Julia and Damien’s marriage was on the ropes when she suggested a radical idea – they have sex every day for a month. But they were not prepared for what happened next.
My husband Damien and I have been together for ten years and married for seven when I noticed I was bored.
Was it the famous seven-year itch setting in? Am I that much of a cliché?
I don’t know. I just know that after three kids in five years, two sometimes competing careers, and trying to maintain tiny shreds of a social life, we’d drifted apart.
We were flatmates rather than partners, and we generally slept with at least one child in between us in the bed.
I wanted Damien to touch and cuddle me more, to connect with me emotionally, to look me in the eye when he talked to me, and to kiss me like he meant it – at least sometimes.
My body hadn’t felt like my own for so long. I had spent most of the past six years either pregnant or breastfeeding and I could barely stand to look in the mirror at the flabby, saggy stretched-out mess I had become.
I wanted to feel like a woman again, not just a mum.
When I suggested having sex every day for a month, Damien was on board straight away. He’s a scientist so he quickly rattled off all the “benefits” to having lots of sex.
“Sex is super healthy,” he said with that air of authority he gets when he wants to convince me of something possibly dodgy.
“It lowers stress and risk of heart disease. It also builds confidence and is good for intimacy – and couples who have sex regularly are known to behave better towards each other.”
Then he excused himself to ring up his best mate to tell him the news.
I wondered if couples who have sex regularly behave better towards each other because they’re having regular sex, or whether they’re having regular sex because they behave better towards each other.
I was willing to find out.
I won’t lie: the first night everything felt awkward. I felt like I was doing it because I had to, rather than because I wanted to or because of that beautiful, organic process where one thing leads to another.
But I reminded myself it had been ages since one thing had led to another, and this whole thing was my idea in the first place. After just a few minutes though, all that was forgotten and we both surprisingly just surrendered to the moment.
The sex was predictable and not all that exciting. We had that paint-by-numbers sex that couples have when they know exactly what each other likes, and just want to get it done. But it was a start.
We carried on like that for a few days – and then things started to get interesting.
Both Damien and I started to mix things up a little – and I was surprised to find I liked some things I didn’t think I would, and the excitement of not knowing what was coming next was pretty intoxicating too.
Of course, there were some days when I felt tired or irritated or just not in the mood, but each time I reminded myself of the reasons I was trying this experiment, and that there was worse homework in the world to have. Before I knew it, I was having a pretty good time again.
Sometimes things went on for over half an hour, as we rediscovered each other’s bodies, and our own. Other times we managed to get it done in five minutes while the kids were in the bath or playing on the trampoline, which was also fun in its own way.
The stolen moments made me feel like a teenager again.
But no matter what, we had sex of some sort each day. My favourite was when we woke up in the morning and started the day with some sexy time.
I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to start the day that way, and whenever that happened I noticed that Damien checked in with me from work during the day, which I always love.
By the end of week two I noticed I felt more comfortable in my own skin. I started to walk around the house naked or in my underwear again like I used to. And Damien was always there to grab my bum or kiss me as we passed in the hall.
When the experiment ended, I noticed that Damien and I were sharing more jokes, laughing together, smiling at each other across the room, and there was more touching – so much more touching!
And although I have no idea if that month of sex did anything to my risk of heart disease, I know Damien was right about one thing: we definitely behaved better towards each other.
The experiment ended a couple of months ago, and although we’re not quite keeping up with the pace we set back then, we’re still having a lot more sex than we used to, and we’re still behaving better towards each other too.
My confidence has skyrocketed and I feel like so much more than a mum.
Damien is more affectionate, more importantly, we seem to have rediscovered that emotional intimacy we used to have.
We’re talking about making our month of sex an annual event, and I already can’t wait for the next one.