Read an Excerpt
Why am I writing a book to tell married women -- and those in long-term relationships -- that you can have a great sex life with a minimum use of time and energy? And why do I feel that it's my mission to help liberate wives from putting your sex lives on "hold" until you can "do it right?"
Well, it's not because I'm an expert on sex. But I have studied the subject in many books, and in numerous beds. I have learned through experience, both as a monogamous live-in and as a loving wife, that spontaneous sex protects bonded couples.
But couples do change. Heck, to be honest, sex changes. I'm sure, in your heart of hearts, you already know that.
Even for couples with no major problems, it takes ongoing attention -- in the midst of all else that's going on in our lives -- to keep intimately involved. Otherwise love withers. It's like a plant that's left untended, only to be doused with gallons of water once a month. That's a sure way to kill a plant. Or a love affair.
In the normal course of a day, we hardly notice the one interaction that doesn't happen. If a child doesn't paint a picture, if our favorite restaurant cancels its early-bird dinner, or if a call we've made goes unreturned, we generally think, ah well, maybe later. And we go on to other things.
In the same way, neglect can creep unnoticed into our sex patterns. We don't notice the day-to-day changes. After all, we know that we love our mates. Isn't that enough? No, it isn't.
We need to closely monitor our marriages and protect them from potentially lethal doses of indifference. Marriages as good as ours are too important to shoot down. Or to ignore for days.
Romance on the Run is an easy way to focus on your partner. It is what helped to keep my husband and me close and happily "in lust" for more than fifteen years.
Both quality and quantity sex are important. They're twins. Separate, but always equal in value. That's why Five Minutes of Quality Sex for Busy Couples makes being together fun. Even when other things in life go wrong, short spurts of marital intimacy help tip the scale toward the positive.
When some of our friends have split up over the years, they gave a variety of reasons. He was lazy. She was sloppy. He had a roving eye. She was bossy. He lied. She let herself go.
But if couples were sexually in tune -- and it was easy to tell, because there was always a hug here and a private smile there -- problems boomeranged and came back as virtues. He was relaxed. She was casual. He looked but never touched. She was assertive.
When we see couples on TV, we have a godlike view. We can see the entire picture at once. "Right" and "wrong" are easy to identify in the make-believe world.
TV is life in living color. There's a handsome Mr. Tux admiring his beautifully gowned wife in the reflection of a vanity mirror. He bends to kiss her. She abruptly turns her face away from him as she finishes applying her lip gloss.
She pushes him away, saying, "No way. We're late to dinner at the Joneses'... you'll mess up my makeup." Wow, we may think, she's cold... making a mistake... he's so sweet... she must not love him.
We can see that he's a caring guy. He looks hurt by her sharp tone. It's so clear. She's neglecting her Tux Man. We can't help but conclude that there's trouble ahead for this couple.
But in your own dressing area, when you're already twenty minutes late and hurrying to get ready, it's another story.
Your Mr. Tux is clearly overwhelmed by seeing you out of sweats and wearing an actual dress and heels. And even though he knows what time you're due at the Joneses' he makes his move.
Having sex right then is not doable. So instead of saying "Honey, you're the sexiest hunk ever. Wait till we get home, and I'll kiss your socks off," we usually casually say, "Back off."
Our story, though, unlike the one on TV, doesn't end with this episode. In real life, there's no script that guarantees a happy ending after the last commercial. It's open-ended.
Up close, we (especially females) tend to ignore how often we allow problems, and the lack of time, to push away passion.
We assume that because our reasons for skipping sex are not only to please ourselves -- but to suit children, parents, or even job deadlines -- they deserve a "top priority'' tag. Not necessarily. In some lives "emergencies" become the norm. They run the show.
Primarily, Romance on the Run speaks to women. Because men already know that many kinds of sex make up their "happy bag." Men easily include "quickies" in their good-time stash.
Women know that quick sex can be fun sex, too. But our culture has taught wives to consider, "Hey, doesn't he think I'm worth more of his time than that?"
Sometimes we think we should feel "cheated" if sex picks up speed as it goes. So we say no. Even when we wouldn't mind some.
Men already think that the only bad sex between consenting adults is no sex. They have less trouble than we do in justifying a sex romp in the midst of chaos.
My own husband, for example, was always willing to take time -- day, night, in bed, or swinging from the chandelier -- to have sex. Until after the honeymoon period, he set the pace.
Five minutes of sex was terrific. Five hours was also terrific. We agreed. We were totally compatible.
After our extended honeymoon pace, I became the holdout. I wanted to be wooed and won. Like when we met. So that's what we did for a while.
But as life got more hectic, moonlight and roses faded to early rising and instant coffee. Without even thinking about it, I evoked my "right of refusal" more often. My husband never used his "right" to skip sex. He was never that sick, or that annoyed.
Storybook intimacy was still my standard of excellence. If I couldn't have at least an hour of rockets and fireworks, I'd pass.
Then, one day at the mall I ran into a couple our age who had married the same year we had. We'd moved, and drifted apart.
They'd changed drastically. Formerly the pinch-each-other's-butt-at-every-opportunity type, they had grown stodgy.
Both had their blond hair cut into short bobs. With her in a flowered mumu and him in a matching print shirt, they looked, acted, and sounded enough alike to be brother and sister.
There wasn't a sex vibe between them. They talked about all the things they'd bought. And the malls they'd shopped.
It was a shock. And a call to action.
Until then, I thought my husband and I were different. I believed that because we'd started hot, we'd automatically stay hot. But our sexual energy could evaporate, too, and leave behind another dried-up pair slogging off toward a markdown counter.
Many of us know we're not devoting much time to one another. Not right now. But we think we'll get together and fix it later. As though intimacy were a squeaky hinge.
But by then, major damage is done. We can kill love with boredom and neglect, one rebuff at a time. After all, who wants to get close just because we've finally run out of everything else to do, and everyone else to do it with?
Romeo and Juliet wouldn't have allowed ennui to set in. Why should we -- when so many better choices are available? The safeguards I share in Romance on the Run are a form of intimacy protection. They require little, yet return a lot.
Will you invest five minutes, a few times each week?
How about if it's safe, cost free, and painless?
What if it keeps your Mr. Fussy so satisfied that he pitches in with chores more often? With a generous spirit of helpfulness?
Okay, wouldn't it be nice to restore the honeymoon twinkle to your eye? And get back the mint-new sparkle of a youthful, healthy woman who is cherished by a special someone?
If you're still not totally convinced, how about if the warmth of your feelings for one another spreads sunshine over your entire group of family and friends?
Need more incentive? Sex is a natural equalizer for a couple. When both feel secure, there's a better power balance.
When sensuality melts down to a dribble, the ground for a breakup is more fertile. We squabble more when we feel insecure, threatened, or unloved. A regular sex life connects us to our most desirable self.
Every little bit of Romance on the Run you incorporate into your marriage will help; embracing most of the suggestions for a three-month trial run will do the most to shake up your marriage.
As we explore Five Minutes of Quality Sex for Busy Couples, keep in mind that this brand of action has already been awarded the Good Sex Seal of Approval by Adulterers Anonymous.
When you hear the phrase "grab any stolen moment for hot sex," don't you automatically assume they're talking about illicit sex? It almost seems that sex is more fun when it's immoral. And that's too bad. Extracurricular sex rarely helps a relationship.
A double standard exists. It gives the "bad guys" the "good stuff," while married men and women inherit a multitude of rules.
Adultery always beckons. Statistics report that more than half of married couples cheat. (And this is down from figures in the '80s of 75 percent for men and 65 percent for women.)
The speedy "let's get it on because we have to hurry" m.o. must be at least part of its charm. Adulterers are busy people.
Extramarital trysts not only involve couples, kids, and work and gym schedules, but require ten tons of energy. Men and women not only have sex but must think up "cover your tail" stories, and dash in and out of cold showers before they go home.
Taking so much trouble is surely part of the fascination. The message we get is, "Here's someone who will do anything to be with me... and wants nothing from me." That's heady stuff.
Monogamy, too, possesses its charm -- and superior strengths. It carries the knowledge that two people have promised to regard one another above all others. It's each person knowing that they don't have to "go it alone." With a bit of fine-tuning, monogamy has a lifetime of ever-increasing potential.
Faithfulness, like her polygamous sister, also needs to take in constant nourishment to thrive. Both feed on excitement, the unexpected experience, change, and variety.
No matter what our status is as a single -- virgin or home-wrecker -- our purity is restored on the walk down the wedding aisle. Everything changes. Suddenly, we're very proper people.
Especially about having sex. We become intercourse mavens. We've read a lot, and we know it all. We prefer perfection!
Once we've had the best, why bother with the rest?
Well, there's more than one good reason. Like time. And the budget-buster of indulging in the whole dinner-dance huzza-guzza.
Think back on your honeymoon. It was so perfect that it wasn't all that perfect. Too much pressure to look and act in a certain fairy-tale way. And a smidgen of "performance anxiety."
Our honeymoon luggage was stuffed with more demands than a ransom note. As singles, we'd made love. Later, we made routines.
As marrieds, our playbook outlines everything in advance. Like a gym class, we go for the skills that will be in the test.
In Settled Sex, first we have to be persuaded. Then we need long minutes, if not hours, of head-to-toe foreplay.
The actual sex takes on the tension of an Olympics event. But it's not "whoever gets there first wins the race." That would be easy.
Mates are often expected to arrive at the finish line at exactly the same moment. This takes a lot of stopping and starting, pinching, mind diversion, and an instant replay as we go along.
Finally, we reach the goal. Whoops. Not quite yet.
The extra point is "afterglow" snuggles and reassurances. Maybe that's why couples used to reach for a cigarette after sex. It sent a smoke signal that the end had at long last arrived.
Okay, I'll admit that "honeymoon sex" has a lot going for it. In fact, let's say it's the greatest. Total involvement. Fabulous! But all the time? No way. Romance on the Run offers the variety we want to have in real life. There's steak, and there's a burger and fries. A steady diet of either one would get boring. Some days we can afford one more than the other.
Either one is yummy, yet makes us hungry for the alternate menu the next meal out.
All of the methods we'll explore in this book are meant for couples who've been together for some time. Whether married in law or ipso facto.
It's for duos who want to stay together. If you can figure out how to do it with a minimum of pain and a maximum of joy.
Most monogamous relationships -- married or otherwise -- depend on creating their own energy supply. That's how couples can fuel their partnership over a long road of happy and healthy years.
One of the greatest challenges in our tumultuous world is to reserve the Number One spot in our hearts for our mate. We're triumphant if we make it happen today. Tomorrow, it'll all be up for grabs again. Love's teeter-totter goes up and down.
This is fine for me. I'm a high-energy person who also enjoys savoring the moment. Large pleasures include finishing a day's work goals, and small payoffs come in munching a quick yogurt.
Generally, I believe in jamming as much into my days as they can hold. I take time to chat with friends for an hour, then go nuts waiting for a stoplight to change on the ride home. Logical lunacy. Fast mixed with slow is nature's balancing act.
Romance on the Run uses Five Minutes of Quality Sex for Busy Couples to keep you and your lover connected. It sanctions instant gratification to prime the emotional pump. Frequent sex is the least exhausting -- and most foolproof -- way to stay lovers forever!
I've adjusted my own attitude a mite, and "lightened up."
My working plan is, "Use it, so we don't ever lose it."
Copyright © 1995 by Tara Roth Madden