Lessons From My Sexual Dry Spell

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My husband and I have been together for 15 years. For the first half of our time together, we had a lot of sex — meaning, it was unusual for us to go more than 2 days in a row without at least a quickie. If he didn’t initiate, then I certainly would.

“We just like sex!” I’d tell my girlfriends whenever it came up, ignoring their wide-eyed glances at each other. “Sex and humor is what holds our marriage together!” And it really was, or so I thought.

I told myself that we were lucky. Other couples were falling in and out of dry spells on a regular basis, or having sex much less frequently than we were, and yet here we were, trucking (humping?) along like two honeymooning love birds.

I’d be lying if I said that knowing how much sex I was having with my husband didn’t make me feel superior, desirable, and somehow better than everyone else (I know — I hate me, too.) I would NEVER be the kind of wife who eschewed sex. I would always actively work on enticing my man, and that, in turn, would keep him focused solely on me. It’s science.

My husband loved that I had a high sex drive — he certainly wasn’t the kind to complain about daily, or almost-daily, sex. However, when we started having children, sex became more of a challenge. Fearful I was losing my solid grip on one of the major anchoring points in our relationship, I suggested a sex schedule. Yes, I wanted an actual. Schedule. For. Sex.

Honestly, that wasn’t the worst thing ever; it got us through the toughest times of sleep deprivation, sick babies, and lack of money, because if you can’t afford to buy nice things (or decent bread), then you might as well just have sex. However, we’re coming up on our 15th wedding anniversary and I think we’re down to like, twice a month. Does that count as a dry spell? My therapist thinks so, although some may say twice a month ain’t too bad for a couple with three small children.

There wasn’t infidelity or fighting. Nothing major happened; it was a gradual lessening until one day I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time we had sex. Life got a strangle hold on our bedroom: sick parents, children with special needs, various health issues, and absolute exhaustion forced sex into the backseat, and later on, farther back … into the trunk.

In therapy, I asked my therapist what I should do to reignite the flames. Taking her suggestions, I did things like get a Brazilian wax and buy new undies, hoping to catch his attention. Inevitably, by the time we got the kids to bed, neither of us gave a shit anymore about the smoothness of my nethers.

“Try mornings,” my therapist said, so we did (don’t ever do that, kids) — repeatedly. There’s something about 6:00 a.m. sexy time that children seem to sense, and before we got too far into things there would be a knock on the door. “LET ME IN, MOMMY! I PEED IN MY BED!” or, “THE CAT THREW UP AGAIN!” Thankfully, we managed to retain our humor.

I once pinned my self worth on my desirability, so what happens when that evaporates? And how do we move forward from here? Will our sex life ever recover? I’m honestly not sure, but I have learned a few valuable lessons during this lengthy, unprecedented sexual dry spell.

Intimacy isn’t just about sex.

Hey, guess what? I have no idea how to let my guard down and be truly intimate with my husband outside of sex. I genuinely had no idea that I’ve got such major walls up, but I absolutely do, so this is the time for me to work on figuring out how to lower them. (Emotional vulnerability is not as fun as sex, just so you know.)

My husband thinks I’m smokin’ hot.

Until recently, if I didn’t feel a rock hard dick against my thigh, I mistakenly assumed that my husband wasn’t attracted to me. It’s almost as if I believed that an erection is the only dependable sign of love. Oh, wait. I DID TOTALLY BELIEVE THAT. Wow, that’s pretty misguided and childish — right? Thankfully, I’m slowly learning that it’s 100% untrue. It’s taking time, but when sex isn’t happening, I’ve got a little more of it than I had before.

Men are sensitive creatures.

I always thought that men can have sex whenever they want, wherever they want, because they’re just automatically and constantly in the mood. Nope. Men carry burdens and stresses just like women do. They’re not heartless robots, and things affect them deeply. I am like 99% sure I’ve always been so wrapped up in coping with my own emotional shit-storms that I never stopped to consider what my husband might be dealing with.

Everything is always evolving.

Everything. So, while this might not feel ideal at the moment, one day we will be back in sync and things will return to something closer to normal. In the meantime, I am choosing to love my husband in other ways. He works crazy long hours, so I’ve begun stopping by a few times a week so we can have lunch together, or dropping by with a coffee. At night, even when I’m exhausted, I’m trying to make more of an effort to sit with him on the couch and watch mindless television. I try to remember to touch him; simple things like rubbing his arm or leaning against his chest go a long way.

Mostly though, it’s become crystal fucking clear that I need to work on myself, because there is more to me as a human being than my sex appeal. There is more to my marriage than sex. There is more to our relationship than I’ve ever realized, and for that I am grateful.