y husband and I have been stuck together almost 24/7 since March 15. Me trying to work and keep our household humming. Him trying to find a job and homeschool three children. Naturally, our twice weekly romp has dropped to the bottom of our priority list during the COVID-19 pandemic. The stress. The worry. The fear we’ll run out of money.
Turns out anxiety and hand sanitizer don’t make great foreplay.
Instead of coming together, we were moving apart — even while I was sleeping. My nighttime dreams revolved around two things: 1. My husband, we’ll call him Ben, cheating. 2. Me consorting with other men, one of whom was Jason Bateman. Too much Ozark, perhaps?
When I wasn’t sleeping or Netflix-binging, I was trying to dream up daytime activities to keep my boys occupied outside of homeschool assignments. But when their Boys Life magazine arrived on a sunny day in April, it struck me that our luck might be changing. The issue included detailed instructions about how to create a paper fortune teller. Remember those little folded paper thingamajigs you stick your fingers inside and open and close to get your fortune? I instantly felt a heated pang of nostalgia.
“I remember making those with your aunt when I was a kid,” I said to the boys. “This is going to be so much fun.”
I turned and winked at my husband. “We can use one ourselves later.”
I knew Ben could sense my wheels spinning. I imagine he could see a twinkle in my eyes. Before I could process a plan, we were both making paper fortune tellers — one for each kid and one we could swipe for ourselves.
“You write down four activities and I’ll come up with the other four?” I asked.
While the boys were writing things like, “you’ll have to do 10 push-ups,” and “you’ll tell a knock-knock joke,” Ben had taken the paper wheel and transformed it into a sexual fantasyland.
Let’s just say I wasn’t surprised by his selections — they were activities we hadn’t done since the early days of our marriage. I’ll let you use your imagination. Me? I needed more time to consider the possibilities.
I played a few fortune games with the kids, made them a snack and thought long and hard about the options. After more than a decade together, my hubby and I had settled in to a consistent, almost rote intimacy routine: once or twice weekly sex beginning missionary style, passing through a seated position and climaxing with me on top — me first, then him.
This is an opportunity to mix things up, I thought, jotting down out-of-the box fortunes ranging from “a strip tease with cash” to “gentle head-to-toe kisses, no sex permitted.”
We put on a movie for our boys, locked our bedroom door, and the game was on.
The way the numbers played out, his fortune was a 69. Mine was traditional sex. What do you know, the paper fortune is forcing us out of our rut, I thought.
Ben knows sex of the oral variety isn’t my favorite thing, whether I’m giving or receiving. “We don’t have to,” he said gently. “Oh yeah we do,” I said. “Games have rules.” I headed south. He went north. Before long, 69 evolved into hot, sweaty intercourse.
Was the sex earth shattering? Not really. But it nudged us closer during a time when we were miles apart — and all because Boys’ Life Magazine showed up on our doorstep.
As for our paper fortune teller, it has earned a permanent spot on the bedside table. Between COVID-19-related stress, keeping the kitchen stocked, and meeting the near constant demands of three pint-sized humans, I suspect we may need it in the coming months.