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Last year, fellow relationship writers Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo asked me to participate in a 7-day sex challenge they were promoting. All I had to do was agree to have sex with my husband once a day for seven days in a row—not hard, right?
Well, the challenge happened to fall during a time in my life when I was exceptionally career focused. My book Project: Happily Ever After was about to release, and I was obsessed with doing all I could to publicize it.
End result: I had the sex drive of a eunuch on Prozac. Note: I do not truly know what it’s like to be a eunuch on Prozac, but I can imagine.
Anyway for someone who writes about sex for part of her living, this obviously was not a good thing. After all, sex is important for good health, good mood, a good relationship, and good sex column ideas.
Still I reluctantly agreed to do the challenge. It just seemed like a lot of work, you know? That’s why I was pleasantly relieved to learn that that challenge would be held during a week when I would be out of town without my husband.
The second annual 7 Days of Sex Challenge is next week. My book is out. I’m nearing the end of my publicity push. It’s spring. I will not be out of town, and my husband truly deserves to be worshipped seven days in a row. Still, I’m wary. In a world where people have been known to go on year long sex challenges, what will happen if I can’t even manage to pull off 7 days of sex in a row?
I’ll feel like a giant loser is what will happen. That’s why I decided to get tips from three women who had all managed to pull off sex challenges for varying amounts of time—and make their husband’s very happy in the process. Here are 5 ways to make sex a regular part of your bedroom experience.
Realize that not having sex is just as draining as having it
Charla Muller gave her husband the gift of intimacy for an entire year. She only took a pass if either of them was sick or traveling, and she eventually wrote the memoir 365 Nights based on that experience. Before the gift, Muller spent many of her evenings dodging sex. She avoided her husband and waited for him to go to sleep without her. This created an ever-present tension and strain in their relationship. “It doesn’t matter if you are having sex every day or not at all, sex is always present in your relationship,” she says. “For me, it was the elephant in the living room. The idea of it was always there, pressing down on me.” She found that as soon as she committed to the gift of intimacy, it lifted the pressure off their relationship.
Bring foreplay out of the bedroom
If you are so irritated with your spouse that you can’t look at him, you’re not going to want to get naked with him either, and vice versa. To consistently be in the mood for sex, you both must consistently treat one another with respect and be highly attentive to one another’s needs, says Muller. “We brought our best game to our marriage every day,” she says.
Often the person with the higher sex drive does most of the initiating, and the person with the lower sex drive does all of the dodging or rejecting. This leads to tension and hurt feelings. This is why Carolyn Evans, author Forty Beads, suggests that the lower drive partner initiate on her own terms. For instance, Evans has her husband place a bead on her nightstand whenever he’s interested in sex. Whenever she sees a bead, she agrees to initiate at some point in the next 24 hours.
“Nothing that you do that is a priority happens without some planning,” says Muller. Muller and her husband compare calendars each week and find creative ways to work sex into their schedules. They might plan to get up earlier one morning to make time. Or the couple might ask a sitter to show up earlier than needed so the couple can go to their bedroom to “get ready.”
If all else fails, pray
When Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo did the challenge last year, the couple had just survived a week of illnesses. The kids had all had the flu, and Tony had been in the hospital with a viral migraine. “I had nothing to give,” says Alisa. “So I did the one thing I could think of. I prayed. I prayed for desire for my husband and for me to be fully engaged in the experience. God answered my prayer and has done so on many occasions since.”
Alisa Bowman is author of “Project: Happily Ever After” and collaborator of seven New York Times bestsellers. She offers marriage advice at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com. Alisa is a former magazine editor and newspaper reporter who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.