Relationships

How My Husband and I Got Our Groove Back

After years of marriage, it was time to shake things up, so we decided to take a trip—straight to the Pleasure Chest

I had been married to Simon for 14 years, which might make us seem like newlyweds to Gen Xers who got hitched soon after college, but we were both 40ish when we finally decided to settle down and tie the knot. We liked to tell ourselves that we were edgy, too free-spirited to marry young. In fact, we both simply had a penchant for dating assholes.

As a couple, we were perfectly snug (and smug) as two bugs in a marital rug, but for one impediment: After 14 years, two tween daughters, some minor yet annoying health issues and several milligrams of antidepressants, we’d somehow lost our desire for each other. When you reach a certain age, you know this to be true.

Which didn't necessarily stop us from lusting in our hearts. In fact, I’d begun thinking a little too often about our gardener, Porfidio. He was tall, and I'd noticed his composure and dignity, his bemusement at my fumbling Spanish, to say nothing of his unusually large hands.

Then one day I walked into Simon's home office in our garage and discovered him watching videos on a porn site called Fleshbot. Rather than chastise him, I confessed my gardener fantasy and together we decided it was time to shake things up.

I’m embarrassed to admit that at the ripe age of fiftysomething, I’d never dabbled in “adult” accoutrements, which made entering the Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood like exiting the theater after a matinee: I was blinded and somewhat disoriented, in this case by the onslaught of sex toys. I tried to get my bearings at, of all places, a bondage display.

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“Here’s a starter kit,” Simon said, holding up a small box with a photograph of a blond woman strapped to a bed with white Velcro straps that looked identical to the harness our daughter Penelope wore as an infant to remedy a dislocated hip.

“Um, maybe it would be best if we split up,” I suggested, and so we did.

I headed toward the relative safety and familiarity of the lingerie section, only to be waylaid by a display of dildos. They were all amazingly lifelike and came in an array of colors and sizes. Some vibrated, some bent at all angles and some seemed pilfered from a reliquary dating back to the Spanish Inquisition. It was then that I noticed a burly patron noticing me noticing the dildos. I fled.

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After compulsively grabbing pieces of lingerie in my path, I found Simon perusing a DVD cover depicting cheerleaders performing mid-air herkies without their panties. The pornographic movies were displayed, one on top of the other, in tall plexiglass cases that customers could flip through like Pottery Barn rugs.

“Are there any videos where the woman has sex with more than one man?” I whispered to Simon like a guilty nun in a confessional.

“Yeah, the gangbangs are just over there,” he said. It sounded like he was using a megaphone.

The cashier reminded me of a sommelier, happily educating us on the finer vintages. The Kama Sutra line of oils, he felt, was overrated. The Motion Lotion, however, created a delicate sensation of heat with friction. I listened carefully, always the mindful consumer. I wanted the cashier to approve of our choices and to know that I didn’t think he was a pervert in any way. Might he be free for dinner some time?

“That'll be three hundred and eighty-seven dollars,” the cashier said, holding out a brown paper bag the size of a lunchbox.

“Charge it,” Simon said, and we were off—soon to be getting each other off.

We went straight to Simon’s office, which happened to be close by, me clutching our contraband to my chest. I went into the bathroom to change into the lingerie, but became discouraged when I realized the bra was one-size fits-all—if you were Heidi Montag post-op.

I couldn’t tell which side was up on the garter belt. Then, when I tried to fasten it around my waist, I couldn't figure out how the plastic fastener worked. I finally gave up and emerged from the bathroom in the gaping bra and crotchless underwear. My spike heels clacked loudly on the hardwood floor. I felt like a little girl teetering in her mom's shoes.

I found Simon wedged naked, knees to chin, on the tiny black leather love seat in front of the TV. I gleefully (if not gracefully) climbed on top of him, his knee in my groin, my elbow crushing his ear, our middle-aged bellies grappling for turf. Simon put on a movie—one that I had picked, with Jenna Jameson and five men—and we were ready for action.

The movie took place in what seemed to be a styrofoam castle where gothic dwarves and bald sex fiends wearing yellow contact lenses held Jenna captive. By the time a masturbating gnome ejaculated onto his manacles, I had had enough. We briefly disentangled and Simon picked up another DVD, this one called "Insatiable Sadie," but there was nothing sharp to pierce the plastic wrap. Talk about metaphors.

“Forget the DVD,” I cried. “Let’s try the motion lotion. The motion lotion!”

It was time to see if the cashier/sommelier really knew his stuff. Simon opened the bottle and splashed my lady garden with a liberal amount. A faint smell of rotted jungle undergrowth immediately infused the room. Simon knelt before me, as if about to cut a ribbon at a mall opening, and began to orally create the necessary friction to heat the oil.

It felt like my vagina had eaten a jalapeno.

“It’s too hot!" I screamed. "It’s burning!”

But Simon had already raced across the room to the kitchen sink where he lapped at the faucet as if trying to douse a fire on his tongue. Meanwhile, I leapt up and clacked my way to the bathroom, flung on the tap in the bathtub and jumped in, straddling the faucet to rinse my burning bits.

It was from this position that I saw Simon lurch into the doorframe, wearing his drugstore reading glasses, scrutinizing the ingredients label on the lotion.

“It’s got ass-partame in it,” he lisped.

Aspartame gives Simon blinding migraines, which make him throw up.

I'll spare you the rest. We drove home in silence while I imagined what Simon’s assistant might find at the office in the morning: the Jenna Jameson movie still lodged in the DVD player, my ill-fated garter in the trash. At a red light, Simon looked over at me and when our eyes met, we began to laugh. And we didn’t stop until Simon leaned over and kissed me.

I felt the blood rush from my breasts to my cheeks. The light turned green. We didn’t notice until the car behind us honked. Then honked again.

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