It was a rather typical Wednesday night. My husband offered to put our daughter down for bed. The whole routine can take up to an hour so I was happy to sit it out. So I sat, waiting for my husband to give me the thumbs-up that she was asleep. Normally the thumbs-up meant it was safe to proceed with our routine of Netflix and chill. Tonight was different, and I was anxious.
Typically when my daughter was off to bed, we would plop ourselves on the couch and binge a streaming series. We only have an hour or two in which we can barely keep our eyes open. Invariably we are shocked, at 10 pm, that we even stayed up that late.
Even though an hour or two isn’t much, we looked forward to the alone time. Sometimes in between episodes we’d sneak in a “quickie,” because when you become parents it’s kind of how sex just becomes: quick and convenient. It’s either that or it’s nonexistent. But not that night.
That night I had two glass balls in my vagina, black bondage body tape, and a whip, courtesy of a subscription sex fantasy box. I was excited yet nervous. I felt kind of ridiculous, too. What did I get myself into? I waited for my husband to peer his head through the door and let me know that our daughter was asleep and that it was time to go all “50 Shades of Grey.” The minutes ticked away, and I grew more anxious.
Perhaps I should back up a bit and explain how I ended up here.
A few weeks before this particular night, it became increasingly apparent that it was almost that time of year again. Cue the heart-shaped candy, boxes filled with chocolate, and cheesy rom-coms. Yes, Valentine’s Day gift guides were spamming my feed because February 14th was rapidly approaching. I was on a quest to find my husband the perfect gift but stumbled on to so much more.
It was almost Valentine’s Day and, just like the past two years, it also meant “Freed,” the final installment of the “50 Shades of Grey” movie franchise, was set to be released as well. With both so close together, I felt inspired to tap into my inner Anastasia Steele.
I give us kudos for even maintaining an active sex life with a rambunctious toddler and only four hours of sleep a night on average, but to be honest, we could’ve used a change. We’ve fallen into well-planned “sex dates,” which worked for us for a while, but the lack of spontaneity has its drawbacks. It was typical for me to say, “Sex at 9:30 in between episode two and three of Black Mirror?” To which my husband would nod in agreement.
So I Googled gifts for Valentine’s Day with the intention of breaking free of my postpartum sex-life routine. That’s when I discovered what I thought to be my solution: a sex subscription box. With so many different subscription services, offering clothes chosen by a stylist, expertly curated make-up, and even food to suit your taste or interests, it should come as no surprise that there are now subscription boxes catered to couples.
My husband and I tried a date-night subscription box in the past, and that was somewhat of a success, but when I stumbled upon a sex fantasy subscription box, I was immediately curious. Nowadays, I do most of my shopping online, but shopping for a sexual fantasy to play out with my husband? The thought never crossed my mind. Sure, I’ve bought lingerie online but not an entire box filled to the brim with a pre-planned sexual fantasy for my partner and I.
The Fantasy Box is a subscription service that delivers boxes with various themes with everything you’ll need to play out different kinds of sexual fantasies. Each box can include sex toys and even clothing and also comes with notes that guide you in a particular fantasy. Boxes range in size and price.
I decided to try a one-time order and chose the “Grey Area” box ($45 plus $5 for shipping). I’m not sure why I assumed “Grey Area” was the right box for my husband and I. After all, neither of us ever expressed an interest in this particular bondage fantasy, but something about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey has captured the essence of the ultimate sexual fantasy. As a woman, trying to rev up my sex-life post baby, I was willing to give it a try.
Somewhere between attempting to insert the glass balls and wrapping myself in bondage tape, I felt like I'd gone a little too far. It just didn’t feel the way I expected it to feel. When my husband gave me the long awaited thumbs-up, I nervously walked over to him and asked if he read the instructions. He nodded and we proceeded.
I wish I could say that it was a mind-blowing sexual experience and that channeling “50 Shades of Grey” instantly fixed my sex rut, but it didn’t. It was awkward, like a really bad porno.
“Are you into this?” I asked nervously, my hands and legs bound.
“Not really” my husband replied.
Instead of an exotic night in the Red Room, my face was just red with embarrassment.
There’s this stigma that sex after a baby fails by comparison to sex before kids, and I was afraid we were falling into that category. There’s also this pressure women face to remain sexy and sexual after a baby and to avoid saying things like, “I’m too tired” or “Not tonight.” Although we were having sex regularly, I was afraid it had become too casual and planned.
However, trying to assess what my marriage needed by considering two fictional characters wasn’t the way to go. In fact, it made me realize that lazy, planned, and convenient sex actually really worked for us, at least for right now. This idea that my sex life shouldn’t change just because I’m a mom is ridiculous, because everything else has changed since I’ve become a mom.
The effort I put into my marriage right now may seem minimal but it’s significant considering I never get a full night of rest and I’m always cleaning up after a smaller version of myself. Planned sex isn’t necessarily a rut that I need to get out of, and it was a sex subscription box that helped me realize that.
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