It's only natural that, after 22 years together, we'd experience periods of sexual dry spells. In fact, we'd be surprised if most couples in similar lengthy relationships enjoy our level of intimacy and frequency even during our lulls. True, we do run an adult business, giving us access to toys, videos and whatnot to keep things lubricated, so to speak; however, all the porn in Chatsworth can't rise the level of passion once a pattern sets in.

For us, that pattern had been the shrinking of our sexual world in both time and space, meaning we had found ourselves engaging in sexual activity only during certain hours and then only in our bed. The couch, kitchen counters, shower, public park and other prime locations to get intimate slowly eroded away over time, as well as the creativity we'd once infused into sexuality; i.e. lingerie, massage, going out to dinner, candlelight dinners etc.

Sex itself had finally devolved into the two of us crawling into bed late after a long day, exhausted and in our worn T-shirts, trudging our way to (maybe) climax and immediately collapsing afterward into deep sleep. Days would then pass by before repeating this routine before we visited San Francisco in October.

As both of us originated in the city, we decided it was long overdue to take our son for a tour, as he hadn't been up there since he was 2 years old (and obviously had no recollection of the trip). We booked a cute little hotel south of Market Street (now pretentiously called “SOMA”), drove up on Veteran's Day, and set out to see as many sights as possible through the weekend before driving back down on Sunday.

On just that Friday, as an example, we left our hotel in the morning and hit Twin Peaks for its view of the entire Bay Area, Irving Street for breakfast with a high school friend, the Cliff House/Sutro Bath ruins for a hike, the Presidio to tour the Industrial Light and Magic facilities, Baker Beach (where we stood at the exact spot the first Burning Man took place), our old neighborhoods and elementary schools, Fisherman's Wharf via cable car for clam chowder, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and a ride on the glass elevators at the Hotel St. Francis above Union Square before returning to our hotel room at midnight to pass out.

With the weather sunny and warm (fall being the only time such a phenomenon happens in San Francisco), our son had the time of his life. Oddly, when asked his favorite moment, he pointed out seeing one of our names etched in sidewalk cement in front of the Cliff House. The mind of an 11 year old. Go figure.

During all of this frantic hopping around, we happened to spot a group of gorgeous women shopping in the Ghirardelli chocolate shop, one of whom – a fetching Asian lady – wore a tiny black cocktail dress, her shapely legs protruding sexily downward into black high heeled pumps. This woman was so gorgeous; in fact, we both couldn't help staring as she glided throughout the store before disappearing into a cab to parts unknown. What happened after her mysterious exit would prove problematic in the near term, marriage revitalizing over the long haul.

With our son sipping hot chocolate and engrossed in the view of the bay, we initiated a discussion of getting a dress similar to the one adorning our Asian chocolate-shopping goddess, having Alicia (who happens to also be hot and Asian, herself) wear it, and going out for a sexy evening. Unfortunately, the idea went south almost immediately as body issues surfaced and the conversation devolved into a myriad of issues ranging from tattered lingerie to our stale sex life in general.

For the sake of our son, we shelved the debate for later on and, over the following several days, openly discussed every sexual topic imaginable, including open marriage, bondage, swinging, fantasy and all boundaries in-between. After 22 years, who were we as a couple, at this point in our lives, and what did we expect from the next 22, sexually speaking?

Getting on the same page and syncing up was relatively straightforward. We enjoyed being monogamous and had yet to desire anything sexually gratifying outside this monogamous framework. Our physical attraction, added pounds and all, still resonated powerfully, though decidedly more limited due to aging knees, minor stamina issues, and such. So what was hindering our once frequent desire to rip off our clothes and take a spin on the dining room table?

The answer has to do with the difficult clash of differing perspectives, put more simply we had retreated into our separate bunkers and forgotten there was no war in the first place. On one side, we had simple complacency and reliance on the other party to initiate sexual contact; on the other, anger and resentment directed at the complacency and reliance.

“What's wrong with the bedroom and why do I have to dress sexy and wear lingerie?” on the one hand; “Why the hell can't she dress sexy once in a while, and why do we always have to do it in the fucking bedroom?” on the other. Routine vs. listlessness, as it were, and even we of the adult business variety have trouble climbing out of the trenches, it turns out.

In the end, compromise ultimately rules the day, so we instituted a few small steps to get things rolling again. One illustration was purchasing the sexy black cocktail dress, but confining its usage to our home over a candlelight dinner to start, gradually building (hopefully, anyway) toward a time when confidence allows it to venture beyond our home and into the world at large.

Another action we took was to upgrade both wardrobes slightly (you can find some surprisingly nice clothing items at thrift stores) and designate one night a month to dress up and have a cocktail at a local bar with some romantic ambiance; The Alibi, Primitivo, Good Hurt, The Other Room and the sitting area at Wabi Sabi on Abbott Kinney Boulevard make great date spots and are within walking distance from our home, luckily.

We also resumed a past habit of sending a naughty text message back and forth at least once per day. Crazily enough, taking actions even on this small scale had us back to dating-days type of sex almost immediately, with tear-our-clothes-off craziness filling our days with giddy sexual tensions, elevating our collective mood, and generally making our household a fun place to be again.

Unfortunately, because it seems as though we're taught to communicate and take action on everything in life except sex, climbing out of a sexual rut can leave couples lost and floundering. Heck, even admitting there's a problem at all can be daunting and terrifying. Oftentimes the problem goes without a solution for so long there really can be no turning back and the relationship can't be saved (with affairs, lying, and hurt on both sides).

Combine this with our instant gratification society and we aren't surprised in the least at the divorce rate hovering at a rock solid 50-plus percent. In our case, with so much of our lives invested in each other and so many amazing sexual adventures both behind and ahead, we'll stick to shopping for that next mini dress, candle lit massage and happy ending.

Next Week: Our sexy holiday gift guide!

LA Weekly