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Few Thoughts for our Anniversary

Updated: Oct 3, 2023



A Few Thoughts for our Anniversary.


Tomorrow will be the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day Paula and I were married.

On one hand that seems a rather inconsequential time frame, yet in the lifespan of a human it makes up virtually all of the prime years of a person’s life.


She was 25 and I was 24 so we were not particularly young as new couples go; but we were in the prime of our lives. And, we had a lot of sex and we did it pretty much anywhere we felt like it. We used to laugh at how we were not going to be a normal couple but would keep having hot sex long after other couples had given it up. We decided before we had kids that our children would know full well Mom and Dad loved each other and showed it with our bodies. Even more, we decided when we were grandparents our grandkids would know it too.


Those who have kept up with the postings of Our Decades of Open Marriage know that Paula and I largely lived up to our pledge. We most certainly were not the typical Southern parents (southern as in the USA, not France) of teenagers who act as if sex itself was something to be avoided. And as we moved through our fifties, we continued to be quite active and rather open about it all.

In ages past, there was a certain level of fatalism where people simply knew life would throw things at them that they did not want; yet, in today’s youth/fitness-oriented culture we have a collective belief that it is normal to simply defy age & illness. In popular media, when we see our screen stars aging, they seem to defy the fact they are 60 & 70 years old and live active vigorous lives.


Paula is totally obsessed with Tom Selleck and has been since she was a huge fan of Magnum P.I. back in the early 1980s’. Now she’s watching season 13 (or is it 14) of Blue Bloods. Her hunky hero is now nearly 80, yet still (in the show) appears just as fit and sexy as he was all those years ago. That defiance of age in those we see on television and in movies tends to be the norm till… well until they simply disappear.


BUT… as everyone finds out as they move through life, the simple desire to have life on your own terms does not make it so.


Right at a year ago, Paula began to feel a pulling sensation in her neck.


Well… let’s go back another year…or two to the beginning of Covid.


None of us predicted the pandemic and the effect it would have on our sex lives. As I’ve written about before, from the very first year of our marriage Paula and I knew that while we were so well matched in so many ways, our sexual desires were not. The fact we did not have sex till after we were married meant we did not know that until after we’d set up our own house. I wanted snuggling and romantic low-keyed sex and she wanted hard… eyeball-rolling… fucking. And she wanted a lot more of it than I could possibly give her… and she had not predicted that her physical response to other men (and women) would grow stronger, not weaker as she learned what her body wanted and how to get it.


Not that I have ever regretted marrying her, but it presented challenges. Within a couple of years, even as I was still preparing to start my work as an evangelical minister, we began to talk about her taking lovers so as to have her sexual needs met. For over thirty years she has had many, many (certainly more than 100) sexual playmates and it has worked well for us. There were bumps on the road and times when we were monogamous (like the year after her father passed); but, the expectation was always that our sex life would be supplemented with people from the outside.

Long ago, I began to teach that open marriage is not that the couple has sex outside of their marriage… but that they can do so without fear of damaging the relationship with their spouse. This approach was what worked for us. In this,


Covid put a stop to actually going out and meeting other people. In a local lull of the pandemic, we got out of the house to go to a Halloween party at a sex-friendly nudist resort. We were so impressed, that at the end of the summer before last we paid $1,800 for a year-long membership. Though she’d just turned 60, we were all ready to start meeting new people and returning to the pattern that works so well for us, i.e. she would have lovers to maintain her libido and I would benefit from her happiness and the “spill-over” sex.


Then came the pains in her neck. Over a period of a few weeks, her neck began spasms and twitches that were so severe it left her housebound, and often bedbound. For months we sought medical care and simply got no results, even as she began losing weight and spending most days in bed. After her first hospitalization, we finally were referred to see a highly regarded doctor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. By then she’d lost 1/3 of her body weight and I was getting truly worried.


The doctor had a firm diagnosis; but we were told that there simply was no cure, only ways to manage the rare disease. At 61 years old, she was much younger than others he’d seen with this condition, but we started on a regime to mitigate the effects. The hard truth was (barring a miracle) that our life as we’d known it, was over. We would not spend our 60’s at nudist/swinger resorts meeting (and fucking) new and interesting people. We would not be that couple we had said we wanted to be.


It took some time (and another hospitalization) before we finally fully accepted that fact. She can’t drive, and we rarely go anywhere. She’s had to largely stop babysitting our grandson and she only is up to visiting her 95-year-old mother once every week or two, and even then someone has to drive her. Rather than the active seniors we’d aspired to be, she is in many respects an invalid and I am her caregiver. It has been a hard transition.


Saturday, was a big deal because she felt up to going out to Waffle House for lunch; however, even before the food arrived, I could tell she was in pain. So, our anniversary celebration plans are “tentative.” If she’s up to it we will go to someplace nice for dinner, but given the fact she woke up last night in pain with her neck twisted around, I don’t expect that to happen.

We now have come to accept the new reality. We haven’t had sex in over a year now, and it is likely we never will again. That is just how life works. There is no reason for anger or bitterness. We are grateful for the active years we had. I am sure that my collection of photos and the stories of our past ‘adventures’ will grow in importance to us as the years go on. But, my own words come back to me: open marriage isn’t about having sex outside of our marriage, it is about giving each other the freedom to do so.


We will continue to be grateful for every day we have together… and that is what makes a great marriage.



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