This originally ran in Woman’s Day Magazine, but folks have been reposting it so I thought I would, too.
10 Things I Learned by Having Sex with My Husband
I’m probably a lot like you: I work, have a family, and manage a household, so the pace of my days usually rivals the speed of light. And, as it often happens, sex got pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. Luckily, just as my 13-year marriage was poised for a nosedive, I came up with an idea that resurrected my sex life and saved my marriage. Here’s what happened: For his 40th birthday I gave my husband the gift of 40 straight days of sex on a whim. The next morning, I panicked, realizing I could never survive that much sex—physically or emotionally. Desperate to make my gift more manageable, I tweaked my original offer and gave him 40 beads—each one good for a roll in the hay. Those beads changed everything about our life together and eventually became The Forty Beads Method, detailed in my book Forty Beads, The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage. Here are 10 surprising marriage lessons I learned when I got better at getting busy with my husband.
1. When it comes to love, it pays big to pay it forward. Sometimes, when you give a truly selfless gift, what you get in return is your own heart’s greatest desire. In other words, I didn’t give my husband those beads because I wanted more sex. I was perfectly fine with our marginal-at-best sex life. I gave him those beads because I knew he wanted more sex. And what I’ve gotten in return is the loving, connected relationship I’ve always wanted. Sure, I took a risk, loosening my grip on the sexual power in my relationship, but the risk was so worth the reward.
2. Creating a sense of abundance around sex changes everything. Seriously—it’s so true. Before I stumbled across The Forty Beads Method, my husband never felt like there was enough sex in his life. Sound familiar? I now realize that his dour assessment of his sexual situation created a sense of lack that permeated our whole relationship.(And, by the way, he was right—our sex life was in the toilet.) Giving my husband those beads created a major shift, from a sense of lack to a sense of abundance around sex, which immediately triggered a deluge of love, altruism and gratitude that changed everything about our relationship. He started going out of his way to fill my needs—like offering to pick up the kids from school or just taking out the trash without being asked. Now, you might say he should’ve been doing those things before. And maybe so, but after 13 years of marriage, let’s just say we weren’t giving each other our best selves. After I tossed him those beads, we suddenly had an abundance of sweet little gestures, laughter and love bouncing back and forth between us. Sound like magic? I know—I think so, too, but really, it’s all about abundance.
3. A healthy, habitual sex life continually moves a relationship forward. Sex keeps a couple connected and keeps a relationship moving forward—progressing and evolving. Not having sex keeps a relationship stuck, or worse, kicks it headlong into a tailspin. I swam against the current of not enough sexin my marriage for years until I found an easy, fun way to go with the flow. Using The Forty Beads Method, I’ve learned to continually make choices that keep my relationship in forward motion, getting better with every passing day. Sure, we still have our rough moments, but we maintain a positive grade—not a negative one—all the time.
4. Saying “yes”is way more fun than saying “no.” Remember the Jim Carrey movie Yes Man where his character kept saying “yes” to whatever came his way? Sure, it caused some problems, but in the end, his life got way better. I’ve found that saying “yes” to sex with my husband on a regular basis has an expansive, opening effect on my own heart. Maybe the difference is that I live most days in positive alignment with what I want—an intimate, closely bonded relationship with my partner. We both continually rise above what threatens to pull us apart—and after 13 years of marriage, there were times when an upended toilet seat was enough to unravel a perfectly fine morning. That doesn’t happen anymore.
5. Anticipation is key. Ladies, anticipation is where it’s at—for you and him. This is something I realized after getting busy with the beads and, honestly, I’m not sure I would have come to this realization without them. With The Forty Beads Method, you’ve got your bead catcher (a little bowl by your bed) and he comes along and drops a bead into it, which triggers the anticipation process since it signals sex is on the horizon. As a result, you both start thinking about each other—and about coming together intimately—instead of focusing on the minutiae of the day. That anticipation is what gets you in the mood. And when you’re in the mood, well, things tend to play out a whole lot better in bed, don’t they?
6. More Sex = Better Sex You always hear this, and I never wanted to think this could be true, but it absolutely is. Now, I don’t go into any specific between-the-sheets maneuvers in Forty Beads, but let’s just say that since I started having sex with my husband more often, my sexual experiences have never been better. Really. I think it’s kind of like committing to strength training versus being a total couch potato. When you use your muscles, they get stronger and work better. But if you don’t, they become weak and don’t respond very well. I’ll let you connect the dots.
7. Having sex can take less time than unloading the dishwasher. It’s true. I’ve timed it. I can’t tell you how often I used the excuse: “But we don’t have time!” Guess what? There’s time. And here’s what I’ve discovered: Taking the time to have sex with your husband on a regular basis (even if it’s just a quickie) will benefit your relationship more than almost anything else you could do instead—especially unloading the dishwasher.
8. Having sex on a regular basis can change how you feel about sex. In Forty Beads, I talk about the “Beadefits”—all those tangible and intangible benefits you receive from using The Forty Beads Method. A definite Beadefit for me is that I enjoy sex now—I have a consistent desire for it, I look forward to it and I don’t avoid it. After spending years dodging the deed, when I finally wrapped my head around the fact that my healthy sex life was making a difference in my marriage, my attitude toward sex changed completely.
9. Sex gets your creative juices flowing. Sex is the ultimate creative act. Again, not something I realized until after establishing my healthy sex habit, but as a woman, connecting to your sexuality—really embodying it—is key to living a fully engaged, creative life. It’s about connecting to your femininity. We all have this Aphrodite, Goddess of Love energy waiting inside of us. All we have to do is call it up. I spent years cutting myself off from my sexuality, but no more. Having sex with my husband reconnected me to my own sexuality and creativity. Want to create something great? Get busy.
10. Love is like a wheel. Maybe the most important thing I’ve learned from having sex with my husband is that sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down, but I know that as long as we keep things fluid (as in, have sex on a regular basis) when we find ourselves down, it won’t be long until we’re back up again. That’s because in a committed relationship, sex is a healer. In Forty Beads, I talk about a “beadefit” called the beading boomerang effect. When life gets to be too much—when you and your husband are at each other because the fridge went on the fritz, your three-year-old bit his buddy at school, or even the bigger stuff—if you lean toward intimacy, instead of away from it, you get back to the good life that much quicker. It may sound counterintuitive to fall into bed when you’re irritated, but you may just be surprised at how effective it is at pulling things back to center.