Married sex

Married sex

Married sexAll you need to do is look at Oliver and Leo to see that our sex life is not a new thing. In the early days we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. Each road trip had arms crossed and fingers on thighs, each nap was a tangle of body parts. It didn’t take long for that to cool. Kids, jobs, house renovations, we found our thrills and escapes in places other than each other’s bodies. At least I did.

Then one morning it changed…

I heard him pad softly into the room mere minutes after I had shut off the light. I held still. As he climbed into bed I felt myself involuntarily stiffen then relax as his chaste cheek kiss meant I didn’t need to worry about having sex tonight.

Steve and I were a fair way past the honeymoon period with two small ubiquitous boys.

I felt a vague sense of guilt about my physical withdrawal from my husband but I soothed it by talking to friends over wine and tea. They were tired too, they were nursing and snuggling and tending to kids. They were stretched literally and figuratively. We excused each other. Our bodies were not our own, but neither were they our husband’s.


The next morning Steve was making us family brunch with both boys underfoot when I came downstairs after sleeping in. Usually, he played records and worked at the griddle, frying pan and cutting board at once. The silence registered in the back of my mind as I slipped my arms around him for a front to back hug. It was his turn to stiffen. Moving around the island I hopped up on our custom cherry stools and started picking at the raspberries that he had begun spooning out on the plates.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him. It wasn’t with tenderness, but closer to an accusation. I knew what was wrong.. He asked for so little from me. None of it through words, but a physical appeal, and I had been rebuffing him for an unreasonably long time. Instead of apologizing, or leading him upstairs to really apologize I picked a fight; going on the offensive was a lot easier than dealing with the reality of our shrinking sex life.


“I can’t believe you are pissed at me. You know how tired I have been, it is totally unfair to be angry because I wouldn’t have sex with you last night.”

“It’s not that…” Here he trailed off. I was just revving up, gaining ammunition. He never talks to me about what he is feeling, blah blah. Somehow I didn’t move forward with my next line of attack. I saw the slump of his shoulders as he flipped the pancakes that he made from scratch without his usual flair. I could do it, I could beat him down until he was left apologizing to me, but this time I didn’t.

I had expectations for him as a father and as a husband. I wanted him to work full time, do the majority of the cooking, tickle and toss our kids, take out the trash, and listen patiently as I ranted about how obsessed everyone was with strollers. I felt entitled to a Sherpa, a chef, and a cheerleader.

What did he want from me? It was a short list. To feel as though he could make me happy. Secondarily he wanted to be satisfied in bed.

That was something I could give him.


I know the catalyst to connection for my husband is sex. For me it is conversation. It doesn’t seem fair that I justified withholding sex for days or weeks at a time. I would never accept a husband who ignored my attempts at conversation for a week. That would be ridiculous. I ignored my friends’ assertion that sex on Saturdays was all we needed to offer. I silently set myself the goal of sex five times a week.

To make it easier to get started I decided I would call these more frequent sexual interludes “quickies” requiring less intense attention to timing, mood setting and foreplay. A sort of in and out if you will. I would shut the door while the kids were watching TV and lead him into the bathroom. I set my alarm 5 minutes early and woke him naked. We decided to include a vibrator in our every day sex, ensuring that we could both be satisfied in a reasonable amount of time.

Seven years later, we have sex 5 to 7 times a week. Nothing like the tangled sheets of our early days, but from what I can tell from book club far more than our peers.


He feels the kind connections that he craves. He looks at me with love, strokes my hair and asks me questions. For less than thirty minutes a day I have my chef and Sherpa. Beyond that I have a friend and supporter whose physical affection I no longer rebuke. I also have orgasms at the hand of my husband, and that makes us both happy.

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

11 thoughts on “Married sex”

  1. Hi Anna! I’m not a mom but I do know that life can offers all sorts of distractions and if we want a good marriage it is necessary to figure out give-and-take ways that serve you both. I also know that after 38 years our sex life might not be as frequent but it is much, much better than it used to be and we are both equally happy. In fact, our entire relationship just keeps getting better and better. Good for you for finding what works for you at this stage of life! ~Kathy

  2. 5-7x a week?! Wow, getcha some girl! Someday my husband and I will get back to that, but I need my youngest to wean first! Having babes super close together killed my drive.

  3. Perfectly said. Could’ve written Damn near every word. It is so easy to fall into that pattern of it’s just easier not to cover with sex or any other kind of marital intimacy and it really takes no time at all to get back into the habit of being a couple. Great post. Love it.

  4. This piece really resonated with me even though I’m way past the child-rearing stage. I got married for the second time ten years ago and for the first few years the spark of newness even in midlife was so strong we were like teenagers again. And then, of course, that side cools down some with time, life demands, perimenopause and real menopause! And it’s not just about “sex/getting some” for my husband, it truly is as you said, such a strong point of CONNECTION for him. I don’t think I really appreciated that until recently.. And when you made the comparison about conversation being the catalyst for you (and me) as sexi s for your husband, it was such an aha moment for me. Yes!

    1. Yes…I have to keep imagining our partnerships if he would simply refuse to talk to me saying…I’m not in the mood. OrMaybe Wednesday. That wouldn’t work at all. We need to rally for each other.

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