A few of you were a bit put off by my diligent record keeping over the past few years. Truth be known, I have records going back several more years than that. People who don't raise an eyebrow at my wearing a cage on my cock get all bent out of shape that I might actually collect some data on my sex life. So let's talk about it.
Anyone who has read deep enough into my other blog, Unsolicited Advice would know that I'm solidly in the behaviorist camp when it comes to psychology. I cringe a bit at the term "psychology" because this implies we can study people's thoughts. We really can't. We can study what they tell us they are thinking or make assumptions based on their actions, but the mind is largely a black box. We understand only what people choose to tell us. Actions, however, do speak louder than words. Behaviors can be deliberate or reflexive but either way, they are readily observed. And in the science of analyzing human behavior, we keep data. That's what I do. I define it, track it and try to determine the function of it. It's how behavioral problems are solved. Look at the data, manipulate some environmental variables and then see what happens to the data path. Thoughts certainly do play a part in what happens, but thoughts are not amenable to direct observation or manipulation.
So tracking my sex life is a natural extension of my scientific orientation. I didn't always track it, though. But tracking it was the first manifestation of me realizing a problem existed. Almost as soon as we were married, there was a gradual decline, but I was generally okay with our frequency. But as soon as Thomas was born, that changed everything. Suddenly we became a warehouse for chores and all things baby. And I became familiar with the demon that is post partum depression. My formerly laid back, easy going wife turned into a terroristic drill sergeant. Nothing I did was good enough. I did the most rational, logical thing I could think of in a dry south Georgia county…I worked later and later hours. In those days, it was a lot easier surfing for porn at work and that's what I did. "Working" being a loose term for being at the office. 8 months after Thomas was born, he had a series of seizures. Just when the blues were starting to lift, Arwyn was again driven to depression.
When Thomas was about 13 months old, Arwyn was in a friend's wedding and we stayed in a fancy hotel in Atlanta spending more than we could afford. But I figured that even though we had Thomas was with us, why not take advantage while he was asleep? Arwyn was absolutely horrified at the very idea that we might have sex with a baby in the room. I was horrified to discover that my wife had turned into a prude. It was about then that I began tracking our sexual progress. Since we were down to less than 2x per month, it wasn't that hard. I wanted to be sure that I wasn't going crazy. Maybe I was making too big of a deal out of it. Maybe I our frequency was more than I thought. Marital therapists frequently report that HL people tend to underestimate sexual frequency, while LL people overestimate it. So I began tracking it.
I tracked when I initiated and when I was turned down using smiley or sad faces. There were many, many more sad faces, most of them crying. Some of them angry. But a few smiles.
Intercourse was the sole sexual behavior in our repertoire. Arwyn would abide nothing else. In April of 2001, Thomas was taken to a place that did respite for a few hours. We went home and made love…for the last time in 2000. It was at that moment, the first moment we had the house to ourselves since Thomas's birth (who was 2) that we conceived our second son, Elmo. And Arwyn was on bed rest for pretty much the entire pregnancy. If Arwyn was bitchy during postpartum depression, she was absolutely pathological while on bed rest. Thomas and I bonded really well, and I was doing everything. No. EVERYTHING. Including chores that Arwyn hadn't done in years, suddenly she needed them done NOW. She lay in bed, thinking of new things for me to do. She was purposely trying to make me feel the pain of whatever she thought she had to endure as a mother. Fact is, I could not rise to her level of neurotic obsessions and compulsions. And I refused to try. I did what I could and not always on her timetable. This enraged her, and I was callous, uncaring, uncompassionate, and generally a bastard. She was a demanding bitch. In either case, there was serious damage done during that time that she has never recovered from. I didn't expect sex during this time, after all she was bedridden. I just expected her to be patient with me and let me run things until she was able to do her bit. But she had ways of doing things and insisted on me doing them like she did. Her ways were stupid, illogical, inefficient and generally sucked. No wonder it took her all day to do laundry!
My approach to doing chores has always been to get them done. No, washing dishes is not a productive activity. It is something that needs to be done, and done as efficiently and quickly as possible in order to move on to more productive or enjoyable things. Even on the farm, I was like a guided missile with chores. Do them and get out as quick as possible. Feed the cattle, milk them and move on. Lingering around and studying the process holds no interest for me. Especially the daily stuff.
This is a conflict that gets played out everywhere amongst couples everywhere. But it usually works out.
The day before Elmo was born, Arwyn's mother took Thomas to her house in Florida. At this point, Arwyn was up and about. In fact, she was scrubbing floors all day on her hands and knees the day before, heavy into the nesting business. The next morning, I jumped in the shower with her. I don't think we had ever taken a shower together before. Anyway, we were rubbing, soaping and kissing. Arwyn was avoiding my cock. I finally took her hand and directed her to where I wanted it. And I orgasmed within minutes. First handjob, and my first (and last) orgasm in the shower with her. She said it was kind of fun, but future forays into the shower were unwelcome as she complained our shower was too small.
Anyway, the payoff of the above lengthy screed was that the handjob became more and more of a staple. When counting them as sex, it looked like things were really looking up. But we were still in a deep sexual slide. Until April-May of 2003. For 6 weeks, I got a handjob every 4 days, almost. What happened then? The Chastity Cage happened. We had a contract, and she did stick to it like clockwork. But I lost interest in wearing the cage as Arwyn was not active in the various other provisions and she eventually gave up on holding the keys altogether.
So I had several different data points that I was tracking. Intercourse, or full-on-sex, handjobs and then days that I was caged. I was the one that made the decision as to when I was going to wear it, and Arwyn decided when to take it off. At least for awhile. I went longer and longer periods without wearing until I looked at my data points. I discovered that I actually did get more sex during months when I was wearing the cage. And it was better sex. Even the handjobs were much better. And I was generally happier.
Still with me?
Even handjobs diminished as she suffered from carpel tunnel. She also suffered from endometriosis so there went most of the sex in 2004. A little over a year ago, she got surgery on her worst hand and then got a hysterectomy a few weeks later. Which brings us to early this year. With the fear of pregnancy gone as well as the pain from the endo gone, she got her groove back. We had full-on intercourse once a week, every week for 3 solid months. I declared the war over and the battle won. Prematurely, as it turns out.
Sex became more and more rare and by May, we were back to once a month and it deteriorated from there. I decided maybe it was time to cage up again which brings everyone up to date. Blogging also became a part of the data collection process, as I could track my own moods qualitatively.
Without my handy calendars, this story wouldn't even be possible. I can look back and see when things got better or worse. The cage always made a qualitative difference and sometimes made a quantitative one. In an effort to improve things, I quit smoking. The data showed me that was a loser, sex wise. We tried praying together. That was another loser. Doing more chores? LOSER. Talking more: loser. We'd talk into the night and then it was too late to do anything sexual. Christian relationship books? A body has to actually read them Loser, again. Communicating more via our little on-computer blog: Loser. We tried date nights. That was the biggest, most dramatic loser of all. Getting stood up is embarrassing and resulted in even more hostility from me. Random gifts: loser. I joined the flower-of-the-month club and still buy her favorite candy sometimes, all without flourish or fanfare. Cooking her favorite foods: Loser AGAIN. She likes to go out to eat as a family. Hey that worked…NOT! She complains about us not doing enough as a family. So season passes to a local attraction and regular visits as a family. This worked well…as well as all the other things which is to say they had no effect. She complained about me putting too much pressure on her. Like the anonymous commenter said, I'm putting too much emphasis on it. During the last 4 months I haven't asked her for sex even one time. I haven't mentioned it at all, but continue to cook and buy her little gifts. Guess how well this has worked?
Let's see…oh yes…nonsexual affection and touching. When caged, that's all the time since there is no sex possible. But I have also tried to reach out and hug her or give her backrubs over the past 6 months. Read the blog and tell me how well THAT works.
Pretty Peanut writes that Not So Normal claims to have already tried everything. What say you, NSN? Have you really tried everything? I will give you this: you tried an affair, which I have yet to do and that got Peanut's attention. But too little too late, eh? I'm still curious as to what was tried in that relationship. I could always use more ideas, plus I'd like to know how I measure up.
Measuring up. Measuring. Keeping track. Tracking and monitoring. Sexual frequency isn't the only sign of a good or bad relationship but it is one of the vital signs. Akin to taking the temperature or taking a pulse or measuring blood pressure, it says something about how things are going inside. Studies have shown the marital satisfaction and sexual frequency are positively correlated, for whatever reason. A healthy marriage has a regular diet of sex as a part of it. While a body can go weeks without eating, that doesn't mean a body is happy about doing it.