The other night I attacked my husband. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than being peripherally aware that the kids were asleep, the chores were done, I happened to be freshly showered and shaved and there wasn’t anything decent on TV.
“What did I do?” he demanded breathlessly, afterward.
“What do you mean, ‘what did you do’?” I replied.
“I just meant, obviously I did something right for you to …do that,” my husband said sheepishly. “I want to know what it is so I can do it again.”
Oh. My. God. Had it really come to this? Sometime in the past fourteen years I’d become one of those women—usually wives—who become totally passive about their love lives and stop making the first move. When, I asked myself, was the last time I had groped the poor man? Or sent him a dirty text message telling him precisely what I planned to do to him later? Or demanded he pull the car over right this instant and then proceeded to climb on top of him? To him, those would be gifts greater than a trunk full of gold wrapped in courtside tickets to the NBA playoffs , and I’m the only person on the planet—forsaking all others ring a bell?—who can give them to him.
I thought about all of the reasons why initiating the action had fallen off of my radar. After contemplating my excuse list for approximately eleven seconds, it occurred to me that every last one of them was monumentally lame. Here’s why:
The excuse: I don’t have to.
Why it’s lame: Even after a decade and a half together, my husband still shows me that he’s attracted to me—and would therefore very much like to mash his unclothed body against mine—dozens of times a day. Sometimes his suggestions are overt (“Wanna get naked?”), sometimes they are more subtle (Me: “Could you please pass me the meat?” Him: “I got your meat right here, baby.”). Frequently his passes are amusing, occasionally they’re irritating, and on a good day they result in a nice tumble. But because they’re always there, I suppose I’ve gotten out of the habit of initiating any of my own. In psychology, they call the old “someone else will take care of it” move the Bystander Effect. (Granted, they’re usually talking about unspeakable corporal crimes, but at the end of the day it’s the same gist.) But I am not a bystander in my own sex life, damn it! Maybe it’s time to start acting like it.