Are you the gatekeeper of sex in your marriage?
Many women slip into this role by assuming that the guy wants it all the time, while she only wants it some of the time—so she ends up deciding when the time is right. After a while, he becomes hurt and angry, she gets resentful, and the negativity builds until no one feels much like doing it at all.
At least that’s what happened to Caroline Evans, until she improvised a gift for her husband’s 40th birthday that not only revitalized their sex life; but their entire marriage. She writes about this relationship renewal in her book, “Forty Beads -The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage.”
Evans’ 40 beads method is as simple as it’s billed. A woman (or the lower libido partner, but for the sake of this article, let’s say the woman) presents her husband with 40 beads (any kind will do) to be used like this:
1. He puts a bead in a bowl on her bedside table to indicate his desire.
2. She honors the bead by having sex with him within 24 hours.
There’s a little more to it, like the wife can give her husband a “nudge” card, and the husband agrees not to become an incessant beader, but basically the 40 beads method puts the guy in the driver’s seat when it comes to nookie—and assures him there’s plenty of action coming his way.
Most of the men I talked to loved the idea, but the women weren’t so sure. They don’t necessarily trust their husbands with all the control over all those encounters.
“My husband would put all 40 beads in my bowl the first night!” exclaimed one North Shore woman.
But Evans says that men don’t abuse the arrangement. “Once they know there’s an abundance of sex in the relationship (40 beads is a lot!), they aren’t so desperate. The frequency goes up some, but not as much as you’d think.”
Exchanging beads for sex seems so transactional. What happens to the romance? According to Evans, it flourishes—right from the moment the woman presents the beads to her husband. Knowing that his wife has generously given him the thing he wants most, the husband tunes into her in a whole new way, treating her with appreciation and consideration and acting as his best self.
On a day they’ve been beaded, many women have found their mates cheerfully tackling household jobs they haven’t willingly taken on for years. Evans laughingly calls it “choreplay.”
But the real “beadafit” of the 40 beads method, says Evans, is “a loving, connected relationship with your husband.” Not to mention the sex rocks.
“Beading has absolutely changed how I feel about sex,” says Evans. “Sex gets better when you open yourself up to it. Saying yes (vs. no) is an expansive experience. Now I’m connected to my sexuality and sex has never been better.”
So, what does a couple do after the 40 beads have been used up? If it’s going well, Evans recommends recycling.