Why the Passion Challenge is a Bad Idea

Not much is happening on any of the fronts that I can think of that make people check in here on a regular basis. And then again, I have no idea if I can make any assumptions about what makes people read this blog. Perhaps the international terrorists who are holding you hostage don’t even care, just as long as you continue to be painfully tortured and beg for a mercifully quick beheading.

Alright, nothing here so I’ll just talk about one of my guilty reads, which would be FTN. Last Sunday, he slapped his wife in the face with the proverbial gauntlet and threw it in the face of his readers, challenging everyone to a week of romance. The 7-Day Passion Challenge, he called it. I thought he was a bloody idiot for doing such a thing, but at the same time I was rooting for the guy. We all do some really dumb things in the name of passion, and sometimes the hair-brained scheme actually works. And if you’re going to be issuing fatwas for something, romantic passion gets my vote every time.

Okay, I’ll go ahead and talk about my own past experience with this sort of thing and why I foresaw problems with FTN’s challenge.

Cue wavy, blurry flashback effects…

Summer 2002, which would be just before the time I was playing with the cage. I remember becoming acutely and fantastically aware that my marriage was cascading towards disaster. I had previously read Relationship Rescue, done all of Dr. Phil’s exercises and attempted to get Arwyn to participate in the joint exercises. Keep in mind she is the one that actually bought the book, but never finished it or did any of the work. But she declined, saying she wanted to finish the book on her own first, before working with me. Years later, the book has still been untouched. I also ordered a bunch of books on couples praying together. She looked these over a bit and we tried praying at night before bed and that did not work for her. We tried praying together before getting out of bed, and this also did not work for her.

Amongst these interventions, we arrived at Date Night, which was essentially get-the-kids-to-bed-early-so-we-can-have-sex night. Through some miraculous negotiation, I was able to get her to agree to two nights per week when our previous frequency was once or twice a month. She agreed that Tuesdays and Saturday nights would work best for her. So it was set. I wrote “date night” in a appropriate spaces on our calender in order to make sure I didn’t forget. (Hahahahahaha! A little HL humor, there.)

The first Tuesday came ’round and I can’t remember exactly what happened, but we had to postpone. One of the kids were probably sick or something. I was frustrated at not being able to make the first date, but there would be plenty of other chances, right? So Saturday night came and we were able to get it on. Okay! We were off and running! WooHoo! Right? On the road to recovery! Rediscovering intimacy! Great times ahead!


I had no clue. I was clueless. There was no clue to be found, or if there was, I didn’t get it. The elusive clue totally escaped my mental efforts to grasp it.

That would be the last time Arwyn would ever keep a “date.” As if this alone wasn’t frustrating enough, she would forget and not even offer a rain check. It was as if what she agreed to was never agreed to. Yeah, I know “obligation sex” is often worse than no sex at all, but freely offering at least takes much of the sting out of the rejection. At least it isn’t quite so blatant and I might even have a chance of psyching myself into some sort of super denial, enabling me to believe whatever fiction it is that allows my self-esteem to remain upright.

So I did the adult and mature thing. On the calender, underneath the words “date night”, I drew a frowny face underneath all the days that I was stood up, and a happy face underneath the one and only date she ever kept. She promptly scribbled out all the “date nights” I had written for the rest of the month. We had tried this for 5 weeks before it melted down totally, meaning that there were 10 “dates.” She kept one of those 10.

Oh well.

This was not the first failure to revive our passion and not the last, by a long shot. This was around June-July 2003, I think. Our monthly average actually dropped during this period! So I score this the worst and most disastrous attempt at gaining more intimacy and passion that I have ever tried. I was more resentful, bitter, angry and hurt than at almost any other time, which probably fueled Arwyn’s avoidance of me and our dates. I can’t say I can blame her, looking back. After a couple of weeks of getting stood up, I was getting beyond surly and the feelings of betrayal still hit me when I mentally and emotionally go back to that place. Quality and quantity would not recover from those levels until early 2003, when I discovered the chastity cage. With that, I would try a completely opposite direction and tact from date night.

The 7 day passion challenge looks a lot like date night but I hope it works a lot better for FTN. Judging by his..er…”reports” it does not look exactly like a big success. At least it has the virtue of being only 7 days long!

We have talked over and over about how “pressure” adversely affects LL persons. They HATE it and actively rebel against it in any form. It’s like taking a woman, stripping her naked and them poking and marking all of her bodily flaws on national television. Having flaws is generally okay until you have people looking at them and pointing them out. We can conceal these with clothing, make-up or hair. In the same way, having a LL does not phase such people until it is high lighted. Date night and a passion challenge is shining a great big, bright, hot, spotlight with a giant arrow pointing to it: LOOK! NO SEXUALITY! SEXUAL CELLULITE HERE!

Which is why it is such a persistent problem. There’s no way to talk about it or do anything about it unless you look at it.  The challenge might provoke some great discussion but as a strategy to rekindle waning physical intimacy, it is a loser.  But that’s just my opinion and my experience.  YMMV.  In fact, I hope it does!





2 Responses to Why the Passion Challenge is a Bad Idea

  1. So Gone says:

    I learned that the whole pressure thing is horrible on LL’s, and will backfire against you everytime, because of the relationship with My Ex. I can remember every single time that we would go on dates (which was actually every single weekend, once we committed to doing that), and every single time, I’d hope that would equal sex, and it never did. The next morning maybe, but never that night, like I’d wish. And I quickly learned that if I slipped into something more comfortable, like lingerie, that would guarantee he wouldn’t touch me, at all, the entire night in bed. You read in these women’s magazines about how your man wants to see you in lingerie, and for me, it was like man repellant, well from My Ex, at least.

  2. FTN says:

    I understand why you think it could be a bad idea. But I think I’m coming from a slightly different vantage point — while I’m still in a relationship of clashing libidos, our marriage in general seems to be on the upswing in the last year or so. I’ve worked on minimizing the pressure associated with this “challenge.” And most importantly, I’ve focused on MY part of it rather than worrying about what she does or does not do. She is generally pretty happy with my attempts at romance and such. I tried to go all-out with something special on Wednesday night, and it was a mostly positive thing, even if I was the initiator.

    No, I wouldn’t say this week has been a huge, rousing success, but I’m not disappointed with anything. We hold hands, we hug, we have love and communication already. She just isn’t very sexual. Obviously.

    Your situation, on the other hand, would have been very upsetting to me. To only keep 1 out of 10 “date nights” is pretty severe. The difference is that you took the “avoider” way out and did nothing beyond putting some frownies 😦 on the calendar. But me? There’s no way 9 consecutive unsuccessful date nights could happen before there was some serious discussion, arguing, and crying involved. Because I could never just “let it go,” I couldn’t do that. There would be confrontation, communication, and hopefully some sort of game-plan for solving the problem. (Yeah, I know that’s not usually how these types of confrontation go, but we can dream, can’t we?)

    I’ll probably sum everything up after the weekend. You said that Date Nights are too much pressure for LL people, but for us, Autumn is much more comfortable with things being planned in advance. It’s less pressure for her when she knows what is going to happen.

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