Like everything else post-kids, sex changes. Often it's not what it was once cracked up to be, in the days before you were an extra in The Walking Dead traipsing around with dried spit-up on your yoga pants. Libido can take a beating.
Sex is important, sure, but is it the deal breaker in a marriage? As Valentine's Day approaches with its Godiva truffles and the sleazy sounds of Barry White, I often wonder what it means to have a 'good marriage' these days. I feel as though with 13 years under our marital belt, my husband and I must be doing something right, but what? Is there a secret ingredient that eludes even us?
Seems I'm not the only one scratching my head when it comes to modern love and romance. A team of researchers grilled the world's self-professed happiest couples in an international online survey of almost 100,000 people (albeit most of them white, middle class and over the age of 35). The results will be published in a book called The Normal Bar, slated for release on Feb. 5.
So what is defined as 'normal' for those of us who happen to belong to this particular demographic? Well, typically bedroom action happens around three to four times a week. And the men tend to be the romantics, declaring they experienced love at first sight 48 per cent of the time, compared to just 28 per cent of women.
And in spite of all the heart flutters, even the happiest of couples—43 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women—admit they are keeping a major secret from their partner. I'll let you ponder that for a second... What constitutes major, anyway: a criminal past or a penchant for wearing your thongs while you're out? (I must ask my husband about that!)
Joking aside, the four years since my son was born were certainly the hardest on our marriage. Less quality time together, with the added stress of an autism diagnosis last year, often the kiss of death for a marriage. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get stronger.
We don't get out together often—or at least as often as we'd like—but we always talk. We always laugh, and that's important. We are comfortable. We still have terrific, if somewhat routine sex. Yet it's not about the frequency, the adventurousness (or lack thereof), provided both partners are satisfied.
But when it comes to romance, the study's co-author and sociologist at University of Washington in Seattle, Pepper Schwartz, claims we're all "somewhat romance starved," and I'd have to concur. For us, date nights are rare but thrilling. We no longer take time together for granted. Even a trip to Starbucks on our own is a real treat.
"We make a big deal of Valentine's Day because I think people are doing catch-up," says Schwartz. "If you look at the happiest couples, they do have date nights. They hold hands. They do PDAs (public displays of affection). That whole package of romance that some couples preserve—that shows how important it is."
I don't know whether we qualify as normal in regards to our sex life—or in any aspect of our marriage for that matter—but frankly, I don't give a monkey's. We are what we are, and we're not broken. Far from it.
Are you a smug married, too? What's been your secret ingredient?
Image credit: Flickr/danielito311