About six months ago, a client and his wife came to a fork in the marital road. His wife said that she didn’t think they had sex enough and she was frustrated and unhappy. She was thinking about leaving him. He was pretty adamant that he didn’t have a desire for any more sex in their relationship and that he was just fine, implying that the problem was once again hers. Since sex is one area in a relationship that we all have to manage together, I knew as their coach that I had to listen to their individual and shared frustrations, trying to help them and find a solution that was good for both of them. They were both extremely motivated to stay married and needed to find a way for his sexual desire to match hers.
On a lark, just to rattle the cage a bit, I offered an idea—Seven Nights of Sex in a row. Truthfully, I never really expected them to agree. They did.
As a coach in training, I remember sitting in a Sexual Desire and Arousal Class. It wasn’t necessary for coaches, but my curiosity was peaked, and throughout the class I learned about some of the things that create sexual desire. I was dumbfounded to learn that contrary what I understood—the myth that sexual interest occurs after not being sexual for weeks—was incorrect. We were taught in the class that sexual desire is actually facilitated by a regular rhythm of sexual activity. Imagine that…
That was what was on my mind when I asked my clients if they would try the experiment, which actually was to prioritize having sex every day for seven days in a row and see how it changed their relationship.
I remember at the time of my suggestion they laughed (loudly) stating that in the 20-plus years they had been together, neither could remember a time when they ever had sex for seven days in a row. I had no rebuttal to that comment; I figured they would know.
Actually, they had previously stated that the most sex they had ever had was maybe three or four days in a row, but never more than that, not even on vacation. Heck, they couldn’t even recall if they had sex for all the seven nights of their honeymoon.
Endlessly surprised at the willingness of my clients, they decided that they were up for the challenge. Having sex for seven nights wouldn’t kill them, they laughed nervously. It also had been a terrible year after their baby boy had been diagnosed with Aspergers, a genetic disability. It had rocked their world and they were still fairly deep in the grief of accepting what would be a lifetime of service to their child.
Looking back, I think they were willing to try pretty much anything to keep their marriage intact. Have you ever read the statistics on the percentage of parents who divorce after having a special needs child? (Spoiler alert—it’s about 80%).
She didn’t want to lose the marriage. He also didn’t want his wife to feel unimportant. They both wanted to start focusing on each other again and the things that had once brought them pleasure and joy, like getting tangled between the sheets after lovemaking.
It felt to them like they had lost track of time, and during their conversations, he began to remember how sex used to make him feel. He wanted that closeness again for himself and for his wife. He just needed a kick-start. He was tired of being sad and disconnected from his wife, and he realized being distant really wasn’t helping either of them. Now they had an idea.
As a team—and they were a team—they knew if they were going to be successful in their endeavor, they had to work together and lay out the terms. They agreed to try and have sex each night, for seven nights in a row, before they went to bed. You might think that would be pretty easy but as it turns out, it wasn’t. They decided that if they were going to do this successfully, they had to work backwards as a team. They determined that he needed her help get certain things accomplished in the evening, and he would need a little time to get organized and then they would have time for each other.
It also wasn’t as if they didn’t work together on these issues before; they just decided to be more diligent about it, including getting into bed by 9 p.m. each night. To have a better sex life, they needed to work better as a team getting those important tasks accomplished, and the side benefit would be to have time to adhere to their agreement each evening. They both 100% agreed. They were suddenly getting organized and in alignment with scheduling their “intimacy dates.”
Adjustments Along The Way
Then, to my surprise, they had an honest discussion about the kind of sex they wanted to have. He bravely told her that in order to get in the mood to really want to have the sex, he needed some good erotic foreplay, or at least a good toy or two. During that discussion, it became clear to them that because they weren’t having very much sex; they were just kind of jumping into it and skipping the foreplay, which served to diminish their mutual interest. She agreed completely with her husband that that should revise their sexual script and make sure they had kissing, foreplay, and toys on their way to accomplishing their Seven Nights of Sex…and good sex!
How It Worked Out
So of course you are itching to know what happened, right? Well, they completed their seven nights, their sexual desire increased, and the most important aspect of all, they have pretty much kept it up, even six months later!
They don’t report still having sex every night, but they say every other night is typical now. It has been nine months since they kicked off their Seven Nights of Sex and they would tell you with some confidence that it changed their marriage for the better.
They are closer; they are more physical with hand-holding, kissing, and touching. It has helped them deal with their stress, their child, and their problems in a much more effective manner because since they are having sex, and even on the nights when they are not physically intimate, it forces them to deal with their problems instead of ignoring them like they used to. They learned that it’s difficult to have sex with someone when you haven’t dealt with your feelings about them and with them. Now, they deal with problems as they go along and both of them feel like they are prioritizing their relationship, which helps them more effectively deal with everything.
Give it some thought; depending your situation, trying a Seven Day Sex Challenge may do wonders for your relationship. Make it a late New Year’s Resolution to give it a shot together and boost your love life in 2017.
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Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.