, just please tell me you stopped at the third disclaimer.
OK. With all of that out of the way, let’s just get right too it. Stevie and I gave up on sex and it is the greatest thing we’ve ever done for our marriage. Period. Exclamation point. Here’s what happened.
When we were young and kid-less sex came easy. We could bump into each other on the way to the bathroom and WHOA look at that. Sex. Bam. Hello sex. Where did you come from?
Then we got married and had a kid. Then we had another kid.
I remember a while ago someone explained to me why Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defence program didn’t work. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in 1983 Ronald Reagan announced that we were going to develop the technology to shoot ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) out of the air.
There were political and financial reasons it didn’t work out, but the main reason why it was a complete failure boiled down to this: Trying to hit a tiny object travelling at hundreds of miles an hour with another tiny object travelling in the opposite direction at hundreds of miles an hour is really really f*cking hard to do.
I tell you this, not because I am stalling, but because I firmly believe that there has never been a more apt metaphor for navigating the perilous waters of post-kids sex than Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” missile defence system.
After kids, our sex drives, that before had been uncomplicated in their simplicity, had morphed into tiny missiles, lovingly aimed at one another yet doomed by mathematical uncertainty, atmospheric anomalies, and unforeseen circumstances to narrowly miss each other over and over, travel off into the distance, and explode by themselves in the lonely sky.
I got frustrated. I took it personally. Stevie got frustrated. She took it personally. There is so much pressure surrounding physical intimacy. We are told that if we don’t have enough sex, our relationships will fail. If we don’t have enough sex, our partners will find it elsewhere.
If we don’t have enough sex, something is wrong with us. We took that “knowledge” to bed with us every night, along with our fatigue, along with our personal insecurities, along with any small inconsequential resentment that comes along with the stress of being married and having kids.
Then, with the lights off, we’d lay there silently weighing on one hand how tired we were, and on the other what the consequences to our relationship would be if we continued to go without sex. Eventually one of us would say this:“We should probably have sex.”
It had turned into a chore. And then, when the chore didn’t get done, it turned into a fight. The worst part of this was, the fighting and the anxiety about not having sex certainly didn’t lead to more sex. Quite the opposite.