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Monday, February 7, 2011

"Dear Ian . . . "

Had another surprise question for me to give the benefit of my vast sexual wisdom on:

Dear Ian,

[W]e have been married for 12 years, known each other for 14. Our kids are stil small not in school yet. Where we live you dont get baby [sitters] and [we have] no family near us. So the kids are with us 24/7. My husband start[s] work early in the morning, he gets up at 4 so he gets to bed early at night. We dont have that extra money to go out on the town. So we are home prety much. Advice please!

Need Sex Badly

Dear Ms. Badly,

You don't need a sitter. You don't need night clubs. All you need is a little imagination and creativity.

By this time in your relationship, you've done all the "normal" things, you know what you should be doing (theoretically) but yes, you've lost some spark. The issue about the difference between talking and communicating is a relative one, but if you can both agree to make a special effort on your relationship, it's not too difficult to spice things up.

Let's start with the remoteness of your location and the inability to get a sitter. No doubt you're also worried about making too much noise and waking up the children. There are a couple of simple things you can do to take your intimate life up a notch.

First, get it out of the bedroom. Sometimes staring at the marital bed in anticipation of sex leads to some severe performance anxiety on both parties part as they start to worry about disappointing their spouses. Stop that mood in its tracks by inviting your husband into the shower (after you've already done the "business" of shaving and other personal hygiene stuff) and at least start your foreplay under the water, with some good-smelling lotions, soaps, etc. Heck, give him a salt scrub or something, he might like it. It's intimate, it's sexy, it's quiet, it's kid-free, and there's no mess to clean up.

Another tactic is to wake him up in the middle of the night, whisper in his ear that his girlfriend is going to be waiting in the driveway, grab the baby monitor, and scoot out to the car to have sex. Sure, it's uncomfortable -- especially when you know you have a nice warm bed inside -- plus there's the "danger of discovery" element, but those challenges are just the sort of thing you need to keep things interesting. Married sex becomes boring partially because it's easy. If you want to be even more daring, in warmer weather pitch a tent in the back yard. Spontaneous garage/attic nookie is also quite exciting.

You could try instigating a sex game. Nothing elaborate: just play Tag. Make a deal with your husband that one of you is 'it' at the start of the day, and when you're 'it' you are responsible for surprising your spouse with a few minutes of groping, kissing and foreplay in whatever stolen moment you can find out of the kids' view. Afterwards, the other person is 'it'. By then end of the day you'll both be pretty worked up.

The issue is you aren't putting enough "play" in your sex play. That's an easy thing for married parents to do, as the stresses and structure of married-life-with-kids taxes our patience and sanity on a daily basis. We'd like to think that the pleasures offered in the marital bed would alleviate that, but by the time we usually collapse at the end of the day, the spirit is willing but, crap, isn't House on tonight?

Parental responsibility often robs us of our own willingness to play, and as adults we desperately need that. I think you'll both relax and the communication will flow more naturally once you genuinely enjoy the playful aspects of sex. Costumes and toys can help, but too many people misunderstand their place. You can't buy a toy and expect your sex life to turn around. You need to make consistent effort, risk failures that you're willing to laugh about, and be willing to explore some places outside of your comfort zone.

Good luck!


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