The Night I Gave My Husband a Free Pass



This essay originally appeared on Scary Mommy on May 19, 2015.


The solution to our sexual problems seemed clear.  Our libidos aren’t matching anymore.  They haven’t since I had kids.  I’m not a fake it ‘til I make it gal.  I hate sex if I’m not in the mood. My husband’s favorite line is, “I just want to have sex with my wife.  You’re my wife.” 

You want mind-blowing sex?  Fine, go out and get it.  I’ll give you a FREE PASS.  A “hall pass” to pound.  A roundtrip, rump ride – with someone else.

I’d been stewing the idea abstractly for years.  It started when I began to feel guilty for not screwing my husband after the birth of our two babies that are 16 months apart.

I thought in my mind – we have a good marriage, we get along great, our kids are happy, I’m happy – why screw it up, by not screwing him?  If sex is that important – he can go somewhere else to get it. 

It just seemed so unfair though, to me, to us.  Why is a sexless marriage an automatic precursor to divorce?  How can not having sex, negate all of the other wonderful things about our marriage?  Why was it sex, or nothing?

At this point, psychologists and shrinks would be telling me to “do it anyway.”  That a healthy relationship is “all about intimacy.”  They’d urge me to “try harder, even if you don’t feel like it – you’ll get in the mood.”  I need to “schedule sex.”

I tried all that.  I’ve shagged my husband plenty of times when I wasn’t in the mood.  And you know what, it’s repulsive.  It’s a disgusting feeling.  With wine, it feels tolerable.  I even initiated some nights.  I broke out my sexy lingerie and pounced on him like a porn star.  I was pretending to be horny.  I was faking a libido.  I was acting just so my husband – and the world wouldn’t tell me that I’m doomed for divorce.

Pause.  In case you’re thinking that my husband is a bad bone, let me put that argument to bed right now.  When we do have sex, and we're both mutually in the mood – it’s off the charts.  So don’t go there.

As much as our sexual Sahara bothers my husband, it bothers me too.  Why can’t I be super sexual again?  Why don’t I ever feel like doin’ it?  Why can’t I pull out the wild pony tricks of my past?  How can having a baby ruin my libido like this?

I even had my hormones tested – maybe I could blame those.

Nope, the tests came back normal.

I refuse to believe that romantics wholly make up a marriage. I know there is great stuff here.  There is more than enough good stuff to sustain us, as a couple, as a family, while the romantics of our relationship takes a rendezvous.  If our marriage goes on a hot-and-heavy-hiatus, does that mean we’re going to hell in a hand basket?  That we’re destined for the big “D”? 

One night, while enjoying a lovely cocktail hour with my husband – I blurted it out.

“I just wish you’d fuck someone else.  Have a free pass.  Don’t let me know – just do it.  I can’t fuck you like you need.  Just be safe, and don’t fall in love.”

My husband looked shocked and hurt.

“You don’t love me anymore,” he said, lowering his voice.

My eyes swelled up, but no tears.  I looked down at the ground.  Didn’t he understand? I offered, because I DO love him.

He looked genuinely crushed.

“Have you even considered the possible consequences of me fucking someone else?”

I find my voice after getting choked up, it’s hard for me too.

“Yes, I’ve run it over and over through my mind, I feel like it’s the only option to make you – and me, happy.  I just feel all of this pressure.  Pressure to be a good, hot, skinny sexy wife who knows how to bone you like a freaky prostitute, and put dinner on the table – and ask you how your day was, and be this loving mother to my kids – oh, and kick ass at my job.  It’s too much. I just can’t take the pressure anymore.”

“I don’t make you feel pressured.  I never make you feel pressured to cook or clean.”

This is true.  He doesn’t.  He’d wouldn’t flinch if I hired a cleaning company.  If I ordered take-out every night.  If I was never successful in my career.  But, my husband does drop hints when he’s horny (which is constant), that if I really loved him, I’d want to have sex with him. 

I don’t think you can equate the two.  Love and sex.  I don’t care how much pyscho-babble you’ve been shoved down your throat.  This is real life.  It’s really hard raising human beings.

I love my husband, but the sex switch is sometimes stuck.  And for long periods of time.  I don’t heat up under the hood as much as I used to.

My story is no different than anyone else with young kids.  I’m exhausted.  I’m drained.  I don’t need the added pressure of givin’ up the almighty (pristine and groomed) pussy every night.  I don’t need the pressure of trying to act like a sex fiend, when really I’m just jonesin’ for some good zzzzzzzz’s.   I don’t have the bandwidth for mind-blowing sex every week.

I can’t get down with scheduled sexcapades, sexpectations, the obligatory date nights, or cliché marriage counseling that shrinks suggest to every couple struggling with sexual intimacy.

I’ll be sure to put that advice on my how-NOT-to-save-my-marriage list.  Because, adding more items to my current To-DO List – will cause me to go clinically insane.  

I can’t be physically and emotionally available to my husband like I used to be.  There are a bazillion reasons why being romantically available can’t happen as often as I’d like – kids, work, travel, activities, etc.  We’re all plagued by various family life logistics.  Then enter in my post-baby body issues. (Which I could cry about that for another 5 lines, but I’ll spare you).

And I didn’t need therapy to come to any of these conclusions.

Our marriage isn’t fucked.  We’re not getting divorced.  And apparently, my husband’s not taking my FREE PASS offer.  Can we just take the romantics out of the relationship for a moment?  Can we just focus on raising these, tiny, needy, helpless human beings for one moment and leave our relationship ideals and romantics out of it?

For gawd sakes, the sex will come.  The dates will come.  The courtship.  The passion.  And if they don’t for a year…..or two or five.  That’s okay. 

I just want to be friends, partners and to be a family.  And he does too.

I wish the psychologists and sexperts of the world would stop feeding me lines about how to get my marriage back on track after a baby – with these X number of simple steps.  Or how to get my body back.  How to get my job back.

I’ll never get any of those things back.  I am not the same person.  Growing and raising a human changes you deeply and permanently.

My body will never come back.  My brain will never return to its pre-baby state.  And I definitely don’t want my old job back.

My marriage will never be on the same track.  My marriage track has been severed and re-bonded by a baby.  We’re on a new track. 


The big picture is the friendship I’ll have with my partner in the long term.  Can I be friends with this person 15 or so years from now?  Do I want my husband by my side at soccer games? Dance recitals? High School graduation?  Yes, I want to share these moments with him, and only him.  At the moment, I may not have the hottest sex life, the most full social schedule, the most deep feelings of romantic love….towards my husband, or anything really.  However, when that all changes, my husband will be ready when I am, with his free pass in hand, for me.

Can you relate?  How has your libido changed or not changed since having children?

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