20 Years of Scheduled Sex? Go Ahead, Shoot Me

Carolyn Evans

Dear Carolyn,

My husband and I are experiencing some difficulty using the Forty Beads Method, and I can't figure out why. Perhaps you could shed some light.


Facts: We have participated in "scheduled sex" for over 20 years. Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. I can count on one hand the number of times I haven't "provided services" even if I'm sick, nine and a half months pregnant, or just don't want to. I have had to be the initiator 100 percent of the time, which I resent, and he resents never being the initiator or feeling spontaneous. The Forty Beads Method was suggested by our marriage counselor to cure each party’s disappointments. It sounded perfect and we attempted it several times, but failed miserably.


Some background: We have six children and I am busy. My husband does not help at home and has been retired for 25 years. I mention these facts because it's difficult for me to stop, drop, and roll for a quickie at the drop of a bead. And a major stumbling block for him was the possibility of having to wait up to 24 hours for sex.


I like sex and my husband can be a generous lover, but it takes me some time to get there, which is why I loved the idea of The Forty Beads Method. How can this serve us both if he demands it on the spot and therefore quickies become the staple because there's so much tugging at my skirt outside the bedroom?


I read every word of your book in two days. He bought it and hasn't read it. What would you recommend for my state of mind and heart? I really want some peace, appreciation, reciprocity, accommodation and also some understanding that my orgasm shouldn't be optional!


Thank you for your time and thoughts.



Hi Alice,

Where do I begin? Okay, I guess I get why your therapist suggested the Forty Beads Method. She was probably looking for a way to reset your sexual pattern that's been in place for the past 20 years. Seriously? I don't know how you've done that—either of you. Seems like the whole scheduled sex thing would’ve wrung all the passion and fun right out your sex life a long time ago. And clearly, that’s what is happening for you now.


Can I be honest? Sister, he sounds ridiculously selfish and spoiled to me. He's getting the lobster and the cracked crab—guaranteed. Of course he's not interested in The Forty Beads Method—using it would necessitate some effort on his part—some emotional connecting, some focusing on your needs, not just his own.


I'm afraid some bold action is called for on your part. I don’t know what it would take to reset your guy’s well-worn lackadaisical relationship habits, but suspending your “sure thing” status, at least for a while, would be a start. And when he holds his breath, stomps his feet and wants to know why? Tell him because it’s not working for you anymore. That’s a really good reason, by the way. And later, once he’s had a shift in perspective (fingers crossed!), try The Forty Beads Method again.