Believe it or not, I’d never heard of the term ‘dead bedrooms’ until just the other week, when I was having a chat with an old friend about the conundrum of marriage and what makes it so terminal. As soon as she mentioned the phrase dead bedrooms, something deep inside me all at once came together. Clicked. Slotted into the final gap of the jigsaw. A true eureka moment.
“That’s it!” I shouted out to the world, but only my friend was listening. “That’s what kills marriage!”
“Or any long-term relationship,” my friend corrected. Despite having spent all her adult life searching for true love, and almost having made it to the altar once, at the end of the day she never ended up marrying. I did. Twice over. And my grandmother did, also twice. And my father, three times. (There’s still a half-sister somewhere out there in the world who I’ve never met.) I used to think it was just bad choices. Bad timing. Bad luck. Bad tricks that God played on random victims. But I was wrong. All the way along the simple answer lay in two simple words. Dead bedrooms.
It’s so obvious, now that I’ve seen the light, I simply can’t understand why we aren’t all forewarned about this from an early age. Forget bloody fairy tales – they’re a bunch of lies with dubious morals. (Beware of charming men. Don’t wear red. Beware of charming grandmas. Don’t get too near an oven. Don’t go on walks in the woods. Beware of coming back home after midnight. Beware of sleeping on too many mattresses.) Why aren’t we taught, from adolescence on, that sexual attraction simply does not last? That your love-nest-bedroom will one day be rendered dead. Deceased. Defunct. Detoxed of all sizzling male and female juices.
However, there is one little word that could possibly save the day, if you take heed. And that cautionary word is: if.
If you don’t make an effort as the years roll on, desire will die. If desire dies, someone else will snatch it from you and then you’ll suddenly want it back, but it’ll be too late. If you’re no longer in the mood for slipping into your naughty French lingerie or being tied up or whatever else used to grab your sexual fancy, someone else will be more than in the mood to do it for you. If you don’t fancy your partner any more, someone else will, sooner or later. Someone who is still sizzling with high erotic energy and leaping hormones; someone who can’t wait to snap into sexy thongs and suspenders, or nothing at all, and then, after the deed is done, lie in your partners’ arms, exhausted, sweaty, sated, and listen to him moan about how his wife just doesn’t understand him anymore. Oh yes, that will inevitably happen one sad day, if you allow desire to fade and your bedroom to become your graveyard.
So dear reader, here’s some advice I can dish out to you in hindsight.
- Make an effort with your appearance every single day of your life – clothed and unclothed.
- Hold on to affection and endearments and sweet nothings, as well as to each other’s hands and other parts.
- Be appreciative, fun, at times kinky, at times cozy, and laugh LOTS.
- Provide variety in bed or on the kitchen table or wherever takes your fancy – one day the sex slave, the next the sex master.
- Get away from humdrum routine whenever you can, be it a weekend without the kids, or a walk to the local park in the middle of the night for a game of Hide and Seek. Naked.
- Make little surprise gestures from time to time, not just flowers or a nice meal, but unexpected things, eg. a ‘Friday treat bag’ filled with chocolates and lubricants.
Actually, that last piece of advice was given to me by a family member who’s been happily married for thirty-five years. Yes, thirty-five! No kidding. And they’re still at it like rabbits.
So forget the morals of all those stupid fairy tales. Just remember this moral. Tend to your bedroom as though it were your garden: a beautiful realm that sprouts honeysuckle and hyacinth and clematis and daffodils and tulips throughout the year, with you being the gardener, and your desire the flowers in eternal bloom.