Have you heard about this book, 365 Nights ? It’s about a woman who gave her husband, for his fortieth birthday, the “gift” of sex every night for an entire year. FYI, it’s not a novel. It’s non-fiction. As in, there really is an actual woman - with children – who had sex with her husband every single night for an entire year. When I first heard about it, my immediate reaction was oh, God, I hope my husband doesn’t hear about this. I mean, I adore my husband, but sex every night for a year is not on the short list of things I might give him for his birthday. Or ever. But then I read an article about the book in the Style section of the New York Times, and I just couldn’t resist. I had to show it to him. Look at this, I said, in my most pretend nonchalant voice ever. Some woman had sex with her husband every night for a year, and she wrote a book about it. With even more pretend nonchalance than I had feigned, he took the paper from my hand and read the article. When he finished, he handed it back and avoided making eye contact. That’s interesting, he said. It is interesting, I said back. Then he asked if I thought we should try it, and I said no. Actually, what I think I said was, hell, no, just thinking about it makes me tired.
But it did get me thinking. Let’s assume that I didn’t have two kids and a job and a household and a million things racing through my head every single night, let alone a six year old with a habit of sleepwalking into my room at the precise moment that I get into bed and turn off the lights. Even then, would I want to have sex with my husband every single day? Would I want to be a Post Office of sex, delivering the goods through sleet and snow, rain or shine, headaches, cramps, periods, bad moods, I-feel-fat days or just general crankiness? Ummmmm, no, not so much. For me, I want to have sex with my husband because I want to have sex, not because I am contractually obligated to do so. I mean, if we had to have sex every day, no matter what, I think I might start to resent him, even if it was my stupid birthday present idea in the first place. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t necessarily have sex with my husband every day for a year. I mean, if an entire year just happened to be filled with good, I’m-in-the-mood-for-sex kind of days, then sure, why not? Probably, that would be the same year that every day was filled with winning lottery tickets delivered to my doorstep by extremely hot guys riding bareback on unicorns. But hey, you never know.
But then I wondered, you know, is it normal for me to feel that way? Are there working mothers out there who have sex with their husbands every single day, even without the possibility of a book deal? And is it just me, or does nobody talk about this? I mean, we all know the jokes about how once you get married and have kids, the honeymoon comes to a pretty abrupt end. We’ve all talked about how sex is hard to come by in those first few months after a baby is born. But what about when your kids are toddlers? Preschoolers? School aged? At what point are you supposed to have a “normal” sex life again, and by the way, what’s normal, anyway? Obviously, it’s not every day for a year, or this book wouldn’t be getting so much attention. But what about every other day? Once a week? Once a month? Once a quarter? I’m willing to bet that if someone wrote a book about how she and her husband didn’t have sex for an entire year, that would seem just as absurd, and would get just as much attention.
It seems to me that “married sex” is the final frontier with regard to social taboos. But what I can’t figure out is whether nobody talks about it because they don’t want to be the subject of gossip, or if nobody talks about it because they’re afraid to find out that they’re doing it less than everyone else. But then again, maybe it’s nice to just not know. Because in this world of competitive parenting, where mothers judge each other on a daily basis, where parents are constantly comparing how smart, how cute, how thin, how precocious their children are to everyone else’s, where people can find out what you paid for your house with just a mouse click, it is kind of refreshing to have one thing in your life that isn’t held up to a standard of what everyone else is doing, and that doesn’t come with any pressure from the outside world. So I think I’ll pass on the forced, every day for a year requirement, and be happy with doing it once a _______, because I want to.
And no, I’m not going to fill in the blank.