Once a week, Daily Intelligencer takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Married Woman Whose Dog Ruined Her Sex Life: Female, 41, freelance writer, San Rafael, California, straight, married.
8 a.m. I wake up at the same time as the Viking — nicknamed by a mutual friend for his height and heritage. We've taken the day off work with the plan to goof around town, a date of sorts. He gives me a tender kiss, longer than usual for a weekday morning. We discuss the day's itinerary: brunch, used furniture store, beach with the new puppy, barbecue dinner. Before getting up, we snuggle with the puppy, who's snuck into the bed and wormed her way between us in the night.
11:30 a.m. Walking back to the car from brunch, a guy who's nowhere near my type checks me out a little. I've made an effort to dress cuter than usual for Date Day — sundress, heels, dangly earrings. But still. I'm surprised. That hasn't happened in forever.
5 p.m. When we get back from the beach, the Viking asks if I want a ladyscaping, something he knows I love. I hesitate, then nod. He gets out his beard trimmer and gets to work. The puppy is fascinated by the electric buzz so we lock her out of the bedroom. Usually I get super turned on and push up against the trimmer as the Viking shears my seventies porn pelt down to nothing. Today I mostly worry he's going to nick me.
5:15 p.m. Finally, I feel a little tingle. Fully naked, I roll onto my stomach, the trim over. The Viking kneads and kisses my butt, then my back. We grope and make out a while, but it's forced and awkward. He massages my clit and sticks a finger inside me while I stroke him, but I'm not feeling it. I tell him I'm hungry, we should start dinner and pick this up later. We both know later could be days or weeks away.
5:45 p.m. Neither of us can remember the last time we had sex. Earlier in the year, the dog I brought to this relationship almost a decade ago spent several weeks sick with a mystery disease the vet couldn't cure. During those three months of worry, then grief, I wasn't a sexual being. I was just an anguished dog mom. Now that the new puppy's breathed some life back into the house, it feels like time to resurrect our sex life. If only it were that easy.
7:30 a.m. The Viking's downstairs in the shower, getting ready for work. I have an article due, but before I get up to work I decide to see if I can get myself off.
7:35 a.m. Now he's back in our bedroom, looking for a shirt to wear. I tell him I have my hand in my pants, which he knows means I'm horny, or at least trying to be. He drops the shirt in his hands and gets under the covers with me, looking eager. I like to masturbate next to him. It's always hotter with him kissing me or pinching my nipples. He never masturbates for me, though. Says he's too embarrassed.
7:37 a.m. Before he even touches me, I decide to quit. I'm bone dry and not interested in forcing the issue. I tell him as much. He has to leave for work anyway and doesn't seem bothered. I drift back to sleep with the puppy at the foot of the bed.
8:30 a.m. I wake up horny and decide to see things through. I think about the woman in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (English version), which we watched last night. She's not the type I usually fantasize about: too thin, flat-chested, cyberpunk, pierced. But I like how she takes what she wants, at the bar with the long-haired girl in the mini, and back in the research shack with Daniel Craig. I used to be like that with the Viking, and with the strapping young lads I knew before him.
8:45 a.m. Just as I start to come, the puppy pounces on my chest. I laugh and push her off the bed. I suspect my sex life is more stagnant than that of my fortysomething friends with preschoolers. I finish finishing and get up to feed the puppy.
4 p.m. Aside from playing hooky with the Viking the other day, I've been working too much lately. Today I'm wiped from getting up before dawn to make a deadline. I try to nap so I'm not a total zombie when the Viking gets home but fail miserably.
7 p.m. The Viking grills some salmon while I make a salad. We settle on to the couch for a little TiVo while we eat, which is fine by this zombie.
8 p.m. Between shows, I suggest a dinner-and-movie date for the coming weekend, just us two. This makes the Viking happy. "Do I have to pay?" he teases. "More important, are you going to put out?" I assure him no, and yes. I like that we still flirt even though sex has been on the wane this year.
11 p.m. I come upstairs after falling asleep on the couch, dead to the world. The Viking's already passed out in our bed. Fall is coming and it's cold. I press myself against his back for warmth.
8 a.m. The Viking's already left for work and I'm struggling to get up. Rather than start in on the business profiles I have to write, I start in on an imaginary three-way with Jack White and backup singer Ruby Amanfu. It doesn't take long before I've made a hot mess of the sheets.
7:30 p.m. I'm in the basement doorway, putting the harness on the puppy. The Viking looks up from his computer and says he wants to walk with us. I make a stupid frat house joke about how can only join us if he'll do me on the hot tub first.
7:31 p.m. The Viking is out the door in a flash, lifting me onto the covered hot tub. I'm shocked. The Viking hasn't lifted me onto anything in ages.
7:32 p.m. We kiss like awkward teenagers. He takes off my sneakers, my yoga pants, and my underwear and goes down on me. I can't stop giggling or thinking about the work I'm behind on, the puppy who's now tangled in her leash, the neighbors talking on the other side of the cedar fence. Eventually something clicks and I succumb, kissing him deeply, stroking him, wanting badly to be fucked.
7:55 p.m. Sex is not going to happen. The Viking looks like something's wrong. I ask him what. He says he doesn't think I want to do this. I tell him I wasn't sure at first, since it's been hard getting sexually comfortable with him again after so many platonic months, but now I do want to do this, really. Is he sure he isn't projecting? I ask. He admits that it's hard for him to get comfortable, too, and yes, maybe we should stop.
8:05 p.m. I leave to walk the puppy. The Viking stays behind, looking as dejected as I feel. At the park, I wonder if what's sexually broken can be fixed. At least we're trying, I think, hoping I'm not kidding myself.
9:15 p.m. Back home. The Viking has his "I'm sorry" face on. I tell him not to feel bad, it's both of us, we have to work at it, we'll fix it. I tell him I love him and he knows I mean it. He tells me the same.
8 a.m. Saturday morning. The Viking and I snuggle in bed a while before inviting up the puppy for family wrestle time. It feels like progress.
2 p.m. A friend comes over to help us stain the deck, or rather, to help the Viking while I attempt to catch up on deadlines. It's hot out and the guys have their shirts off. I walk out back on a work break and tease the Viking about all the stain he's getting on his chest and belly. He chases me with the brush and paints my arm brown.
9 p.m. The friend is still here, watching bad action movies with the Viking. Aside from the dinner we grilled, I've been writing all evening. I have a sore back, so I get in the hot tub. I stay in too long, wishing I were alone with the Viking.
10 p.m. Feeling like Jell-O from the tub, I slink off bed early. The friend is still over.
11:30 p.m. I wake up to find the Viking next to me. He says he's wide awake, which he never says. That's usually my line. Normally he just reads himself to sleep. I wonder if he's trying to drop a hint. But I can't even lift a limb and quickly fall back asleep.
9 a.m. The Viking is already up when I wake. I shower, put on a pair of cute panties, and find him lying on the couch, watching football. I get under the blanket with him and press myself against him. He's in his underwear and warm. We snuggle like that a while.
1 p.m. We're supposed to have our dinner-and-a-movie date later, but I'm still behind on work so we postpone. The Viking heads out to Home Depot and I trudge back into my office.
3 p.m. The Viking is still out. I'm stuck on a difficult story and need a change of scenery. I climb into bed and reach into my pants. This time I'm with Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, only he's tan and shirtless and wearing Jim Morrison pants. Like much of the sex I have in my head, he has me against the wall, sucking my nipples, then my clit. Jon undoes his leather pants and plows into me. I come powerfully.
3 a.m. I get up to let out the puppy, who's whining in the hallway. Instead of going back to bed, I stay up till dawn writing. After two years of living together, the Viking is used to waking up to find my side of the bed empty.
7 a.m. I crawl back into bed. The Viking has the day off. He wraps himself around me from behind, his arms squeezing me tight. It's the coziest I've felt in I don't remember when.
7:10 a.m. I rub his penis and scratch his balls lightly through his underwear. It isn't long before I am sucking him off while gently riding his thigh. He squeezes my breasts and begins to buck, coming quickly.
7:17 a.m. Back to spooning. Before he falls back asleep, I grind into his crotch. He takes off my underwear and reaches gently for my clit — almost too gently. I squirt as soon as he touches me. His fingers feel big yet soft. I press myself into his palm and moan up a storm. The puppy jumps on the bed, squeaking her squeaky toy. Undeterred, the Viking and I soldier on like it's the most natural thing in the world.
7:40 a.m. Sticky and sweaty, I finally come. The room smells like funk. I drift back to sleep, convinced I'm the luckiest girl in the 'burbs.
TOTALS: Five orgasms; two acts of oral sex; one mutual groping session; one act of manual penetration; three masturbation sessions; one ladyscaping.