1. Put it on the calendar.
It has to be just to ensure it doesn’t end up slightly above “Take down storm windows” but not quite as high as “Buy Fruit Roll-Ups: Meghan only likes Strawberry Kiwi Kick” on your to-do list. An Irish priest once advised a friend of mine, “Always shag the missus before Mass on a Sunday morning.” The good father got that one right: Scheduling sex before breakfast, before dessert, or before Saturday Night Live keeps it from disappearing from your lives for weeks at a time. When you know it’s Saturday at 4 p.m. and the next destination is bed, even a journey down the aisles of a big-box store can feel like foreplay. (Note: If you want to literally put sex on the calendar, have fun crafting a secret, kid-proof code with your mate.)
There tend to be certain givens about married sex it’s less frequent, less heated but there can also be some very interesting (and pleasant) surprises.
2. Sometimes it has to be sneaky.
Any parent will tell you children are the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac. One way to do an end run around the kids is to know the times they’ll be totally immersed in electronic entertainment. Limit Facebook, TV, and Xbox time during the week so you can lift all restrictions on, say, Saturday morning. Then, while they indulge, you two can lock the bedroom door, and let your own private Saturday Morning Fun Club begin.
3. Get a little creative.
One of the great gifts of married sex is a partner you’re comfortable enough with to try something new. If you have trouble getting the party going, though, try a “sex jar.” Similar to the chore jar, the directives inside could be to do it in the kitchen, in the car, with no kissing, no noise, acting out a fantasy you’ve sketched out in advance anything goes as long as you’re both OK with every idea in the jar. And my fashionista friends also remind me of the importance of keeping one’s lingerie enticing: “Make the package fun to unwrap!”
4. It’s actually really good for you.
A regular roll in the hay has been shown to lower stress (thereby decreasing heart disease risk), contribute to weight loss, relieve pain, reduce frequency of colds and flu, and improve bladder control. OK, unmarried sex comes with all the same salutary effects. But here’s the bonus for harried marrieds who feel they don’t have time: Making love can be a multitasking miracle that combines emotional connection with a light workout and a boost to the immune system. You’re not going to get all that from a personal trainer.
5. And it can be a game-changer.
A wise divorced friend told me that in hard times, “sex should be the last thing to go, not the first.” When you hit the inevitable bumps in the road problems with the kids, money worries don’t buckle yourself into chilly isolation. I particularly admire one friend’s way of reaching out: When things are stressful, she exchanges grooming chores with her husband: She scrubs his back, he shaves her legs, she clips his toenails, and he brushes her hair. They always end up in bed.
Let me end with this comment from an Iranian-born wife who was a virgin on her wedding day: “I always thank my husband,” she says with a smile. Which makes me wonder why no one ever told us how grateful we’d be for an adult-rated activity that can open unsuspected depths of daring, nourish a life of love, and even on an especially good day tone up the bladder.