For a girl that had not even been asked out on a date, this was a whole new world. I had a suspicion that their experience was more realistic than the articles I sneaky read in Cosmo while getting my hair done at the salon. (I am supposed to put my hand WHERE? While simultaneously doing WHAT?) So I kept my eyes on my book, let the words blur into lines and listened closely.
“Doesn’t he know how tired I am by the end of the day? As if after the kids are finally asleep I have the energy to do anything but sit down and watch some TV.”
“For me, it isn’t even the energy it takes. I am still losing weight from the baby. I don’t feel sexy. I can hardly undress in front of a mirror, let alone in front of him. I honestly think it is selfish that he expects me to pretend to feel something that I don’t.”
“Selfish? That’s a good word. Maybe if he took care of the kids when he got home or made dinner once in a while I would be more interested. Hell, just pick up the milk on the way home from work. I am not asking for much. Now that I think about it, I don’t think we have done it in the last three weeks.”
“Yeah. It’s been at least two for us.”
Wait. These women were married … they lived with a guy … who slept in their bed. They could have sex all the time! And they didn’t want to? It made no sense. It was like turning down a zero calorie but as delicious-as-creme-brulee dessert. (Or at least I assumed. At that point, everything I knew about romance was gleaned from Anne of Green Gables and Moulin Rouge.)
How sad. How wasteful. How stupid. When I got married, I would always want to have sex with my husband! And I would never be too tired. My goodness, it was just ridiculous to want him to bring home a gallon of milk just to prove he cared. Wasn’t it just like a woman to make a grocery run a test of love. As the final coat of polish was applied to my nails, I swore to never be like them. My life would be different. I would be better. I would never feel too fat or too tired. Ever.
And then I grew up.
Intercourse, carnal knowledge, lovemaking, knocking boots, coitus, SEX! is everything 16-year-old me imagined plus a little whipped cream on top. (Whipped cream, see what I did there?) And once Riley and I got married, there was lots and lots and lots of it. Then we had a baby and I really was just so tired my bones hurt. And for a while, I did feel fat. Even after I lost the pregnancy weight everything just looked different. Like a cut flower that has been left out in the sun, still lovely, just a little … wilted. I became a little distant. We started to fall asleep without talking or kissing.
Then one day while washing dishes, I realized that we had gone eight days without touching each other. Eight days was quite some time for us. But the thing that bothered me the most was that I hadn’t missed it. And I knew that was a problem. So that night after we put the baby to bed, I gave Riley my best come-hither glance. Yes, I was tired and felt about as desirable as the “feed the birds” lady in Mary Poppins. But while drying the dishes, it occurred to me that 16-year-old Meg must have understood something about sex that 20-something Meg had forgotten. And maybe, just maybe it was worth remembering.
5 reasons you should have sex with your husband every night:
1. Being a mother, one of the ultimate expressions of womanhood, can often leave a girl feeling stripped of her femininity.
There is something about being covered in spit up and attending to the every need of another human being that makes one feel distinctly gender neutral. Most of my days are spent playing with dolls, wiping baby food off of my clothes, changing diapers, wiping snot off of my clothes, going to the park and wiping what-the-heavens-is-that off of my clothes. There is something restorative about kissing the boy you love. There are times in Riley’s arms when I remember who I am before I even realize I have forgotten. Yes, I am a cook, cleaner, teacher and wiper of all things disgusting. But I am also something more, something delightful and completely apart from my roles. I am a woman! And there is potential and depth and heck, I am pretty darn good kisser, too. It is a lovely thing, finding yourself through the touch of someone else.
2. If you want your husband to act like a man, you need to treat him like a man.
Hold the eye rolls. I am not pushing for a return to the 1950s. (Although, heaven knows an era in which low rise jeans did not exist is basically alright by me.) Women need any number of criteria met to feel loved. Men are far simpler. They need to be fed, they need to be appreciated and they need to have sex. That is it. Really. So make or order dinner once in a while. Say thank you for the long hours spent at work with a hug and smile when he walks through the door each night. (Better yet? Smile as you hand him the kids and walk out the door for a long, much needed break.) And my goodness, let the poor man see you naked. It is astounding what a good man will do for a good woman that has made him feel loved. After a few weeks of meals and make outs, you will sit back and wonder why you didn’t insist on having sex every night sooner. Talk about a small investment and big returns.
3. You need to have a moment in each day that is just about the two of you.
Remember that boy? The one that made your heart thump and hands sweat? The one that called when you hoped he would, that made you run hot and high up to the stars until you thought you would never come down? He is still there. Under the years and bills and worries, that smiling boy is still in love with and needs his smiling girl. Every night after the kids go to bed is a chance to find him again. A moment to remind yourself that you are living a picket fenced adventure and my goodness, there is nothing the two of you can’t do.