Married, Not Dead

A wedding ring shouldn't mean the end of a happy sex life—though it usually does.

"Shelley, I love that showerhead too. It was the best Christmas present you ever gave me, by the way. But you can't rely on it for intimacy. It just isn't healthy. Do you really want to be one of those women who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary but haven't had sex with their husband in 30 years? Sex begets sex. And cum all over the body is an excellent incentive for bathing, incidentally."

Carmichael might as well have poked me with a cattle prod. What she says is true. I have been in a monogamous relationship with my showerhead. It is not right. It is not a marriage.

This is when I hear myself say, a little too loudly, "I need it, Carmichael." People stare at me, but I can't stop myself. I've totally lost control. "You know what? You're right. I am going home and fucking J.P. tonight. Even if he is working late. Even if I am comatose when he gets home. Even if I don't remember how, and even if there are three kids in my bed."

Illustration by Hugh Syme

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Editor's note: This week, the Voice introduces our new sex columnists, Nora Shelley and Essie Carmichael, two married women raising kids, living in Brooklyn, and still hoping to get lucky—preferably with their husbands.

See also:
Married Sex in the City?
Open thread in Power Plays

Tune in: Interview with the authors


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There is spontaneous applause and a smattering of cheers from my fellow City Bakery diners. The cashier buys me a cookie. Carmichael takes me to 14th Street for some racy underpants. I am full of hope. I will ride that horse, even if it kills me. We ride home to Brooklyn on the F train, bound for glory.

Hey, wait. This isn't all about us. I mean, Carmichael and I have our issues, our secrets, our fantasies. Carmichael may want to fuck her butcher and I may want to seduce Tim who runs Tumbling Time, but you have your secrets too. Don't be shy. C'mon, we know all about you. We keep our ears open on the playground, at pickup and drop-off, at Music Together, at soccer, at Starbucks. There's nothing to be ashamed of. It's high time people understand we're married, not dead.

Write to the authors at married@villagevoice.com.

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