It seems to me that as soon as I knew what sex was, it became the elephant in the room. As a teenager, there was an air of mystery (and discomfort) as my friends started to lose their virginity and I was light years away from that milestone. As a young adult, more than one potential relationship died due to my prudish outlook on the matter. And when I finally did meet my now-husband at 21, I made him wait an impossibly long time (eight months seemed like forever, anyway).
Whether it was the way I was raised, my high standards for a partner, or plain old fear, I’ll never know, but as a result, my husband is my one and only.
Fast-forward a decade: We’re in our mid-thirties, we’ve been married five years and we have a two-year-old son (so we must have done something right). But one night a few months ago I was lying in bed, little spoon to my husband’s big spoon, listening to him snore softly, and I counted the number of times we’d made love in the previous year. The tally was measly, and I sadly realized that we were becoming the stereotypical married couple who never gets busy because they’re washing dishes, making lunches, doing laundry, answering emails and reading bedtime stories. The thought of life continuing on like this—obligatory sex once in a while—depressed me, and I vowed then and there to do something about it.
I’ve never been particularly proficient in the boudoir. All of the tricks I knew I learned from my girlfriends at sleepovers in high school, and the banana demonstrations weren’t going to cut it until death do us part. While my husband would never, ever complain—I married a true gentleman, who always makes me feel beautiful and comfortable—I knew that possessing the power to, well, blow his mind would add a much-needed spark to our bedroom dynamic.
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So, I enrolled in sex school—a three-hour workshop with a registered sex therapist called “How to Drive Your Man Wild with Pleasure” at a local sexual health shop. It promised to arm participants with new positions and various tricks for improving the sexual experience. I was flushed crimson from the moment I woke up that morning until I walked into the room, running late, to the instructor demonstrating a striptease. I laughed nervously and tried to blend into the walls.
But as the seminar continued, and I watched the teacher point out the sensitive parts of the male anatomy on a silicone model, sort through a box of sex toys like it was the cutlery drawer, and instruct women to “dab their own essence on their pressure points” to entice their partners (I’m not kidding, and, no, I haven’t tried it), I started to get excited, for lack of a better term, about taking my secret lessons home to the hubs.
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The next night, things started off as they normally do, until I threw a newly-learned curveball. Two nights later, the same thing. Here we are, four months post-class, and occasional, boring sex is a thing of the past. That elephant I mentioned still sticks her trunk into the room from time to time, but I’ve learned to banish her as quickly as she arrives by consulting the photocopied booklet from class I keep under our bed (it’s getting a little dog-eared). I’m considering going back to take level two—but then we may never do housework again.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2014 issue with the headline “Sex Ed,” p. 34.