There are a few newlywed topics that are rarely addressed, and sex is one of them. When it is talked about, it’s not usually very helpful. The message is that newlyweds have crazy sex drives and tons of time and energy to make it a regular occurrence. Even your aged family members have something to say about the regularity and intensity of your sex life…like when your Aunt Meg told you to start drinking coffee for the extra energy—ew.
But “having sex like rabbits” isn’t relatable for a lot of us, and that really is ok…and healthy…and NORMAL.
The topic came up when my husband and I were setting goals for 2017. We knew we wanted it to be our best year yet as a married couple, and one of the areas that we thought could use more consistency and attention was our sex life. Because, yes, even newlyweds who are four years in have to be intentional.
So we agreed to make sex a priority every day during the month of January. The challenge was both exciting and doable (ha). For people who set goals regularly, it was fun to have a task like this one on the daily to-do (HA!) list. Sure, some days were more fun than others, but we learned way more than I thought we would. Here are our top three takeaways.
Three Surprising Takeaways from 30 Days of Sex
1. Frequent, planned sex takes the pressure off.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that, when you’re having sex often, you’re not as concerned about “getting it right.” If you only have sex once every week or two, there’s an added pressure of this doesn’t happen very often, so it should look this way or that way. But when you’re having sex often, should’s go out the window, and it can even be more enjoyable.
There were even days when something funny would happen and we’d laugh our way through it. Laughter had never been a part of our sex life before because we didn’t know if it should be. For example, there’s nothing sexy about a dog barking at you during the act or spilling coffee everywhere, but there’s definitely humor…and we were pleasantly surprised when we realized humor could play a role in sex too.
The second reason it takes the pressure off is that there’s no wondering whether it’s going to happen or not. About a week in, my husband told me that his favorite part was that he didn’t have to worry about frequency. He didn’t stress about making time for it or about both of us being in the mood because, hell, we were going to do it anyway. This experiment opened the door for him to talk to me about how this can be a regular stressor for him, and since then, we’ve been able to work on solutions to prevent it.
Let me be clear: this does not mean that having spontaneous sex is a high pressure activity. Bring on all of the random, risky, unpredictable sex. It serves a purpose totally unrelated to this one.
2. Thirty consecutive days of sex will reveal patterns that you probably weren’t aware of.
Maybe you work late during the week and you’re too tired to have sex when you get home. So, unless you do it in the morning, weekdays never happen. This is critical information because you learn 1. why you only have sex on the weekend, and 2. how you can easily go weeks without sex when your weekends are particularly full of plans.
The biggest pattern we recognized was that, a lot of times, we waited until right before bed to have sex. This pattern was lame because a typical indictor for bedtime is fatigue, and if you’re only having sex when you’re really tired, it can affect some things. After we realized this, we started making time in our schedules that was not right before bed. This new knowledge has been a game changer for us.
And you don’t just see your “when we do it” patterns, you also see your “what we do” patterns. Your time, location and position of choice are revealed, and while it’s totally cool to play favorites, you learn to switch it up when you’re doing it 30 days in a row—then you’ll have some new favorites to add to the mix.
3. The final surprising takeaway is that we were both exhausted.
Like, barely keeping our eyes open exhausted. Sex is a physical activity, and even though you’re not running a marathon, it can take a lot out of you. To be fair, every day for thirty days is a bit excessive for the average working newlywed couple, even if they are wearing those marathon-fanny-packs full of energy chews and water bottles. You’re welcome for that imagery by the way.
This knowledge helped us plan around our natural energy levels, and it reminded us that, even if we wanted to “do it like rabbits,” we couldn’t—once again lessening the social pressure a lot of newlyweds feel about their sex lives.
We had no idea we could learn so much from a simple experiment. I highly recommend 30 days of sex for any newlywed couple that wants to learn more about their relationship in this area. The truth is that “normal” is different for everyone, so we need to keep this conversation open and ongoing. There’s more to sex than “oh, they’re still in the honeymoon phase,” so let’s talk about it.