Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sex and the Suburbs: It starts in the Kitchen

Dad, I’m really glad you said my blog was way too “girly” for you.  Good.  Because you definitely won't want to read today’s.  Even though I’ve had 3 children, in your eyes I’m still the 8-year-old girl who wanted to marry her daddy, so let’s just keep it that way!

So, what’s on my mind today that I just had to share with you?  Sex.  (There; I said it!)  Mostly because it’s not on my mind enough.  I feel bad for my husband.  He married a girl who wore sexy lingerie, and over time, favored flannel jammies and preferred cozying up in front of The Daily Show to passionate evenings. 

Hubby, on the other hand, never changed in this area.  He’s still every bit as interested today as he was on our honeymoon.  I know I should be grateful for his attention… but I just can’t keep up with him.  (Pun intended.)

Back in the day when we were DINKS (duel-income-no-kids), it seemed I had plenty of energy for - and interest in - sex.  My husband’s mind, body and soul was still terrain I just had to explore, and we spent lazy Saturday mornings tangled up together until one of us finally felt compelled to get up and at least make coffee. 

Now, 17 years and 3 lively kids later - well, we’re just arguing over who should get up and make the coffee on Saturday mornings.

Not that I don’t find my husband attractive.  I still do… but the trouble is, by the time I’ve ended a whirlwind day of wrangling and chauffeuring kids, cleaning, working, cooking, managing homework hour, volunteering and walking the dogs… well, I’m just exhausted.  When I finally put the kiddos to bed, I just want my comfy jammies, a glass of wine, and 60 minutes where no one aks me for one single thing. 

Which is typically when my husband gives me the look.  You know the one....

And I really hate to say this… but sometimes sex just feels like one more chore for me to do at that point.  (Sorry, baby.  No offense.)  I know I should prioritize my husband’s needs, but I need some help.  So I’m interested in hearing what you have to say about it.  Got any suggestions?  If so, my husband will praise your name and probably cook an amazing dinner for you.  

Some of my girlfriends say great sex starts in the kitchen, but not in the way you’re thinking.  Many of us seasoned wives seem to find our men doing housework a real turn-on.  This is because when we’re relieved of just some of the mind-numbing drudgery that comes with homemaking, we can take one more step toward relaxing.  And for me at least, the key to being ready for sex is a successful move from “mommy” mode to “lover” mode.  It's no small task to unwind a whirling dervish.

My husband absolutely hates to unload the dishwasher, but when he does, well, my affection for him skyrockets.  He’s doing it for me and me only, and I love him for that.

I also think an evening headed toward sex starts in the kitchen because I’ve heard it said if you want to make love with your wife in the evening, you need to start in the morning.  In other words, the smart husband pours his wife some coffee before he leaves for work, takes a moment to massage her neck, unloads the dishwasher or tells her she’s beautiful.  Yep; it means making extra efforts.  But think of the payoff!

Of course it’s hard for my husband to get this, because he’s ready for sex anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance.  Doesn’t matter if he’s been beaten up by customers all day, the kids are screaming bloody murder or if we’ve just had a huge fight.  He’s able to compartmentalize his life and drop everything (again, the puns) if I agree to run upstairs.  I admire this about him; and I can learn from it. 

Still, he has to learn that I’m not ready unless all stars are in alignment… I need to feel emotionally close, relaxed, and appreciated.  It might make me a high maintenance woman, but then, he’s high maintenance in his own ways, too.  (And that will have to wait for another blog post, if said husband is still speaking to me after I’ve laid us bare here.)

Then of course, there’s the kids.  Their very presence means most parents have to get creative in finding time and space and energy for love-making.   I’d love to hear your feedback on this one, because the truth is, both hubby and I agree one of the best things we can do for our children is to remain happily married.  And sex is an essential ingredient to that end.  Our kids are old enough to entertain themselves a bit while we escape for an afternoon “nap,” but it doesn’t always stop them from knocking on the door. 

Our solution has been to be open with them.  It’s how they got here in the first place!  We tell our kids we need private time, and to stay away from the door unless there’s an emergency.  (And running out of goldfish does not constitute and emergency.) And if you have little kids, I say, adjust your expectations and take every advantage of their naptime.  The dishes can wait.  Especially if your husband is willing to do them afterward!

I won’t say I don’t have to work hard to stay focused and not jump at every sound they make.  But when I make the effort, I think it endears him to me.  And I always feel better, because after 17 years, hubby keeps honing his prowess.

Then, my very hot man is ready to unload that dishwasher.  And, I think, we might just make it after all.

Got some tips for me?  Leave a comment and share!  How do you keep the home fires burning when the  flames flicker?