Sex: Sometimes You Want It, Sometimes You Don't, And That's Okay

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
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Mom, stop reading now, please.

About a few months ago, for no reason I can discern, I became as horny as a teenage boy. This was due, on my part, to no vagaries of age, hormones, weather, or black magic. One day, I had a standard, chug-along, twice-a-week sex drive; the next, I was a two-times-a-day woman.

My husband was in a state of bliss normally reserved for the karmically advanced. I’d walk in the bedroom, shut the door, and shuck down to a sheer tank top. We’d put the kids to bed early, so we could go to bed. He was deliriously happy to do whatever I wanted, and there were numerous things that I wanted. I was also quite pliable and willing to do things I normally don’t like — and enjoy them. It was awesome. It was amazing. It was like this secret little interlude where we’d just discovered each other again.

Then it stopped. Boom, done. Suddenly, sex had absolutely no appeal for me. I was down from twice a day to none a day, don’t touch me please, I’ll be wearing granny panties forever, thanks. Oh, he tried all the moves. The neck nuzzle, the thigh rub, the grind-against-my-butt. He wanted his horny wife back, but I was having none of it. Not because, intellectually, I didn’t want to have sex. I did. I knew it would be fun, it would feel good, and I wanted the connection to my spouse. But just as my brain said yes, my body said no-no-no.

Like so many women whom this happens to, I worried: It was just, click, boom, then it happened. But I, like many women in my situation, had experienced a psychological shock, and it had affected my sex drive. I was totally normal.

Suddenly, in the midst of all this crazy teenage horniness, I had gotten some news: I would need to switch from contacts to glasses, possibly permanently. I had been ridiculed brutally for wearing glasses as a kid. When the doctor dropped the news, all those shouted “You’re ugly”s and “Four-eyes!” came rushing back. I didn’t feel sexually attractive anymore — in fact, it took me three weeks to do the deed again. I had a serious psychological event. This is a normal reason to drop down to a low or nonexistent libido, especially when you’re someone who suffers from an anxiety and depression like me.

So are other factors, like exhaustion — something all of us parents experience intermittently. We have three kids, currently ages 7, 5, and 3. Two have probable ADHD. They are all homeschooled. My husband works a demanding full-time job. It’s hard to be horny when all you want to do is collapse into sleep. The will might be there — and it is, it is! — but the effort? I don’t have the energy to seduce my hot, sexy husband when I’ve got laundry to fold, and he has dishes to do, and we need to pick up the house lest it degenerate to total chaos. This is not a recipe for sexy time. You wish you had the energy to get it on. But you’re too damn exhausted — even when you’re horny, which you’re not, because you just cleaned the house and folded the laundry and just want to crash the fuck out and not be touched.

Then there are children, those adorable little cock-blocks we birthed and love and nurture and rue the day they learned to open doors. Sure, doors lock. But nothing kills the mood like a small child rattling the doorknob and wailing disconsolately, “I have to poooooooooop! Mama, I can’t get in. Why can’t I get in? Let me in! Let me in!” And you’re half-clothed, and your spouse is half-clothed with at least a half-woody if they’re of that persuasion, and suddenly you’re scrambling like teenagers for some semblance of decency before you attend to The Poopening. After you wipe feces from some other human’s anus, you aren’t really in the mood to bone anymore.

But then, sometime, for no reason at all that you can figure out, it comes back. Yes! Maybe you watched an especially hot episode of a TV show. Maybe you read something online — nothing porn-y, just some naughty sex reference that sort of stuck in your brain. Maybe you got a new thong. And suddenly you’re back to twice a day again.

Those statistics that say how often most couples have sex, stats that range from twice a week to once a month to once a week — I think those are bullshit averages. I think sometimes some couples have sex four times a week for a month, then do it once the next month. Or maybe, like us, they do it twice a day for three weeks, and then don’t touch each other for three weeks, then fade back into a twice-a-week pattern, then repeat based on life circumstances.

Most psychologists advise people to shoot for once a week for peak marital satisfaction, or maybe an average thereof. Because let’s face it: Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. And it’s your body, so you have the right to consent — or not — without regard to outside pressure.

My advice? Bang as often as you can. Savor the horny times. Weather the dry times. And whatever you do, understand each other, give each other space, and never stop showing each other love.

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