We fell in love twenty years ago, when I was 23 and he was 30. We were crazy about each other, passionate and happy to spend entire days in bed. But fifteen years later when we had that fight, we’ve got a little girl that spends most of her days on my body either nursing or simply cuddling and at the end of the day I simply do not want to be touched – which is kind of a hindrance when it comes to sex.
Adding to that was the previous five years of hormone hell – the hellish infertility with my body undergoing radical changes thanks first to the hormonal manipulation of in-vitro fertilization, then a twin pregnancy that ended in a third trimester loss, more manipulation to get pregnant again, and finally a (nearly) full term pregnancy. Followed by twenty-one months of nursing my daughter.
My body was bloated, fat, and ugly – and it had betrayed me when it came to getting and staying pregnant. So I hated it, and frankly, I didn’t trust my husband’s claims to still want my body.
So there I was, not wanting to be touched and hating my body. Naturally, sex seemed like an insurmountable thing (pun fully intended). Then my mom moved in with us eighteen months ago when she lost her condo to foreclosure, and as much as I love her (she drives me crazy, but I do love her), the dim spark of my sex drive went out completely.
But I love my husband and I remembered that old Mars vs. Venus statement that “in order to want sex, women need to feel loved and in order to feel loved, men need to have sex.” So I tried my best to be more, er, accommodating and things got a bit better. Or at least my husband never again said the roommate thing.
Now, though, my daughter is six and a half and I’m in the position of cherishing her cuddles because they’ve gotten to be much less frequent. I’m working on getting back in shape and eating better, so I’m losing weight and liking my body again. I’m surprised to find that I actually want more sex, and I crave that intimacy with my husband.
I started talking about it with some of my women friends, and my friend Julia surprised me by telling me, “We have sex four or five times a week, and I’d like to do it more.” After I picked my chin up off the floor, she and I talked more about it. The first thing she said was, “Stop worrying about who did the dishes or took the trash out. Does it really matter that there are still dishes in the sink? Stop bitching at him, and f*ck it out.”
Wow. Did that ever hit home.
I realized that I’ve put our entire relationship into a single box, and in that box is all the shit that doesn’t really matter like the broken garbage disposal or the fact the the car needs an inspection and he couldn’t find the insurance card or he yelled at me about forgetting bread at the grocery store. That? That IS all roommate shit. Sex and intimacy? Well, that’s got to be in a totally separate box.
I asked Julia how she dealt with having a low sex drive. Her answer surprised me; she said, “Yeah, that was hard at first. It took me about six weeks of having sex all of the time for it to come back. Once again, you just gotta f*ck it out.” Whoa. Talk about the cart before the horse!
Armed with this new information, I informed my husband that I’d made a resolution that this was going to be the year we got our sex lives back, regardless of how I felt about my body or my mom moving back in or our daughter driving us crazy or life being, well, life. He looked mildly alarmed but interested. I told him about my friend and her plan and he said, “Um, I’d love to have more sex but I think four or five times a week is a bit beyond me. But I’m in.”
So, we made a plan and goals. Twice a week when we can (allowing for things like illness, obviously), and we take turns initiating it. He’d gotten a bit gun shy about asking after being turned down so frequently, so he needs me to reach out. I still like being seduced now and again, so I need him to reach out.
It’s only a few weeks into the new year, but… it’s working. We’re f*ckin’ it out, baby. Here’s to 2013!
What about you? Have you fought to reclaim the spark in your relationship? I’d love to hear about it. Because this topic can be a bit sensitive, you are welcome to leave anonymous comments, but please: let’s be kind, okay?