So, we're cruising through our 20th anniversary earlier this year, blissful as can be, when we decided to do what (we assume) most couples do on a regular basis; that is, evaluate our relationship.
A "state of our union," so to speak.
And though we found things to be pretty darned good, considering our overall length of time together - 23 years and counting - there was one glaring deficiency in an area of our marriage one wouldn't normally associate with the owners of an adult store. For all our sex toy experience, porn knowledge, and consultations with hundreds of couples, sex experts, and adult industry contact, we had slowly and steadily stopped having sex ourselves.
Because we actually track our sexual activity on our website, we could examine the numbers and see that, from a peak of almost five times per week in 2005 and 2007, we had fallen off to less than two encounters every seven days.
Of course, with the national average being around that very number, we might have concluded that everything was fine and dandy, believing this pattern of reduced sexual activity to be a normal and natural occurrence in any relationship. Heck, we weren't exactly unhappy with the situation. Life went on just as it always had, except instead of planning hot dates and opportunities for intimacy we'd instead settled into a routine of the peaceful and predictable. Life was good, so to speak. However...
We aren't married for life to simply be "good." In fact, even great shouldn't be adequate to describe being in a relationship with someone you love. Sure, there will always be difficulties and bumps along the way, but choosing to spend time or, in our case, the rest of our lives together means, to us, that combined we should create magic. Period. In all aspects of existence: spiritually, intellectually, financially and physically.
Sexuality (and by this we mean all permutations) is one of those basic tenets of a coupling that are like breathing itself. Love in the physical sense augments everything else, combining to make acts as simple as walking together something far more rewarding.
Looking at declining sexuality should be cause for extreme alarm and we quickly pledged to one another that we'd make a concerted effort to work together to remedy our situation.
1. Weigh In
The first thing we examined was our overall physical condition. We were definitely above our normal weight levels and out of shape, which is almost certainly a factor that can affect both desire and performance, so we started slowly getting back into decent cardiovascular condition by taking brisk walks around our neighborhood and a couple classes at our neglected local gym.
2. Check Out
Taking a look at our wardrobes, our clothing was woefully worn and tired, stylistically, so we headed out to a few thrift stores and scanned the department store sale ads to spruce things up a bit.
Some new jeans, dresses, shirts and shoes were added and we made an agreement to never leave the house in sweats unless specifically to work out; jeans or nice shorts at a minimum, more effort if time permitted.
Old sneakers were tossed in favor of some clearance finds at Big 5, and DSW had some nice deals on heels to round things out. Nice summer dresses can be had for $20 to $30 on sale racks all over Venice, Calif., by the way. We didn't plan to wear our new threads anyplace fancy or expensive, we just wanted to feel as if we belonged out among the living.
3. Strip It Off
Everything was going along swimmingly until we hit one category - lingerie. For the less aged and/or beautiful among you, there are certain individuals - us included - who aren't exactly thrilled with our bodies and therefore are hesitant to put ourselves in attire that highlights said deficiencies.
With all due respect to Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood, their catalog models loosely categorized as "plus size" put many of us to shame at the first hint of a pint of Haagen Daas.
It doesn't matter what our partner says, either; it's about what we see in the mirror that counts. If we feel unattractive or uncomfortably unattractive parading around in skimpy garments, the intention is actually catapulted in the opposite direction. With this dynamic in play, it was incredibly difficult to agree on exactly which outfits were acceptable to us both.
On the male side, less was better (no shock there). From the female half, the reverse was true, resulting in frustration with what should be, at the very least, a fun process. As with any stalemate, though, compromise was forthcoming (are you listening, Washington?) and we found a nice set of frilly items to set things in motion.
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4. Sex It Up
Once these minor tweaks were implemented, we can report without exaggeration that our sex life has steadily gotten back on track. Dressing decently as a rule simply makes us feel better and actually gets us out of the house (and rut) more often. The few new lingerie pieces have really spiced things up as we make sure to spring them when least expected.
Obviously, we've added sex toys into the mix as we would be shirking our duties as adult retailers to leave them out, right? We've even dusted off the porn collection and begun a once per week "porn night," where we sit through a movie or two and then attempt to act out a scene.
We may not reach our heyday of five times a week ever again, but perfect always needs practice.