Fifty Shades of Highlights

So there I was sitting at Starbucks writing, when a Mom, who had just finished her yoga class came up to me and said, “You know, I read your ‘Sex, Lies and Carpool’ article. Really interesting.” She leans forward. “But what about those of us who still have a totally sexy relationship with our husbands?”

I laugh. “Have at it, girlfriend, let’s hear…”

“Well, we don’t put our kids before ourselves. We love them, but we make our time together a priority. We manage to get them out of the way so we can do it.” She smiles slyly. “Even on the kitchen floor.”

I’m thinking to myself that she would definitely not want to do it on MY kitchen floor, with all the crap everywhere — soccer cleats, backpacks, crumbs that escaped the broom, and a trail of daily dust from three kids, two dogs, a husband whose shoes always have something on them, and me, the ever-present shlepper who dumps bags in various corners of the kitchen.

But how ’bout upping the ante in bed?

Many of you think to yourselves: Really? How do I have any energy left after I’ve been going 24/7 in fifth gear, carpools, the vet, dinner, school this and that, homework hell, dishes, lunches to make for school, cleaning up the house from a day of family wreckage, bills to pay, laundry, work (for Working Moms), endless To-Do Lists for Stay-at-Homers. I mean, when am I supposed to fuck my husband?

The truth is, you may say, by the end of the day I don’t have anything left for him. Let alone to get off my mascara, apply my anti-aging cream, get in my sweats, and crawl into my bed. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want be touched, and I just don’t want to deal with anything but watch “my shows.”

I SO get it. We all SO get it. But here’s what you are losing:



The US factor.

You — our generation — are too young to be sleeping Rob and Laura Petrie-style.  You are too young to not be getting and giving sexual satisfaction. Yet, you — and the rest of suburbia — somehow managed to find time to read the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, which may be the worst writing ever, yet who among us could put it down (only Christian and Ana could do that, like 50 times per chapter).

Why her, not me? Why him, not my husband?


They had no kids (at least for two full books), no financial pressures, he was drop-dead gorgeous (his “hotness” mentioned at least every third sentence), he played piano like Mozart (naked in the middle of the night), she had a closet full of perfectly fitting designer dresses and Manolos (someone else shopped for her — she never had to go to the mall), they had a full-time driver, a cook, not to mention the gynecologist came to her (no waiting rooms), no errands EVER to run, no dishes EVER to clean, no lunches EVER to make, and everything ALWAYS smelled like jasmine. Christian, obviously anal, surely put his clothes in the hamper (not next to it on the floor like most men), and he ALWAYS FED her. And during their very few times out of bed, they were sexting.

I mean, c’mon, if that’s not foreplay, I don’t know what is.

I began reading Book One during Spring Break in the Dominican Republic. My husband was reading a non-fiction book. There I was having 18 imaginary orgasms an hour as a voyeur to Christian and Ana’s  “kinky fuckery” (I mean, did you notice she was ALWAYS wet and he NEVER used lube), while my husband was on the beach chair next to me reading about the “breakdown” of our government. Honestly, without getting graphic, and given that I was on vacation, and given that my kids could care less about me (teenagers), and given that I had no To-Do list to get To-Done, and my day consisted of working out, eating, drinking, reading and beach — ask my husband (actually, better yet, don’t ), but  I was able to utilize my “mood” from the “Fifty” and put some good Freak Flag to use. And, without giving away the kitchen sink, everyone benefited.

That said … the bigger question is:  How do you pour a little Fifty into your own sex life back at home, and “pump it up” amid the chaos?

The answer: We are women. It’s the little things that count. Start there …

Within the craziness of your schedule, you and your husband deserve a minimum of a half hour a day together alone. That has to be as important as brushing your teeth.

Here’s what my husband and I do (not everyone can do this, mind you, due to having to get to work or catch an early train). We meet every morning at Starbucks whether we are liking, loving, or hating each other in that moment. We drop off our kids at school, and try not to let anything get in the way of “our” time. We arrive for coffee at 7:50 a.m. and then he leaves for work at 8:15, and I stay at the ‘Bux and write. We talk, read the paper (headlines, who has the time for more), and hold hands. It is “date night” every day. It makes us remember who we are together as a couple, especially after the morning madness of getting the kids off to school. Many women, understandably, run to work-out the second the kids are out the door. My suggestion: If you and your husband can swing it — then, Just Do It. Spend time with him first, and then go to the gym. It’s so worth it. It makes all the difference in the way you treat each other the rest of the day.

In fact, one day a woman came up to me at Starbucks and said, “Does your husband know that you meet THAT man every morning?”

I laughed and said, “Is it so hard to believe that a married couple actually wants to spend time together?” Our “coffee time” is the vitamin in our marriage. It gets us off … in the right direction. And it is the one thing I never cancel for anyone.

And, by the way, if we are fighting, we settle it THERE, away from our home, away from our bedroom.

If you can’t do a Starbucks morning, then find a little togetherness at night. Read together, watch TV together, and end the night intimately (kissing, snuggling, discussing things that happened in your day, and/or making love). The idea is to keep alive the very reason you are together. Note: Making more T0-Do lists, and discussing who needs to drive the kids when and where, does not count as intimacy. Also sending him a little “thinking of u” text with an icon (i.e. a heart) during the day is always a turn-on, and keeps a fluid connection.

Here’s the one thing going on in a lot of bedrooms around town. Please forgive if I sound preachy, BUT read this closely: DO NOT GO TO BED AT DIFFERENT TIMES. Catching up on work emails or Facebook are not excuses, and it becomes a bad habit. If you like to watch TV and he likes to read  (or vice versa) — do it jointly, and next to each other, closely. Separate sleeping is a recipe for a slow marital death (everyone stays breathing, but the good stuff naturally fades away).

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is so alluring because deep down, like the protagonist Ana, YOU REALLY WANT IT too. And YOU REALLY DESERVE IT. But read my lips: SO DOES HE. It is time to really see the man you once fell in love with, and him to see you again. Passion for women starts in the morning. Passion for men is anytime, anywhere. They’re not picky.

Women, especially in their ’40s, have never looked better. Show him the benefits of all that yoga, all that pilates, all that taking care of yourself. Even if in your mind, some part of your body isn’t perfect, turn out the lights, turn on some “Fifty” and I promise he won’t notice any imperfections and you won’t notice his.

Jack up the reinvention of your sex life by exploring different avenues (a la Fifty), add toys, whatever works. Don’t take the US Factor for granted. Don’t let the kids’ demands get in the way of your needs, your inner passion. Even if you don’t feel the same level of “it” anymore — the adage of “Use it or Lose it” definitely plays out. The more “togetherness” you have, the more you actually want it.

Ironically, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is less a tale about sex, and more a metaphor for “waking up.” Put each other first on the To-Do list, and your marriage won’t feel like it’s on Snooze.

– LB




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