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The Married Woman Contemplating Sperm Donors

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New York’s Sex Diaries series asks anonymous city dwellers to record a week in their sex lives — with comic, tragic, often sexy, and always revealing results. This week, a 37-year-old married small-business owner wanting to feel more wanted: 37, married, straight, Fort Greene.

DAY ONE

9 a.m. I’m getting dressed and my husband, John, rushes into the room to kiss me good-bye. We’ve been together for six years, married for two. The first couple of years together we had sex almost every day; now, it’s slowed down to maybe once or twice a week. He tries to get away with a quick kiss, but since I’m in my bra and panties, I rub up on him a bit. He promises to give me “a spanking later.” Spanking? That’s new, but I’m down.

Alas, I have a feeling it won’t happen tonight. The second half of the week we have our kids (mine from my first marriage), and we tend not get too sexy when they’re home.

1 p.m. Listening to podcasts about sperm donors. A few months ago we got a definitive diagnosis that John is sterile, though our doctors can’t explain why. It’s heartbreaking. Since we first started dating, he’s expressed a desire to have his own biological children. I’ve had reservations — my oldest just turned 16, and I always imagined that since I spent my entire 20s as a mom, I’d focus more on my career on my 40s. At the same time, I want John to experience the joy of raising a child from birth. We’re both not sure how we feel about sperm donation, so I’m trying to listen to other people’s experiences, hoping it sparks something inside of me.

10:30 p.m. There’s no spanking, but John tells me that he donated money to Planned Parenthood in honor of Donald Trump. Now THAT is a turn-on. Still, we curl up and fall asleep together instead of having sex. We’re both self-employed and lately business has been good but exhausting. I think about how much energy a new baby would take and wonder if I have it in me.

DAY TWO

11 a.m. I’m thinking about how much affirmation I got from my ex-husband. He made me feel like a goddess and wanted me every night. Unfortunately, he liked spreading his game around — that’s the thing about men with a lot of “game.” John has no game, and sometimes his goofiness drives me nuts. We met after working together on a video shoot, and what attracted me to him most (besides his amazing ass) was that he was the polar opposite of my ex. Now, at times, I wish he would be just a more cocky.

6 p.m. A year ago, around the time we realized we had fertility problems, a stray cat abandoned five kittens under our house. John climbed under the house to rescue them, and we bottle-fed them until three were old enough to be adopted. The other two have turned us into weird cat people. Now, as I clean their litter boxes, I couldn’t feel LESS sexy. I need to reconnect with my femininity.

11 p.m. Since it’s a Saturday night, my son sleeps in our room on a camping mattress. He’s almost 12, but he loves staying in our room on the weekends. We think of my kids as “ours” after six years together, and I love that we all finally feel like a family. My divorce was the darkest time in my life, and John helped me find the light. He’s an amazing stepdad and role model for my kids. Though it puts a damper on our sex life, I let our son stay in our room whenever he wants.

DAY THREE

1 p.m. I ask John if he’s had any more thoughts about using a sperm donor. The anxiety of us not being sure what to do really gets to me, but John never gets worked up about anything, even whether we should have a baby. This time is no different — he won’t say much, then leaves the room.

For my part, I feel completely split. When I held my sister’s newborn daughter in my arms five months ago, I cried tears of joy but also of mourning. Now, hearing her lament the life of a new mother, I find myself happy to have it all behind me. Could I really start over again? One night last winter my teenage daughter woke up with a high fever and needed me to take care of her — I was horrified at how unsympathetic I was at 3 a.m. What would nursing through the night be like in my late 30s versus my early 20s? I hate admitting it, but knowing we would have to use a donor did complicate things for me. Before we found out about John’s sterility, there was no question that John and I would have our “own” child.

5 p.m. Sunday night is usually date night for us — the kids go to their dad’s until Wednesday. Getting ready for dinner, I decide to actually dress like a girl for once and wear lingerie under a dress. I used to own a lingerie shop and have quite the collection. John doesn’t really care for lingerie, though. It’s not that he doesn’t like it – he’d just prefer me in a T-shirt with no bra. When I wear fancy underthings, it’s truly just for me.

8:30 p.m. “How about we play babysitter?” I say. He makes a face. After a little more back and forth, we decide we’re overdoing it. I leave the room, leave everything on but my underwear, and pretend to be asleep. A few minutes later we’re having dirty sex. Afterward, we’re lying next to each other, satisfied, and I wonder why we don’t do this more often. Sex with John is always good. We have that thing where two bodies just fit together well. In the past I worried that we would get bored, but I’d rather have routine sex with John for the rest of my life than discover a series of new lovers.

DAY FOUR

2 p.m. I find myself replaying the night before in my mind. In my first marriage, we weren’t quite as content, sexually — and our for sexual exploration led to a failed experiment with an open marriage. I would never risk real love for a thrill again. I want what John and I have … just more. Suddenly I feel a little shy. Does John think about me as much as I think about him?

I send him a text telling him how good last night felt, and he sends back a winky face.

10:30 p.m. I have to work tomorrow so decide to turn in, thinking John will follow. After a few minutes I’m still alone in the bed — I FaceTime him instead of getting up. He’s at his desk and has such a genuine smile on his face when we connect that I can’t help but smile back. We kiss the screen and I hang up. I fall asleep with the cat at my feet, hugging a pillow.

DAY FIVE

7:15 a.m. John comes in from the gym. I’m wearing jeans and a bra with lots of sexy straps because it just so happens to also be very supportive. He doesn’t notice, and instead we launch into an in-depth conversation about how our two cats slept.

11 a.m. Without fail, 11 a.m. is when I want sex. It’s as uncanny as it is inconvenient, but for as long as I can remember, I get spontaneously aroused around 11 a.m.!

6 p.m. Get home and kiss John. His whiskers prick my nose and I yell out, annoyed. I just want food and a big glass of wine.

8 p.m. Go watch The Bachelor with my sisters (I can’t help it). I’m so exhausted I decide that I’m 100 percent out on sex tonight.

10:45 p.m. I get home and John’s already in bed. He’s been going to the gym at six every morning, so he’s exhausted every night. I should feel appreciative — I’ve had a lot of friends complain to me that their husbands have grown beer bellies or “let themselves go.” I do this a lot: get down about an aspect of my marriage or even my husband himself and then quickly realize how good things are. Maybe not exciting, or spontaneous, or passionate … but truly GOOD.

11 p.m. I climb into bed and John asks me how the show was. I tell him to go to sleep and kiss him good night. He takes one of my icy-cold feet into his warm hand.

DAY SIX

6 a.m. I wake up from a long dream about a client confessing his attraction to me and us fooling around. There was a LOT of attention to my breasts. I’ve never found this guy attractive, and I feel a little weird about it, until I realized that the dream must have something to do with me wanting to feel desired. As I’ve gotten older, I have started to feel more and more invisible to the opposite sex. I remember going out ten years ago and feeling that I got too much attention. Now I feel that I’m barely noticed, sometimes even by my own husband. Yet at the same time, I feel completely secure in the fact that he’s only interested in me and me alone.

7 a.m. Like he read my mind, John tells me, “You look good, and everyone thinks so. I’m sure of it.” It’s not poetry, but I know what he means to say. I kiss him good-bye before heading out and notice how damn good that boy is looking. Suddenly I’m pro-gym.

11 a.m. Even though I feel a bit awkward around my client, the dream sparked something in me, and I’m having a little fun flirting today. And like clockwork, horny at 11. Honestly, is there a less convenient time to want sex? That’s what vacation is for — day sex! John and I need a vacation.

10:30 p.m. John and I climb into bed and he initiates sex for the first time in a while. At first I’m not feeling turned on, even when he goes down on me. We start having sex in the “spoon” position, and after a few moments, he gets really quiet and stops moving. “Are you okay?” I ask. “Yeah … I just finished.” We start laughing at his silent, still orgasm. Not that he’s ever that loud, but this is odd … like he just spaced out for a second. We laugh and kiss, and now I’m turned on, so I bust out my vibrator and he gently fingers me until I come. I try the silent thing, letting the orgasm roll over me instead of reaching for it. We kiss good night, and John falls asleep with one of our cats on his chest. I feel perfectly content in every way.

DAY SEVEN

7 a.m. Getting ready for work, I’m aware that I’m trying to look good. I guess if I’m being honest, I really do miss getting more attention from men. At the same time, I understand that we trade some things for others as we get older, and most of the time for the better, even if it’s painful.

7:30 a.m. John is home from the gym eating hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. Fact is, he’s looking really buff, and for a second I wonder if he might be going through his own period of self-doubt. Wouldn’t it make sense that his masculinity is a little bruised after finding out he’s sterile? I make sure I tell him how sexy I think he is and even kiss him, egg breath and all.

1 p.m. During crew lunch for the video shoot I’m working on, my two clients (who are 12 years younger than me) are talking about the new woman one of them started dating. I get a flash of longing — the rush of a new relationship is like nothing else. I’ll probably always long for what I don’t have just a little, and I forgive myself for it.

9 p.m. The kids, John, and I are all curled up on couches in our living room watching The Great British Baking Show. Big Ginge, our orange cat, sleeps on John’s chest and Beyoncé, his sister, is curled up on a radiator. Our son is lying on my lap and our daughter isn’t even on her phone. Whether or not John and I decide to use a donor and create a child together, I know that what we have now is pretty fantastic.

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The Married Woman Contemplating Sperm Donors