United States of Motherhood: Marital Secrets: My Bed Sheets are Sand Dunes

Friday, August 24, 2007

Marital Secrets: My Bed Sheets are Sand Dunes

Ahhhemm...cough....cough....{nervously clearing throat}

I have a secret that I think I might just share in this post. I know. I know. What could I possibly be secretive about, eh? No, it's not anything to do with blogging on the toilet again. We'll see how it goes.

Let's start with some background. I grew up in a family where sex was openly discussed. Everyone knew my parents did it like bunnies. Even though they are Mormon, bawdy humor wasn't totally frowned upon. My brother walked in on my Mom on top and was never the same. All the kids knew what a locked bedroom door meant and, damn, that door was locked A LOT!

My paternal grandparents, not Mormon, were bawdy and sometimes even openly frisky. Grandpa had a handmade waterfall with the water coming out of a dirty old man's penis. It was wonderful to see my 80-something 6'4" grandfather still pinching my 4"11" grandmother's tush. They obviously were still in love and showed public affection all the time. It was pretty much assumed they had a pretty healthy sex life. So, when I was a bit older, I was surprised to realize they had separate twin beds, somewhat like June Cleaver's world.

Let's fast forward to my college years. I was pretty interested in sex, but held to my values of waiting for marriage. That lasted about 1 month after I met my future husband. Suddenly, we were doing it like bunnies on crack and I have the dropped GPA (before CG, Berkeley G.P.A.: 3.875; Semester after CG: 3.3 and one incomplete) and 7 month pregnancy upon graduation. Ooops!

So, fast-forward to today. I always thought I would be like my parents and grandparents. I would love sex. I would be the energizer bunny and luckily have a mate that felt the same.
I was right on one part. I have a mate that is always ready, but me? Meh! I have the sex drive of a turnip and it's been that way since I was 25 years old.

There was one time in our marriage that there was a FOUR month dry period--not including the six months when he was deployed where it wasn't missed. Luckily, I have a super-fantastic husband who was understanding. If it had been on the other shoe, I would have felt insulted, hurt, who knows...

I have asked for help over the years from doctors, but they always would say "You're tired. It will come back!" or "It's the Anemia. Your periods are doing a number on your body." or "Pregnancies do a number on your body. It will get better. You'll see." Or lately, "Sometimes, that's just the way it is. Unfortunately, they haven't done a lot of research for women."

I went to friends and a sister with healthy sex lives for help, but nothing helped. My sister is one of those multi-orgasmic creatures with a super healthy sex drive. Sometimes I wonder if she used up the sex drive juices before I was born.

I kept hoping that I would hit my sexual prime in my mid-thirties like everyone says, but nope. Nada. Zilch!

Funnily enough, I think I have finally put my finger on my dysfunction. I am sexually bi-polar. I have periods of euphoria when the bunny comes back 3-4 nights in a row followed by weeks of numbness, depression, nothingness in the sexual department. CG tries and I can't even wrap my head around it. He gets shut down.

Let's return to the sleeping situation of my grandparents. Were they fronting? Well, here comes my secret.

I sleep on the downstairs couch more often than I sleep with my husband.

It's not that I don't love my husband. It's not that I don't want to sleep next to my life partner. The answer is complex:

I have a terrible back. After multiple injuries in the army and as a Mommy, my back is just screwy. My muscles have torqued my hips, so one side is an inch higher and an inch more forward than the other. I have sciatica that has in the past forced me to crawl on my hands and knees up the stairs. Six months of twice weekly physical therapy only helped until the benefits ran out. I have bad days and good days, and the good days come from sleeping alone on the couch. I am a physical, restless sleeper and fighting for pillows, blankets and the sagging middle of the mattress leaves me in pain and exhausted when I sleep with CG in our bed.

Coupled with this is my need to have light and noise to fall asleep while CG must have absolute silence and a darkened, womb-like room. I need the TV on. He can't sleep with even the bathroom light on. We've tried various headphones or lowered volumes, but I have a hearing loss that makes that difficult to impossible as a compromise.

Then, there's the open window CG must have, no matter the weather, which makes me shiver and dream of break-ins. Oh, and let's not forget he tucks in the end of the bedsheets and comforter while I need my legs free to constantly move about in the elusive hope of finding a comfortable spot for my back.

Finally, comes in the sex, or lack of... If I sleep downstairs, CG is less likely to try to get busy and then I am less likely to have to hurt his feelings and shut him down. So, dear readers, I am beginning to understand the twin beds of yesteryear.

BUT! Fucking Hell! I am not 80 years old.

Then, yesterday, I heard of a study that 73 percent of 60-80 year olds are having sex and even more are masturbating and, of those active, most were having sex 2-3 times a month. Fucking bloody hell. I am worse than an eighty year old. I am at a loss as to what to do.

There are times when I wonder why CG doesn't get frustrated. What's in it for him in this marriage? I don't know how I have gotten so lucky to have a husband that doesn't stray. There are times when I get so depressed about this that I think I wouldn't blame him. Yet, he knows that cheating, of all things, would hurt me the most and kill our marriage.

I wonder if it has to do with my terrible self-image? I hate the way I look so why should he find me desirable. CG assures me he finds me sexy, but the 60 lbs. I have put on since we were married takes it's toll on my self-worth. I can't stand looking at myself in a mirror, seeing myself in most photographs, so having someone else see me at my most vulnerable is a problem. Yet, even at my thinest, I have had this lack of sexual desire. I just want to shake myself and say snap out of it!

So, we plod on in a marriage where he sleeps alone most nights. I have become the couch potato downstairs. And I curse the stars for what has become of me! Last night, I had one of those bi-polar euphoric moments when I finally felt a glimmer and rushed upstairs to spend the night in my marital bed and in CG's arms. It was wonderful. But, will these glimmers be enough to satisfy CG? What about me?

So, I come to you, dear reader, for help? Has this happened to you? What can be done? Am I the worst wife in the world?

Should I fake it? Do you think it will ever come? Am I doomed to having the sexual desire of a gnat? How abnormal is this?

Have my physical sleep needs doomed me to miss those euphoric moments because I am sleeping on the couch? Any husband out there experiencing the same? Is 1-3 times a month enough?



Whit said...

1-3 times a month is 1-3 times a month more than most husbands get it.

Maybe CG has his own finger on the problem to pass the time.

Island Girl said...

Have you had your hormone levels tested? Possibly you have low testosterone. Try a Family Planning clinic? GPs aren't good for much at all.

Don't worry about not sleeping in the same bed. If you sleep best on the couch, that's fine. Poor sleep isn't going to help your sex drive. We don't always both sleep in our bed at the same time - I keep very strange hours and my husband goes to bed at the usual time. Probably this is TMI but we usually do it right when he comes home and during the day on the weekends. Why wait until you are dead dog tired, you know? What's the point? I have never got that. If I always waited until midnight I don't think I'd be that interested either. Try another time of day?

Don't worry so much about the 60lbs. Exercise will make you feel wonderful regardless of what the scales say - forget the scales and just look after yourself. Cliched but true.

On a related issue, not exactly a sex problem but a marriage issue - sometimes I just want to freaking kill my husband. I just become completely sure that we are not suited and have few things in common, even though we do love each other. Probably because we got together too young I guess. But I can't talk to anyone because it's just totally difficult to say that, even to my own mother. And we are considered to be one of those lucky, meant-to-be couples. I think marriage in general is surrounded by a lot of doubt and secrecy, so I commend you for your brave post.


adymommy said...

I think this is a great topic! If you would like me to I will link it!

Leslie said...

You're not abnormal. You're not a bad wife. I think this is a common issue.

Everyone is different, but it definitely helps me to sort of plan sex. Dave and I will make a date for it and then, I get the whole build up to it, like I did when we were dating (and what was a date except scheduled sex? Well, at least it was for us). We exchange steamy loves notes - I'll put one in his briefcase, he'll leave one on my nightstand. And honestly? I masturbate. The more I do that, the more I want the real thing.

I can understand the weight issue and it isn't necessarily the weight, but how you feel about it. I'm the heaviest I've ever been and having the greatest sex of my life. In bed, I'm not a fat girl, I'm sexy. I truly feel good in my skin, even considering how much it covers. But it took me a long time to get to that place. Looking back, most of my hangups about sex really came down to how much I loved myself and little to do with how I felt about my partner or how he felt about me. But, that's me.

1-3 times a month? I think you're getting it more than the average married couple.

I just gotta say, I love the way you write. I think you're brilliant.

deity said...

hello there. i apologize upfront if i can't be of any help to your dilemna. i haven't had real sex for almost 2 years now. and i have this cyber bf whom i usually have "online" sex with for at least every 3 months.

i think you should seek professional help. you want to do that for yourself, for your family and for your marriage.

have a great weekend:)

Absolutely Bananas said...

You're totally normal. Really. I am convinced that there's a misperception by the media and everyone else that leads us to believe that happy, normal married couples have sex every night. LIES! ALL LIES! Every woman who I know who is HONEST about her sex life says the same thing. I'm just so tired. It's too much work. I don't feel like it. It's OK! stop beating yourself up! do it when you feel like it and don't when you don't! And maybe, when the kids are older and there's not 9,000 things competing for your energy and attention, the urge will come back stronger than ever. But if not, it's ok. There's a lot more to life than just sex, no matter what ANYONE says.

kate said...

you're awesome. you're courageous. i have no advice, no words of wisdom. but i think the words you've written have power.

jennifercarol said...

I think your situation is surprisingly common. My dad slept in a recliner for years while my mom slept in their bed, because he couldn't sleep lying down. I don't know how much sex was a factor, but I'm guessing they weren't getting much. But you know what, they still loved each other very much as evidenced by my dad's heartache when my mother passed away.

Perhaps it would be worth it for you to speak with a counselor either alone, with your hubby or both. It sounds like you have a great marriage but these concerns are worrying you. Plus you don't really know your husband's opinion on the matter. Also, push your doctor to test you as well...there are medical reasons that could cause this!

Good luck, and thanks for having the courage to speak about such a sensitive issue!

acte gratuit said...

I once heard that "sex is to men what conversation is to women." Followed by "How would you like it if your husband stopped talking to you for days or weeks at a time?" So frankly, I try to be available whenever he wants me, and yes, even when I'm tired, etc. etc.

(And then I expect him to listen to be blabber daily, so it's a fair trade.)

The benefits to his happiness and our marriage more than make up for the inconvenience it (sometimes) is to me.

Conclusion: Do it even if you don't feel like it. It can't hurt and it'll definitely help.

Kirsten said...

Hi. You don't know me. So I think I'll tell you my most private stuff. Like you are so not alone. Before children I wanted sex like 3 times a day every day. Now I don't need it at all. I seriously feel like I falsely advertised because I want to want it, but two kids in two years and breastfeeding and all of it have just killed my libido. He sleeps on the couch. I adore my husband. I hate living like this.

Now that you know all my secrets I must say that I am really enjoying your blog!

the mad momma said...

came here via adymommy who i just bumped into. i think its very commendable that you write about it. most others dont talk abt such things. i think we all go through dry spells... and i recently did a post on it and got a hundred gasps of shock...because you see in india... sex is not a word you use in public.

anyway - i have nothing really wise to add but to say that you need to want it. if you don't want it, then there's nothing much anyone can do. perhaps a counsellor? and yes... i would say its got a lot to do with your aches and pains. i have had two csecs in a row and when i am feeling tired and cranky i bite my husband's head off if he even so much as looks at me. also weight.. i look in the mirror and cry all the time because i am a few inches more than i was... but i'm starting a weight loss and fitness program and that should help. i hope things get better soon. whats life without sex, huh? :D

but to chim in with the others - 1-3 times is a good amount. dont up the pressure on the rest!

Amelia said...

Just letting you know I moved blog homes. :)

I was Island Girl, now I'm Amelia!

My new blog address is attached to my profile.

Hope you're doing okay... long time no posting?

Take care.

Eve said...

I go through phases as well. I notice that they're linked to how often I work out. The more I work out, the sexier and more energetic I feel, the more I'm willing to give it up. With all of your injuries I don't know if this is helpful.
Don't give up on yourself. Or sex. I think it's important in a marriage for both sides.

~*~Janelle~*~ said...

You're not alone and you're not a bad wife. Oftentimes I MAKE myself put out because I feel bad for my husband. I'd say we get it on about once a week these days--perhaps twice. Having small children makes it very difficult too. When I go to bed, I want to SLEEP...and I don't want to go to bed early because I want to enjoy the peace of a quiet home in the evening. Yes, it's hormonal, it's situational and it's partly a choice...I'm not saying that putting out more will make you want sex more...but I have heard that. I too was like you, I used to have the sex drive of a man...and then I had my first child and BAM, it was gone...and it is sorely missed. I do have to say, when my middle child was about 2.5 years old I stopped taking the pill and we started to try for another baby. That was the best I'd felt in a LOOOONNG time. I think it was a combination of not *worrying* about getting pregnant and also having *normal* hormones again (no pill, no breastfeeding, no pregnancy, etc.). I don't know, all I can say is that I HOPE it comes back, at least a little bit, because I sure miss it!!

Beau said...

So, my silence in the comments here has not been out of disagreement or displeasure. I have been thinking since this was posted on what to say. And I'm still having difficulty.

When I read this post, I was on a conference call. I walked over to Heather and gave her a hug and told her I love her. In one sense, that sums it up right there. I am a guy and most guys don't have verbalizing as a strength.

But this post deserves more. It is such heartfelt, open and honest posting.

Heather, I love you with all my heart. It doesn't matter where you sleep, because I know you love me. Yeah, I would prefer that you slept with me, but if you are more comfortable (back pain, background noise) on the couch so be it. Your happiness is an important thing to me.

I love you very much. It doesn't matter how much we have sex, it matters how much we love each other.

Amelia said...

I tried to leave this message before... I'm sorry if this is a repeat but I'm not sure if it went through last time.

I was Island Girl - I have moved blogs, new blog on my profile. :)

I hope you're doing okay!

Ann(ie) said...

You get a Big fat ditto and a round of applause from me. I love this post!! I've wondered about the same thing, but then I think about the chaos that is our lives and I think 1-3 times a month ain't so bad. Until I'm ready for another baby and then I turn into 'babyzilla' and order my hubby to remove his pants every night. =P

Ann(ie) said...

OMG. You have a keeper of a hubby there, girl. What a sweeeeeet comment.

Anonymous said...

Ah, love your blog.
I don't know about mid-thirties, but I do know late thirties/early forties...
My husband probably WISHES I was more like you.
1-3 times a MONTH? I seem to need that per WEEK, or I am depressed and worried. Poor guy, seriously, who can he dare complain to?
I am only half kidding.
There is no normal or average.
If there's no medical problem, maybe it is just normal for you, right now.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, this is a few years late.
However, I found your blog today, and I've made it from the beginning to August 2007.
I don't know if this is still happening for you, and our situations are probably very different.
I just know that I have a nympho for a fiance. He wants to have sex at least once a day, and thankfully pleasures himself a few times a day.
I go about 2 weeks a month when I want it, (its probably my period hormones,) and then 2 weeks when I don't care about sex at all. I just know that sometimes when he's being all super-nympho I just say 'fine' and lose the pants. I may not be in the mood, but it usually always ends well. I noticed someone said just try doing it or whatever and they maybe have a point that once in a while when CG really wants it, just give in once in a while. Then you can jokingly say, "But I already gave you sex once this month! The quota has been filled!"

help4newmoms said...

I think what's normal is what works for you and you husband. How's that for a hackneyed comment? But...I mean it. There are many factors that go into sex drive and you wrote about a lot of stuff here. I would focus on your pain, though, no one should have to live like that and then work your way forward. This is obviously bothering you. Any by the way, thank your husband for the good cry he gave me this afternoon. Geez.

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