Ok, it’s time for me to lighten the mood a little from my recent posts. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this one’s for all the married ladies out there. Yes, that means, if you are the 14-year-old daughter of one of my friends, my mom (or other awkward relative), a man trying to guilt-trip his wife, unmarried, or anyone likely to be uncomfortable with a blunt discussion of sex, these are your flashing red lights telling you to turn back! Otherwise, proceed with caution but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Come on, girls, it’s time we reclaim sex. Quite frankly, I’m fed up with seeing uncommitted sexual flings portrayed by the media as filet mignon while married sex seems to be the Hamburger Helper of sexuality. It’s everywhere I look, on TV, in movies, in magazines. From Carrie and Samantha’s wild, passionately satisfying sexual trysts with men they’ve just met to Rhianna’s idea of offering herself as a “Birthday Cake” to a man she’s just met, the one-night-stand is set on a pedestal as the sexual ideal. Even antecdotal evidence would suggest this is more smoke-and-mirrors than truth. After all, who among us had an orgasm the first time we had sex? The reality is that it takes a man knowing his woman’s body before he can satisfy her, and that kind of knowledge can’t be gained on the dance floor after three drinks.
Yet, when I take a good, hard look at this unflattering portrayal, I have to gulp back my pride when I realize that it’s not the media who’s to blame, it’s me. That’s right – it’s my fault, and your fault, and every other married woman’s fault. Gasp! Horror! I can almost hear your objections. Yes, I’m well aware of the insult to the female race that I’ve just penned in black and white. Hear me out, though. We don’t exactly represent our sex lives well, do we? How often have we told our husbands we weren’t “in the mood” (or were too tired, or weren’t feeling well, or [insert other excuse])? And when was the last time we did something REALLY sexy for our husbands (you know, something those single women in movies are always doing to tantalize their love interests of five minutes)? Do we even remember that sex with our husbands is supposed to be fun?
My libido tends to wander away and get lost somewhere between wiping poo off bums all day and cleaning my husband’s dirty underwear. Often, sex is the last thing I’m thinking about at the end of the day, but somehow it’s what he’s been thinking about all day. It could be midnight, we haven’t eaten dinner, and the kids are throwing fits in their beds, and he would still be thinking about sex. I know I’ve been guilty of muttering grumpily at the end of the day, “All right, let’s just get this over with.” Yikes! How unappealing must that be? I’d be deeply offended if he said that to me, so I started wondering, why do I think that’s ok?
I know celibacy wasn’t part of our marriage vows, so why is it so hard for me to muster some excitement for this eagerly anticipated aspect of marital life? I went into marriage very much looking forward to having sex with the man I loved, who was faithfully committed to me. Why is sex so often a begrudging part of the relationship for us wives, with it being our element of control, something to give or withhold as we choose? I realized not long ago that I wanted to start really enjoying sex with my husband, and to do that, I had to start changing my mindset. Whether I wanted to admit it to myself or not, the truth was that I’d started to think of sex as my husband’s responsibility; if he wanted it, he’d have to do all the work, enticing me, seducing me, turning me on. I thought mostly about myself during sex, seeking my own pleasure, not aiming for his, and I justified it in my mind with the same media references that I hated for their unrealistic portrayals of sex.
So I decided to stop the madness and get off the selfish bus. I started actually trying to be fun, sexy, and appealing for my husband, and I found that when I did, his desire for me became rather intoxicating, and I wanted more. I’m enjoying sex a lot more these days, and I know that’s how it’s supposed to be. Like a good bra, I’m never gonna leave my girls hanging without any support, so here are some things I’ve learned (and am still learning) to do for my husband. By no means is it an exhaustive list, and I’ll bet some of you have more creativity than I do – I’d love to hear your ideas! If you find this list entirely too overwhelming to think about, just pick ONE thing, and start doing it. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so don’t give up! Trust me, you’ll enjoy it more than you think.
- Dress to impress – “But, Dayna,” you say. “My husband’s sweatshirt is so comfortable. And I’m with the kids all day, so finger-paint and spit-up don’t really seem to match anything. And makeup’s just something I put on for family pictures and weddings!” Listen, I understand. I’m a busy mom/sanitation expert/gourmet chef/hostage negotiator, so I feel ya. But, sister, did you really enter mommyhood thinking that you hoped you’d look like a bag lady every day? I love being a mom, but once the kids are in bed, my inner diva starts calling out for a little attention. And we all know that a diva who rocks the just-rolled-out-of-bed look is just one step away from shaving her head and smashing a car window with a baseball bat, and no one’s becoming that girl on my watch! You know you’d feel sexier if you looked the part. I ain’t asking for much, just a little mascara and lipgloss, maybe. Some clothes that don’t look like they could fit a full-grown linebacker would be nice. And how about a bra not made for working-out in? Adding 10 extra minutes to your daily routine can make you look thinner, younger, and more attractive, so what’s not to like in that arrangement?! Men are visual creatures, so for goodness sake, throw the man a bone!
- Take care “down there” – You know how when you go to the pool, there’s always that unfortunately overconfident man who’s stuffed himself into a speedo and has no clue his “spillage” out the sides of that tiny piece of lycra is unattractive? Let’s not make his mistake – it doesn’t look any more appealing in a pair of white bikini panties, so keep yourself neat and tidy!
- And while we’re on the subject of panties… – If your mother would approve of the undies you wear, you’re wearing them for the wrong set of eyes! Your mother shouldn’t be in your bedroom anymore than unattractive panties should, so choose your panties with your husband in mind. If thongs are a huge leap for you, try something see-through (no, worn-out holes don’t count), silky, or lacy. He’ll appreciate having some visual fodder for his fantasies, and you’ll feel sexier if you don’t look like your mom.
- Stripteases are NOT just for strippers! – The striptease should belong to the married woman! Forget your shape, size, or lack of coordination – it doesn’t matter. Your husband will have rose-colored glasses only for you if you turn on some music, sway those hips, and take it all off just for him. Believe me, he’s not going to be thinking about that extra 10 pounds you gained, and neither should you. So forget what your mama would think, and shake what she gave you!
- “It’s Wednesday night, baby, you know what that means…it’s business time…” – (If you don’t know that reference, look up Flight of the Conchords) Fodder for jokes as it may be, planning “sex days” in advance has been the best thing we’ve ever done for our sex life. I think of it like planned mealtimes. Even if I’m hungry at 10am, I can wait for lunch when I know it’s just around the corner at noon, but if my meals came infrequently or sporadically, I’d be a slobbering mess at the sight of a McDonald’s hamburger. It’s no different for my husband; if he’s unsure of when his next, ahem, “meal” is coming, he’ll be all up in my goodies constantly, like a horny teenager on Prom night. So do yourself and your husband a favor: decide together on a number of nights every week, and specific days, you can both live with. Kick the horny teenager out of your house for good (unless he’s your son, then just keep him away from the rest of us, and good luck to you!).
- Create sexual tension – Flirting shouldn’t end at the altar, yet so often marriage vows are a serial killer for sexual tension. Remember how much fun it was to feel desired, wanted, pursued? He wants to feel that, too. Play, laugh, and don’t take yourself too seriously. There’s no stress that can’t be eased by a good sex-capade, so forget your troubles for half an hour. Planning sex nights helps with this one, too, because the “no sex” nights provide a perfect breeding ground for sexual desire. There’s nothing like forbidden fruit to get the juices flowing!
- Make some noise – It’s no secret that women are more of a sexual mystery than men, so pleasing us requires a bit more effort. Reward those efforts with some verbal encouragement. Words, moans, or all-out cries of delight will go a long way in helping him know what you like and in building his confidence in the bedroom. Even the shyest guy will become his wife’s Casanova with enough encouragement, so hold nothing back!
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – If it’s awkward to talk with your husband about sex, it’s probably awkward to have sex, so just bite the bullet and do it. Don’t be mean, talk the way you’d want to hear feedback. There’s no real-life audible interior monologue going on (thank you again, Sex and the City, for yet another sexual fallacy!) for him to read your thoughts, so you have to tell him what feels good and what doesn’t. The more you communicate, the better it will be.
The real rubber-meets-the-road reality is that great sex takes work. Those media presentations really did a number on me to make me think otherwise, but now I know better. Having fun in bed is my responsibility, and yours, and every other married woman’s. Let’s decide not to settle for Hamburger Helper sex and reach for the Filet Mignon version with our husbands instead.