This is one of those posts that I've put off writing for many, many months. It's a post which will garner a lot of discussion through comments and email, or very little. It's also one of those posts which may cause me to get into trouble with my husband. But hey, I'll take one for the team here.
It's a post about....
Well, sex and romance and intimacy, that is.
Nine days after SpouseBUZZ made its debut, I received this email:
I just wanted to say thank you for this blog site. This is the first time I've been able to talk to other women who understand what I'm feeling. I did have an idea for a topic however. I've been through a few deployments and I know the getting used to each other again is difficult, but sometimes the getting back to being intimate is a little rougher than someone would think. I've done some different romantic things for my husband and myself, but I would like to hear other wives comments about how they helped to make the transition easier. I'm not trying to make this a dirty or provocative thing but sometimes it's nice to hear some new ideas for things I could do. For example when my husband got back from his first deployment I had rented the honeymoon sweet we had on our wedding night. It gave us a sense of familiarity and it put that whole romantic spin back on things. I would be thrilled to see an article and some other women's comments on this subject matter.
And this happened a few weeks ago:
I know getting to know each other again (if you know what i mean) isn't the easiest thing in the world, especially when you have four children at home who haven't seen their daddy in six months either.
Throughout the months, we've continued to get email and questions along these lines, and clearly this is a topic of importance for milspouses. The SpouseBUZZ authors have had behind-the-scenes conversations about the value of this topic, and how to best approach it. We agreed it was a relevant topic considering, well, the obvious, but for the most part, we've stayed away from it. Sex and intimacy are deeply personal issues, and ones that each of us deal with differently. Our comfort zones are different, too. Given that, how do you tackle these subjects in a tasteful manner? Furthermore, there's always the possibility that the topic could get sidetracked and veer way off into some unintended territory.
There are many spouses, like the ladies above, who are seeking ideas and input from other wives who share this unique perspective. It's probably a safe bet to say that they also want to know they're not the only ones grappling with these issues. And they're not. How do you keep the flames burning? How do you make that sometimes-awkward period that happens during R&R and post-deployment a bit less awkward? How do you carve out couples time when there are children who want to cling to daddy when he returns? For purposes of this post, let's just stick to those topics and discuss how military life has an obvious impact on our intimate, physical relationships by virtue of frequent separations and homecomings.
I miss my husband in more ways than one. And I am completely willing to admit that I am hitting my sexual prime just as he is gone for extended periods of time. And that is bad.But I figure I know what it must be like to be inside the mind of an 18-year-old boy. My goodness, how do they ever getting anything accomplished? I haven't a clue.
Guard Wife had one of the funniest lines I've ever heard at the SpouseBUZZ LIVE event at Ft. Bragg. She talked about that awkward period when her husband redeployed and how she and her husband hemmed and hawed and talked about everything under the sun except what was really on both of their minds. Finally, she looked at her husband and said, "Let's just do it and then we can talk." Her line brought the house down. Everyone in the room fully understood what she meant, because so many of us have been there and, pun intended, "done that."
So, on the negative side, one word - deprivation. I think this t-shirt says it best:
On the positive side, we get second and third and fourth and fifth honeymoons. By my count, given TDYs and deployments, I've had six honeymoons. One milspouse author (trying to recall who it was) referred to post-deployment sex as "second honeymoon sex."
How do you keep intimate relationships alive across thousands of miles, long absences and war zones? Have you experienced that awkward phase mentioned above, or do you find it easy to fall back into a comfortable physical relationship with your spouse? I suspect the answers are as different and unique as each of us. But I also suspect that many of you, if past email and conversations are any indication, are very interested in this topic. Snarky (Sly - that means you) and serious comments are welcome. Considering the nature of the post, feel free to leave anonymous comments. Just please keep them on message....
So there you have it, the elephant in the room has finally been acknowledged. I suppose I'm punting here. I'm not offering anything, just laying out the topic for discussion.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go downstairs and explain to my better half how our readers have been clamoring for a post about this topic for months and how I really have to respect these requests and how I managed to write about sex without really writing about sex. Well, not in a brazen fashion, at least. I think he'll be proud of me. For being a wimp, that is....