When the Stardust Disperses


The beginning of a relationship is magical. You bump along together, tripping the light fantastic, reflecting on rainbows and treading on stardust. Then you get married and move into the same house. Inevitably, this other person who before was completely awe-inspiring, becomes human in the harsh light of reality pummeled with mortgages and middle-of-the-night diaper changes. The day-to-day stuff of marriage is challenging and at times it can feel like there’s not enough of anything to go around. That’s when harnessing a sense of abundance becomes critical to the happiness of a marriage.

I think we can all agree that living out of a sense of abundance feels way better than living out of a sense of lack. It feels good when you’ve got a little cushion in your bank account and also when you know there’s an endless supply of hugs available from the people you love. Well, it often happens that over time, a marriage begins to operate out of a sense of lack when it comes to sex. That’s right, not just your marriage. After that psychotic in love, can’t-breath-without-you, want-to-crawl-up-inside-your-body-so-that-I-am-never-separated-from-you-ever-again wears off (because it does—once you start taking out the trash and paying bills together), the drive to constantly connect sexually wanes. It just does. And really, for good reason—because at some point, you have to leave the bed, go out into the world and make something happen.

So it’s just the natural order of things that the sex slows as a marriage progresses. There are some specific reasons, too, like the crazy demands placed on our time on any given day. Work and kids—babies especially—wring us mothers out physically and emotionally until we don’t have anything left to give. After a day spent putting out fires at the office and/or wrestling toddlers at home, maybe we’re a little choosy when it comes to how we’d like to use what little energy we have left. It’s nothing personal against our spouse, but come 9pm on a Wednesday night, we’d often pick a Klondike bar and an Everybody Loves Raymond rerun over a roll in the hay. That’s just how the day shakes out, a fair amount of the time.

But there is something to be done about this waning sexual frequency, which over time, takes a toll on the connection in marriage. You can consciously, intentionally choose love. That’s right, choose it. Choose love, again and again until it becomes a habit. Because that’s all are days are, you know, a string of habits held together haphazardly or with intention. Your choice. Choose well, in the shadow of the year ahead.

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10 Things I Learned by Having Sex With My Husband

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.

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Q & A from Best Self Magazine

Questions for Carolyn Evans, author of FORTY BEADS


  1. How would you describe The Forty Beads Method?

The Forty Beads Method is a sweet little token system that sort of magically dissolves the negative tension that can build around sex in a marriage (specifically, the frequency with which it does or does not occur) and replaces it with the sex life you always thought you should have, which in turn creates the relationship you’ve always wanted. It’s all about creating that sense of abundance around sex—which permeates the whole relationship.

  1. I read that the method came from your idea to give your husband 40 days of sex – how did this idea evolve to what it is today?

Once I developed the Method—the rules, the subtleties and began to understand exactly why it works so well, I had to share it with other women. And you know, when we women find something that works for us, we like to tell all our friends about it. So that’s how this Forty Beads Movement began—very organically—by word of mouth.

  1. When did you first realize that if The Forty Beads Method worked for you, it could work for others?

Almost immediately. I was so floored by the amazing changes happening in my relationship but I thought how could all this be happening just because I gave him a bunch of beads? I had a hunch it would work for other women because I’m a really hard one to convince. So if the Method worked for me, I figured it would work well for other women.

  1. From start to completion, how long did it take you to finish the book?

This is the crazy thing. Writing this book was like pouring water from a pitcher. Some writers will hate me for saying this, but I didn’t have a day of writer’s block. I started writing it and I couldn’t rest until it was done. I’d wake up at 4am and write all day. “Obsessed” would be a word that comes to mind. It took me about four months to complete the manuscript.

  1. What is the basic message of The Forty Beads Method?

Sex keeps a couple connected—both physically and emotionally—and a healthy sex life is an important part of a healthy marriage. The Method is about couples having fun as they pull sex back to the front burner of their relationship.

  1. What is the best complement/story you’ve gotten from fans of The Forty Beads Method?

Of course, I get lots of “Thank you’s” from men, but the greatest complement I keep getting is from women telling me that they feel like I’m one of their best friends talking to them when they read Forty Beads. I love that. I feel such a Bond with every woman who uses this Method and I love connecting with them on my facebook page.

Oh my gosh. There have been so many amazing stories. I’ve had many couples tell me that the Method saved their marriage and nothing in this world could make me happier. To impact a life like that? It doesn’t get any better than that.

  1. What does The Forty Beads Method represent to you?

The Method is about choosing love—again and again and continually moving a relationship forward. It’s about not getting bogged down by the petty minutiae of the day, like the sock on the floor or the toilet seat left up. Couples who use the Method continually rise above what commonly pulls them apart on a daily basis.

  1. Do you feel everyone can benefit from The Forty Beads Method?

No. The Method is definitely not for couples where there is abuse of any kind going on. I say to women that if they’re married to a complete jerk, no, the Method is not for them.

Otherwise, yes, I’ve found tat the Method is fun and effective for couples who struggle with conflicting libidos and also those who aren’t really having problems with sex, but just want to change things up and bring some playfulness back to their marriage.

  1. How long were you a therapist and how has that background helped you when writing your book?

I worked as a therapist for maybe 4-5 years, but I think once you’re a therapist, you’re kind of always a therapist—as far as how you view your world. I’ve always been fascinated with people and what makes them do what they do so I guess my personal curiosity along with my desire to improve my own situation were both helpful in writing the book.

          10. What makes The Forty Beads Method unique?

Well, to my knowledge (and I’ve had lawyers research this) there has never been a token system method that involved sex before The Forty Beads Method. Some people are really freaked out by the whole token system—beads for sex—kind of thing, but it’s about sex in a marriage so…

          11. What does the chapter titled “What Would Gloria Say?” cover?

That chapter talks about how using the Method is not about a woman giving up her sexual power in the relationship, but about her sharing the power with her husband—and how the relationship benefits from the sharing of that power. And by the way, a woman reserves the right to “turtle” her Beadcatcher if her husband exhibits some true jerk behavior.

            12. What has been the reaction from men who participated in The Forty Beads Method?

Ummm…they LOVE it.

             13. What questions or reactions have you received from fans?

I get emails everyday from men and women thanking me for writing this book. They tell me things like Finally somebody came out with it—this truth about sex in a marriage. And You’re describing my life and my marriage in your book.

I’ve been surprised and delighted to hear that couples are actually reading the book together, which I think is a great idea, I just hadn’t predicted that would happen.

             14. What would you like readers to take away from the book?

That every choice we make and every action we take either brings us closer to or pulls us further from the love we want. My Beaders tell me that using the Method helps them become more conscious in their relationship and they learn to choose to look at the big picture and not to get pulled down by the irritating little things like they used to.

            15. Did you ever anticipate the book would be such a success and how have you handled it?

I’m so thrilled that the book is resonating with so many women–and men– on such a deep level. Women are reading it quickly and getting their Bead on immediately after and they’re telling me all about it, which is really exciting and fun for me. Some are buying The Forty Beads Gift and others are getting crafty and making their own—which I love.

How have I handled it? I have a fantastic husband who helps out a ton. And I’ve been trying to take good care of myself—I go to bed early and get up early.




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Female desire. It’s a Two Step Process

Painted heart

What happens when a wife observes her husband doing thoughtful things and feels him engaging with her emotionally? She becomes attracted to him. Because for most of us women, our emotional switch has to get flipped before the desire switch has a chance of getting tripped. That’s right: It’s a two-step process to get to the starting line. You could think of our emotional connection and sexual desire like one of those outdoor covered electrical switches—you know the ones with the metal door you have to pry back before you can turn the light on? We have to be touched emotionally by our husbands before our sexual desire has any hope of bubbling up to the surface. That’s just how we’re wired, most of us anyway. And the great thing is, the Beads are an easy, fun way to initiate this two-step process again and again.

With a little kick-start from the Beads, a very natural process takes shape. The husband and wife feel connected to each other—even before coming together intimately—which makes that Bead redemption (that’s right, the sexual encounter) easy, carefree and fun. Most of the time, anyway. Annnnd that’s why it works. Any questions?

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Romance. Exactly What Is That, Anyway?

With Valentine’s Day approaching like a freight train, let’s look at what our culture calls romance. Here’s a question for you: Youd like for your relationship to have more romance, wouldn’t you? But what do you mean by that? Do you mean that you’d like your husband to pepper you with Zoro-style kisses starting at the wrist, going straight up the forearm, pausing at the neck and finally moving in on your lips? That might be fun a time or two, but honestly, wouldn’t a routine like that get a little tiresome on a regular basis? When we say we’d like our husbands to be more romantic, what we really mean is that we’d like our husbands to be more attentive, more thoughtful and show us more of what they’re feeling, right? That’s not romance—that’s intimacy. When you think about it, isn’t it intimacy that you want? Well, The Bead Method creates an environment that promotes and nurtures intimacy. And while the elusive intimacy card gets punched in different ways for men and for women, the Beads have a way of paying that intimacy forward— for a husband and a wife. Let’s look at some ways that happens.

As I’ve pointed out, the Beads create a sense of security for a husband around sex. That’s just how it is and trust me, it’s a good thing. This confidence allows him the freedom to anticipate, to look forward to being with his wife, knowing that it’sreally going to happen. While he’s anticipating being with his wife, he begins focusing on her in a really positive way. What happens when one human focuses on another human in a positive way? They think about filling the needs of that human. It’s really simple. What does this look like? Well usually, what a wife sees is a husband behaving like the great guy she knows him to be.

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