Monday, October 5, 2015

Let's Talk About Scheduling Sex, Baby!

Sometimes, I write about my sex life on the internet. Or, more accurately, I write about the ways in which I am struggling with my sex life. It seems sort of crazy to share such an intimate part of my life so publicly, but I do it because I know I am not the only one struggling with these issues. And I know from experience exactly how valuable it can be to feel like you aren't alone.

Most of my writing is published here or other health/chronic illness related websites. But the last time I wrote candidly about my sex life it got picked up by BlogHer, because I think it is a topic that resonates with a much larger audience. I also think it is a topic that is important to overall well being and health. So, on sort of a whim, I submitted this piece to a mommy blog with large following called Scary Mommy - and they picked it up and published it last week!

I'm very excited that Scary Mommy picked up the piece, but I do have to admit to being a little disappointed about the negative comments it received - both on the article itself and on Scary Mommy's Facebook page. Though I didn't engage with the comments in either of those locations, I do feel the need to make my thoughts on the subject clear here.

Many people announced (quite loudly!) that they would never consider scheduling sex, and that it was sad if you have to resort to doing so. To those individuals I say this: that is fantastic for you! I'm honestly glad that your sex life is great and requires so little effort on your part. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for everyone. Some of us are struggling just to get through the day, and so maintaining a healthy relationship in the face of huge challenges - like young children and debilitating chronic illness - can often take effort and focus. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to do what works best for them. For my husband and I, a discussion about scheduling sex turned out to be healthy and invigorating. It led us to a way to address some other issues in our lives, leading to an overall improvement for our family. So I wanted to share my personal experiences in case someone out there is struggling and this might be useful or helpful for them to consider.

The other set of negative comments the article received centered around consent within marriage. Some people seemed to think that by scheduling sex I was advocating for having sex under any circumstances. So let me be clear and say this: I am not advocating that you have sex with your partner if you really don't want to. The situation I am sharing about is one in which we both wanted to have a better sex life, but we were really having trouble making it happen as a practical matter. For us, setting aside time to focus on each other and on myself worked well for helping us overcome some of the challenges we were facing, together. And, though the discussion started out about scheduling sex, the result turned out to be about far more than just sex.

In any event, there were at least a couple of comments from people with whom the article actually resonated - including some other mamas who are also struggling with small children and rheumatoid arthritis. And honestly? If I was able to make even one of them feel less alone - or hopeful that improvement is possible - then it was worth it to be open and vulnerable with my story.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mariah: I've always admired your ability to tackle difficult subjects and this certainly qualifies. I suspect that the "detractors" wouldn't have complained if you had talked blandly about a "date night" rather than more openly and honestly scheduling sex. Thank you for having the courage to open up in an attempt to provide support to others who are no doubt struggling with this issue.

Leslie said...

Mariah, I read your blog post and the piece that you wrote for the other blog. I have to say, it's really amazing. Especially given how I've been feeling lately. I am having similar issues - and I don't even have kids. I am exhausted all the time and it is hampering our sex life, and not just that, but our overall relationship. I think it was super brave of you to discuss this issue in public, and your post definitely resonated with me.