Photo Illustration: Dearest Creative. Photo: Courtesy

The hottest days of the year call for a Summer Fling. This week, we're deep-diving into sex, dating, and relationship drama, here.

Melissa Petro
Jul 27, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

When I worked as a call girl in my mid-twenties, I didn’t expect to enjoy the sex, although I sometimes did. While in grad school, I sold what amounted to “the girlfriend experience.” I’d answer a man’s ad online and we’d meet as if it were a date, have a drink or two, and then go back to my place or his. There’d be flirting, foreplay, oral sex and sex — and, sure, sometimes it was exciting and pleasurable. More often, escorting resulted in unremarkable encounters with unmemorable men. It didn’t matter whether I enjoyed it or not. I was getting paid, and so it was my job to perform.

When I retired from the sex industry, I was tired of performing. I wanted a partner and intimacy. I wanted a husband, kids, the works. And I expected sexual pleasure. But an occupational hazard that has followed me into marriage is that small and universal problem of sometimes just not feeling like it. In the old days, cash was a great incentive.

Now, I work as a stay-at-home mom managing the house and looking after the baby, while my husband works full-time to pay our bills. And I know Elizabeth Wurtzel once wrote that being a housewife was akin to prostitution, but I can assure you, my husband could not afford my old hourly wage.  

The sex we have is just for fun, and — since he’s more or less always up for it — at my discretion. After a day spent doing dishes, washing laundry, folding laundry, washing more laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills — all on top of taking care of our kid— sex can feel like yet another chore. Lately, it’s become that thing on my to do list that never gets done.

RELATED: Every Couple Should Talk About Sex the Way Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Do

It wasn’t always like this. When Arran and I first met around four years ago, I had a lot more libido (and a lot less laundry). In the beginning, as with many couples, our sexual chemistry was intense. Sure, we went through the predictable cooling off period, but as newlyweds we took pleasure in trying to conceive, and pregnant sex was some of our best.  

Then, I squeezed a six pound human out my vagina, rendering that whole area temporarily out of order. We started having sex again just as soon as the doctor gave us permission, but my new belly left me feeling self-conscious, and it was game over the first time I queefed lochia straight into his mouth.

As if the fourth trimester wasn’t challenging enough, making time and literal space for a sex life now that we have a nine-month-old is a logistical nightmare. Our apartment is maybe 450-square-feet, with a crib in the one and only bedroom. Besides the baby, we’ve got two dogs. While the little dog minds her own business, our 60-pound pitbull is often literally in the way. We can put him in the bedroom, fingers crossed he doesn’t wake up the baby, or leave him in the living room where he either takes up half the sofa while we're trying to get busy, or sits on the floor watching us.

More than the dog, it’s the little things, the condiments left out on the counter, the coffee table cluttered with board books and errant toys, that get in the way of passion. Not to mention I’m exhausted from momming. Sure, I suppose we could go at it straight away when Oscar goes down, but on a typical night I would rather eat ice cream sundaes and watch 90 Day Fiancé even though we’ve already seen this episode three times. I’d rather stare at my phone, scrolling through Instagram or house hunt on Trulia, than take a sexy shower. I’d rather my hair not get wet, and besides, my husband — next to me in flannel pajamas, arguing on Facebook — doesn’t exactly look in the mood to be seduced. I tell myself I’ll just let dinner digest. Next thing I know, I’ve passed out.

RELATED: The News Is Ruining My Sex Life

My husband and I feel, and experts agree, that it’s important to make an effort, and so we do. The other day, for example, Arran telegraphed his intentions by putting what I refer to as our “grownup futon” in the bed position. With the dog relegated to one far off corner, I was willing to give it a go, but from the very start of this not-so-subtle seduction, I felt pressured to perform. The need to get Arran to finish before the baby wakes up reminds me of when I was on the clock. Sometimes I find myself fantasizing to keep myself engaged, and while there’s probably nothing wrong with this, it reminds me of when I was a call girl fucking a stranger.

RELATED: Relationship Red Flags You're Probably Missing, According to a Divorce Lawyer

This person’s not a stranger; he’s my husband, my baby daddy, and I'm totally in love with him. I try to remind myself of this, staring hard into his eyes, which only weirds him out and so I’ll look away — and all I see is the living room where I spend three quarters of my life, and the distractions pull me under again. I might make a mental note to pay the cable bill just as soon as we’ve finished, or fight the urge to pick that quarter off the floor so that Oscar doesn’t swallow it, but sometimes the Herculean effort to focus is futile. I’m distracted by the spitup stain on the grownup futon, the dirt and crumbs running down its spine.

Thankfully, we’re finding some solutions. I’ve learned, for example, that when my husband and I start fooling around, it doesn’t have to end in orgasm. We can stop at anytime. It can be fun to flirt and tease without the expectation. And I’m practicing staying present even if what’s in the present is not what I might traditionally think of as sexy.

Sometimes, when he asks me what I’m thinking, I’ll say, “I’m thinking about how I can smell that dirty pile of laundry over there,” or “I’m thinking about when Oscar wakes up, maybe you and me taking him to the park.” This seems to amuse him, and maybe let him off the hook. Apparently, I’m not the only one with life on m mind. When I ask him what he’s thinking he might make a self-deprecating comment about his body or bring up a project at work. Not exactly pillow talk, but actually very intimate — the opposite of what I had with my clients.

I realize, too, that I can be generous. I can, for example, give my husband a blow job, just because, which is literally the opposite of my old profession. I didn’t work for free.

I remind myself that, unlike sex by the hour, a relationship’s sex life is long. In marriage, there will be times when our sex life feels more like maintenance — more meat and potatoes than escargot. Eventually, Oscar will go off to college. Even sooner than that, hopefully, we’ll stop co-sleeping.

When I had sex for money, you can bet I had more than enough of it. Maybe tonight, Oscar will go down easy, and dinner will be light, the house will be clean, the chores done; we’ll finish up watching whatever we missed this past Sunday on HBO, all the planets in the solar system will be rotating about their axis in the same direction, and my husband and I will actually get laid. And this time? It'll be good.

You May Like