Romance, intimacy, and sex are hard to maintain for a couple who's been together for a decade. Because of that, I am always looking for ways to make it seem like, well, we haven't been together for a decade. We try to make at least one date night a week. Now that my daughter is weaned-ish, we take as many opportunities as possible to spend time away from her, just the two of us. I made my partner download SnapChat in the hopes that he'd send me dick pics, but we mostly use it to send each other terrifying Faceswaps of us and our daughter. But most recently, I wore lingerie to bed for a week and it changed my relationship in a way I wasn't expecting.
Inspired by a Cosmo article about a woman who wore lingerie to bed for a week and who's sex life went "bonkers," I decided to give it a go for myself. I'm not going to lie, I was enticed by the idea that maybe our sex life could go bonkers, too. I'm married with a kid; I could use a little bonkers in my life. But I was also feeling pretty nervous and a little unsure. I'll be the first to admit that I have a hard time verbalizing my desires; I'm always worried that my partner won't want to have sex — he gets up with our daughter every morning at 5:30 a.m., he bikes or runs 10 kilometers a day, and he works a full-time job. He's a busy guy.
And to say that I've lost confidence in the bedroom since having a baby would be an understatement. My partner is in, probably, the best shape of his life. This is not a humblebrag. He's a husband, a dad, works a full-time job, and manages to train for and compete in ultra marathons throughout the year. He has a six pack and his body fat percentage is at whatever number is humanly possible for an adult male to have without being dead. And while he has never, ever made me feel inadequate about my body, I can't help but notice all the ways that he is beautiful and all the ways that I am not. All I see are my breasts, that have nursed a baby for the past 18 months; my stomach that remains just a little flabby no matter how many crunches I do (which to be fair, isn't that many); my legs that don't get shaved that regularly; the bags under my eyes that remain no matter how much sleep I try to get. And I hoped that maybe this little experiment might help boost my confidence as well as, you know, get me laid.
For the first night, I wore a classic black and pink sheer nightgown. Honestly, when I pulled it on I didn't find it very flattering for my body, but when I walked into the bedroom, he said, "Ooooh, fancy PJs". He was very touchy but didn't jump right into any kind of bow-chicka-wow-wow, which I appreciated. Instead, he talked to me about my day and what I did and our weekend plans. The conversation devolved into that random nonsense kind of discussion that people who have been together for a long time ultimately end up having. The kind of talk where you just talk about anything, everything, whatever.
And did we do it? Wouldn't you like to know.
We did. We absolutely did.
I was feeling so tired after a full day of momming that I almost said eff this and put on my favorite old t-shirt on Night Two. But instead, I choose a grey nightie that's silky on the bottom and lacy on the boob area. I used to wear this to bed as a regular pajama for a very short time when I believed that "real adult women" wore sophisticated and classy negliges to bed. But it turns out that sophisticated and classy negliges aren't actually comfortable.
As I got into bed, I was feeling so exhausted and I really just wanted to roll over and go to sleep, but because I was wearing lingerie I thought I should put in a bit of an effort and at least talk to the guy. We ended up talking and kissing and cuddling and it led to me feeling less tired and more sexy and suddenly sex didn't seem like such a bad idea anymore; in fact, it seemed like the best idea ever.
So, we had ourselves some.
Night Three was also Date Night, and I wore a black, sheer bodysuit underneath my dress and let me tell you, it felt super sexy and sneaky. But the thing about sending two parents out for a date with their best friends to one of the best cocktail bars in town is that they're probably going to make bad life decisions and drink too many cocktails (too many cocktails for these parents is about three cocktails, by the way). Then, when we got home, I ate an entire box of Mike and Ikes (also to be filed under Poor Life Decisions); and by that time, we were both feeling pretty horrible.
He made the very valid point that men are allowed to want to feel sexy, too. So, because he wasn't feeling too sexy at the moment (and to be honest, I didn't really want to kiss him when he was all snotty), we cuddled and fell asleep.
When he saw what I'd been wearing underneath my dress all night he said he was feeling torn: on the one hand, I looked sexy. On the other, he was really tired and kind of just wanted to go to bed. Honestly, I'd never heard anything sexier in my life and I told him so. I took off the bodysuit and put on a t-shirt and we fell asleep and it was amazing.
I have to be honest, I didn't put on any lingerie on Night Four. But I have a really good reason: that night we watched the first episode of Season 7 of The Walking Dead. I'm not saying that one shouldn't have sex after watching that episode, but I couldn't even fathom the possibility of putting on something sexy with the intention of seducing my husband after watching what was probably the most gratuitously violent television program I can ever remember.
Because we've been together for a decade, intimacy can be really easy for my partner and I — there isn't anything we don't know about each other — but because we've been together for a decade, intimacy is really hard — we have 10 years of routines and familiarity and knowing each other that lies in bed with us every night.
I admitted to him that I'd planned to try to seduce him before bed but didn't really feel like it anymore. He felt the same; that episode was absolutely way too intense to even contemplate any type of sexy time. He went to bed (because of his aforementioned 5:30am wake-up time) and I stayed up a little longer to decompress. This may seem like an overreaction to some people but I simply cannot handle that kind of physical violence and I knew that I wanted nothing to do with the possibility of sex after that; it felt too much like torture porn to me.
On Night Five, I wore this lacy, satin, white number that is, surprisingly, my most comfortable piece of lingerie. It has no itchy spots. It's not constricting. It's the perfect placement of satin and mesh in all the right places. I admired myself in the mirror for a bit when I put this on because it looked as amazing as it felt. And when it came time to put the lingerie to work, both my husband and I were feeling — you guessed it — very tired. But we cuddled and talked about how race is a social construct. He made a number of horribly lame jokes that only I ever laugh at. There might have even been some nookie at the end of all that, but I can't remember...
...I'm lying. I can remember. We definitely had The Sex.
My partner was feeling really sick on Night Six, an inevitable result of having a toddler in daycare. I put on a simple but skintight green nightgown (I've also learned that almost all of my lingerie consists of some type of nightgown and I might need some lingerie diversity in my drawers). I checked out my butt in the mirror and, in case you were wondering, it looked fantastic. So did my boobs for that matter. We cuddled in bed and discussed an array of global topics: butt plugs (pro), our Halloween plans (we had none), he sang me songs from the '90s band Prodigy (I harmonized), and we laughed a lot. I told him that even though I was wearing lingerie, I didn't want him to feel any pressure to have sex. If I was sick and he was trying to get me to have sex with him, I'd probably tell him to GTFO. And we talked about how even though he was sick he still felt pressure to seal the deal because he's a man and masculinity is toxic enough that it expects men should always want to have sex.
Then he made the very valid point that men are allowed to want to feel sexy, too. So, because he wasn't feeling too sexy at that moment (and to be honest, I didn't really want to kiss him when he was all snotty), we cuddled and fell asleep.
My last night of lingerie luxury was a bit of a bust because good old Aunt Flo came for a visit. So, I pulled on my favorite t-shirt and PJ pants and snuggled into bed next to him. But instead of rolling over and picking up my phone or a book like I normally would, we stayed up and talked to each other, about our days and about our baby and about ourselves. He hugged me and kissed me and told me I was beautiful even in a t-shirt that's as old as our relationship.
I can't remember specifically what else we said, but I remember feeling very in love with him.
If the success of this experiment was to have sex every single night that I wore lingerie, then I guess this experiment would be a failure. But I don't think that's how I would or should measure my success. I think sex is very easy to manufacture. The ingredients are quite simple: (at least two) consenting adults and sexual activity. That's literally all you need. But intimacy is harder to manufacture. In fact, I don't think intimacy can be man-made; it can only come naturally. And because we've been together for a decade, intimacy can be really easy for my partner and I — there isn't anything we don't know about each other — but because we've been together for a decade, intimacy is really hard — we have 10 years of routines and familiarity and knowing each other that lies in bed with us every night.
But did I find myself better able to express what I wanted to my partner while I was wearing lingerie? Yes. Did I like the way I looked in the lingerie? Definitely. Was I reminded that the only person who has a problem with my post-baby body is me — with or without lingerie? Mm-hmm. Did my sex life go bonkers? No. But wearing lingerie for seven (OK, seven-ish) days reminded exactly how bonkers I am for my husband. That's enough.