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Will daily sex cure a low libido?

(24 Posts)
N1 Sun 01-Feb-09 04:08:16

When a new dad's sex life went out of the window, he resolved to kick-start it, every night for a year
Tim Scott

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Two years ago, my wife and I made it our new year’s resolution to have sex every day. The reason was simple. Utterly worn out by the arrival of our first child, we had pretty much stopped having sex. I was 33, she was 30, and our erotic life needed not so much a jump-start as electrotherapy.

At first, we tried to laugh off the decline in our love-making. On the rare occasions we did it, we would say something like, “We must do this more often,” and giggle. But as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, broken only by the occasional, desultory shag, it became clear this was no laughing matter.

The absence of sex is a powerful yet subtle foe. It quietly corrodes the most important parts of a relationship — trust, intimacy, passion, respect — and that least analysed of all attributes, fanciability. If left untreated, the lack of sex can even destroy love. I am convinced many people split up because they forget to make love to each other, and love — along with the feelgood chemical, dopamine, that sex generates — dries up.

A sexless relationship quickly becomes a vicious circle. The less we did it, the worse we got at it. As the time between our spells of passion lengthened, so those same spells of passion shortened, until sex was lasting just a few minutes on a good night once in a blue moon — hardly encouraging, as you might imagine.

It’s one of the injustices of the sexes that no matter how poor the sex, we men always get to have an orgasm. And once we have had it, our inner caveman’s work is done and all we want to do is roll over and go to sleep. The answer to this problem, of course, is stunningly simple — bring your wife or girlfriend to orgasm before you shag. But that takes time. And effort.

The fact that you are not having sex is also hard for a man to talk about, because there’s so much pride bound up in it. So, when my wife whispered in my ear on New Year’s Eve, 2006, that our resolution should be to have sex every day, my initial reaction was one of abject terror. That’s not the way men are supposed to feel about sex. Real men are supposed to be ready to go at it whenever, wherever, member joyfully in hand. My first thought was: “How can I get out of this one?”

My wife was ambivalent as well. She recalls: “The first week or so, it was a chore. We worked hard to find the time to fit it in between the laundry and EastEnders. I dreaded it in the way I dread going back to the gym every January.”

I will always remember that first night back in the saddle. The sex was over almost before it had begun. My wife said: “Don’t worry, you’ll get better at it. We just need to practise.” This was, word for word, what the first girl I slept with said to me when I was 18 — but my wife was right. We had sex the next night, and the next, for the whole of January, February and March. As the weeks turned into months, I learnt to control myself again, while my wife, with the confidence that comes from practice, began to reach ecstasy more quickly. It took a long time at first, though. Hours and hours. We started at opposite ends of the time/orgasm continuum and worked our way to the centre.

It wasn’t just an improved physical experience — so much else changed, too. We became better at communicating. Our minds became more attuned to the state of our bodies — I started running, she started Pilates. And then she fell pregnant. At the end of 2008, 15 months after our second child was born, we both noticed the “must do this more often” jokes creeping back in. We had exactly the same problems: a new baby, exhaustion . . . So, you know what we did? We resolved to have sex every day, all over again. And it’s going great.

Practice makes perfect

Want to rediscover passion? Here’s how. The good news is it involves you having more sex. The bad news is it’s with your spouse. Yes, the latest advice is that forcing yourself to have sex even when you don’t feel like it could save your relationship.Isn’t this horribly retrogressive — in the same vein as taking off your apron and making sure you’re wearing lipstick when your husband comes home from work? Not according to the experts.

The Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt, for one, is a strong advocate of “just doing it”, whether you’re “in the mood” or not. “Desire is a decision. Without sex, a chasm can develop that erodes a couple’s bond,” she says.

Even the church seems to be backing the idea. Last November, the Dallas priest Ed Young urged the married members of his congregation to embark on a “sexperiment”, committing to seven straight days of “congregational copulation”.

Three bestsellers flaunt this “just do it” approach. Charla Muller’s 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy describes how she slept with her husband every night for a year to help re-establish a connection that, post-kids, was on the wane. Similarly, Douglas Brown’s memoir, Just Do It, is a shameless testament to his and his wife Annie’s sexual “marathon” — 101 days of solid sex. Both peddle the same message, that sex with your spouse — good, bad or mediocre — will work wonders.

Why do we need their advice? The reasons married couples give for flagging sex lives range from boredom (the author and sex therapist Dr Pam Spurr calls it the “two-year turn-off”) to exhaustion. Careers often come first, but the arrival of children on the scene is often the clincher. Eight out of 10 new mothers report lowered desire, according to Relate figures. One man, responding to a Times Online sex survey, described sex after the arrival of kids as: “quick, covert, like a military strike”.

So clearly we have a problem. But won’t “just doing it” simply mean going through the (rushed, unsatisfying) motions? Not if you believe Brown. And what’s the alternative? “If you wait for ‘chemistry’, you’ll have sex once in a while, if you’re lucky,” he says.

The problem is that one half is generally more up for it than the other. “Desire discrepancy is one of the most vexed issues in the modern marriage,” says Arndt. As research for her forthcoming book, The Sex Diaries, she asked 98 couples to chart how they negotiated sex within their relationship. And — surprise — in her study, it’s the women who are saying “no”. “Men are terribly conscious they’re on the back foot,” says Arndt. “The wives carry the power of rejection.” By contrast, she heard “a howl of despair” from the men about a lifetime spent grovelling.

Arndt refers to the “damp wood” of female libido (“it can need a lot of firelighters”), but a couple’s relationship cannot hinge on this, she insists. The idea that you could enjoy sex without “wanting” it can be a revelation, but “you just have to put the canoe in the water and start paddling”.

At the end of the 101 days, Brown’s wife proclaimed the sexperiment a success; it literally “screwed us together”. But not everyone feels the same way. One woman lamented, “I did try ‘just doing it’, but began to resent that I was just doing it for John. I felt like I was just servicing him.”

It seems, as in so many aspects of marriage, that the answer lies in compromise. The needs of both people be recognised. “Sometimes that means making love to your spouse even when you’re not in the mood,” says Spurr. “You do it because you know it’ll make the person you love happy.”

Amy, 54, scheduled sex every three days with her husband to potentially marriage-saving success. “On the ‘off’ days, I could enjoy as much intimacy as I wanted, knowing it didn’t have to lead to sex,” she says. Most important, “once we get into it, I always experience orgasm, and I feel that it brings us closer”.

AnyFucker Sun 01-Feb-09 07:47:15

If I had sex every single day, I would stop orgasming and get very chafed smile

Sometimes you need a few days break.

I understand some of the sentiments though, tis very easy to get out of practice and before you know it you have drifted along for weeks.

JollyPirate Sun 01-Feb-09 07:52:54

F*ck that. grin

Themasterandmargaritas Sun 01-Feb-09 08:03:41

[Hmm]grin

stuffitllama Sun 01-Feb-09 08:20:33

Sorry but I agree. Well maybe not every day. But I think it works.

Unfortunately this could be twisted inside an unhealthy or just a temporarily dysfunctioning partnership into "well it's your fault for saying no" and adding to the pressure.

But yes, in principle. Who are you N1? odd name

N1 Sun 01-Feb-09 11:56:23

Just a helpful person.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Sun 01-Feb-09 12:21:10

Message withdrawn

N1 Sun 01-Feb-09 12:32:20

I think that trying to have sex every day for a month or 2 might be a good starting point. If after a month or 2 or even 3, you feel more used (or even just as used as you were at the start) and not really loved by the partner that you can fairly say that things are not going to change for the better.

tumtumtetum Sun 01-Feb-09 12:34:30

Interesting.

On the whole I think I agree - though every day might be pushing it a bit!

I know that even if I don't fancy it much, once I get going I always love it. And it does make you feel so much closer.

However i do think that there are times when it's just too much of an ask - my hormones knock my sex drive completely in 1st trimester, too soon after birth is a no-no and depression can affect libido seriously in both sexes.

On the whole though, with all things being equal and no hormonal/depression/drug reasons I think this is a great idea...

Mummyfor3 Sun 01-Feb-09 12:41:05

Very interesting.

I am sure there is something to it, but sounds exhausting...

CrackerBean Sun 01-Feb-09 12:54:45

Before I got pregnant I had a fairly high libido, but after I got pregnant my libido pretty much became non-existant.
My baby is 6 months old and it's still the same and because my partner has a high libido (as men do) I would still make an attempt to have sex, like someone else said 1ce I'm there it's fine wink so I didn't have sex for about 3 weeks and it gave me a little bit of a libido back... it made my body realise that it missed even that wee bit of sex it was getting.
So I'd recommend doin something daft like that because it surprisingly worked!!! =D

BitOfFun Sun 01-Feb-09 13:44:57

Sex every day, at least once- keeps you young, fit and happy smile

A bit hairy trucker for a Sunday though, N1? Weren't you asking about it last night too? Make your "research" more RL and practical is my tip!

BitOfFun Sun 01-Feb-09 13:50:33

My apologies, just saw you on a thread about it. But yep- good idea in general, but I can see it wouldn't work for everyone.

N1 Sun 01-Feb-09 14:04:33

If I had someone to "practice research" on that was going to stick out the every day/night, then I might be interested (with in reason). No apology needed. All in the name of good fun.

corblimeymadam Sun 01-Feb-09 14:06:32

Message withdrawn

BitOfFun Sun 01-Feb-09 14:09:29

Not doing a Sharon Stone on us are you, belgianbun? grin
Ooh, this thread is getting me all hot and bothered- I'm off for my constitutional...

Monkeytrousers Sun 01-Feb-09 14:34:05

Haven't read the essay yet but my instincts (and experience) tells me that having an orgasm a day will help improve libido - not necessarily having sex. But saying that I will now read it and see if I'm a total freak grin

Monkeytrousers Sun 01-Feb-09 14:38:47

ohh "the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, broken only by the occasional, desultory shag"

Desultory? Desultory! He's a right Valentino, isn't he?

BitOfFun Sun 01-Feb-09 14:41:15

grin

Monkeytrousers Sun 01-Feb-09 14:41:33

"bring your wife or girlfriend to orgasm before you shag. But that takes time. And effort."

No shit Sherlock! I'm waiting for the moment that he discovers internet porn....

Astarte Sun 01-Feb-09 14:51:16

I agree wholeheartedly with this.

The more you have it, the more you want it, the more exciting and adventurous you become grin

We have discovered that if we have sex less than 4 days a week we start to bicker.

Monkeytrousers Sun 01-Feb-09 14:55:29

As usual there's a neglacted middle ground. Sex is good for realtionships, but I really don't think that it need be every day. Every week plus bonuses is good enough for me grin

bronze Sun 01-Feb-09 14:59:00

sounds to me like a bloke trying to help out his fellow men by making us women think we need to shag all the time.

tlesharro605 Thu 13-Jun-19 18:06:58

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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