The sticker system I’ve been using on David—where he gets a sticker for good behavior, which translates into money toward a toy–has been working so well that last night I started Eric on one.
We have, in our house, what some psychologists would call “a problem.” One person sees sex as essential for surviving. The other view it like a car wash—nice, but way down on the list of priorities … somewhere around cleaning out bathroom closets, organizing photos, or alphabetizing Halloween costumes of past years.
Last night was fairly typical. My exhausted self felt the paws of my mate. The people-pleasing half of my brain jumped to appease him, to rip off her clothes for a quickie. The bitchy half just wanted her sleep. So I did the math: the last time was … crap, four night ago. He’s due.
Numbers didn’t coerce the bitch. She wasn’t about to move her head from the pillow.
“Okay, I can take a hint,” someone said, and rolled over.
That made me feel bad.
“So, my dear one, between my bipolar brain, pituitary tumor, abnormal aortic valve, tilted uterus, and facial fungus, I’m one illness away from a wheelchair—at which point sex would be almost as frequent as if you were married to a Army officer stationed in Iraq.”
“Look,” I said, “here’s the situation. You know I love you more than any other male in this world—well, there’s David, but that’s different. And technically Jesus, too. My not wanting sex has absolutely nothing to do with my desire or love for you. I really hope you understand that.
“It DOES have to do with a stunted libido that 18 years of Catholic education has successfully repressed; large quantities of Zoloft, which makes my climaxing as likely as an immediate solution to global warming; and my pituitary meds that keep my orgasm on the back of a milk carton (i.e. missing, and worth a reward if found).
“And I don’t really see where I can change anything. I’m not about to start experimenting with my psych meds because it took me 23 tries to find a cocktail that works. I’m getting used this feeling of wanting to be alive. It’s refreshing change. And now that I have this abnormal aortic-valve problem in my heart, I’m limited to the kinds of medication I can take to treat the pituitary tumor—the kinds that make you hate sex.
“So, do you find any enjoyment in it?” he asked.
I thought for a moment. “Yeah, sometimes it feels good … like a nice backrub.”
I looked over and couldn’t bear to see the droopy, puppy-dog eyes anymore. It felt comparable to walking away from the young orphans that I got to hold in Calcutta.
“Look. How many times a week do you need sex?” I asked my other half.
“Twice. At the absolute minimum.”
“Okay. Monday and Thursday nights you get your sex. You can count on those two nights. But that means no dropping hints throughout the day on the other days. Or else you lose a sticker. Is that a deal?”
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “Except that today is Tuesday.”