This editorial series, S-E-X, is brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Andrea Palmer, MD FACOG with Fenom Women’s Care. All 15 original articles from the S-E-X series can be found on our website.
What time is it? What time do I have to wake up in the morning? Didn’t I just change the sheets? Is that a child crying? Where am I in my cycle? Is he interested? Can we have sex tomorrow? Have I showered recently? Has he? Will I have to wash my hair tomorrow if we have sex? Do I have enough energy for this? Am I still mad at him about [fill-in-the-blank]?
If you’re like me, you have often laid in bed with these questions (or others like them) running through your head at a rapid rate. The list used to start running the second I started getting ready for bed (and occasionally when we put the kids down for a nap). Occasionally I even managed to fall asleep before I got to the end. I constantly worried about all the practicalities surrounding sex. I know it can be like this for so many married couples, especially during the getting pregnant (or not), baby, and small children phases of your life. There is so much going on, it seems like sex is just one more thing on the list.
When my kids were very small, I had a friend whose favorite marriage advice was “Have more sex.” She told EVERYONE this. Constantly. I heard it all the time. I appreciated her approach, and she did seem rather happy in her marriage, but it just didn’t seem feasible to me. How could I get the answers to all my questions to line up any more often than they already did? Then of course, as things so often do, something happened to completely change my perspective.
My husband called me and told me he had been arrested. The details aren’t super important, but suffice it to say that he hadn’t harmed anyone and the illegality of his actions was ambiguous. Mainly, it was a soft rock bottom of some untreated mental health issues. Regardless, it was a huge deal and an event that set our life on a completely different course. That day, I went and picked him up. We went home, fed the kids dinner, and put them to bed. Then we stood in the kitchen and stared at each other. He felt horrible, guilty, and terrified about everything. I felt angry, guilty, and terrified about everything. He didn’t have any answers. I didn’t have any answers. Neither of us wanted to hear or say weak reassurances that we couldn’t believe anyway.
So we had sex. That night and most nights for the next several months. Our life was uncertain. We didn’t really know how everything would turn out. But we turned to each other. Words weren’t very comforting; oftentimes there was truly nothing to say. We comforted each other through sex and were shocked by the changes it wrought. Suddenly, we were connected emotionally and mentally on a new level. I was more in-tune to his thoughts and feelings than I had ever been. He trusted me more than he ever had before. It was one of the most difficult periods of our marriage, but we made it through, and I give most of the credit to the frequent sex.
The thing is, more sex has shown so many benefits outside the bedroom. We touch more often casually. Arguments resolve faster. We tend to be more in-tune with each other’s wants and needs. This leads to preventing frequent burn-out, which keeps the entire family running smoother. We have each other’s back and stand united in virtually any situation. Above all, we remember there is MORE to us than just our parenting or work personas. Sex allows us to remember the person we fell in love with and keep some of the magic alive.
Some years later, we have managed to keep up having sex on a fairly frequent basis. Life can get in the way: kids, illness, jobs, trips, etc. And yet, we have learned to make sex a priority. We’ve noticed that the more we have sex, the more we want to have sex. I attempt to let my list of questions go in favor of connecting with my husband. While I love having all the answers to my questions, I love my husband more.
Maybe you’re still skeptical, and I respect that. It took me awhile to come around. But, if you’re the least bit curious, I encourage you to give it a try. Try for a day, a week, a month. Turn toward your partner instead of to your to-do list (you could always put him on the list . . .). After all, what do you have to lose?