Three years ago I had sex every single day, for one whole year.
To answer the most popular questions I've been asked since: No, it was not with 365 men. It was with one, my husband. Yes, even while I was on my period. I have no idea what my kids were doing while we were having sex. I assume not watching us. And finally, no, I didn't do it to save my marriage. I did it to save myself, the effect it had on my marriage was merely a perk.
Shortly after having my third child, I remember getting out of the shower, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and wondering, 'Who let my mum in here?' From that point on, I didn't let myself be naked. I kept the lights off during sex, hid my stomach and boobs inside a camisole, and I waited for my husband to leave the bedroom before barreling from the shower to my closet to get dressed.
As the years went by, the absence of my naked body began to worry me. Did my husband, Andy, even know what I looked like naked anymore? Could he draw a nude picture of me that didn't also have a giant duvet over my body or a Spanx seam running vertically down my stomach?
I came up with the idea to have sex for a year after speaking with a friend who'd done just that, every night of her marriage.
'It's just something we do,' she said flatly. As routine as daylight, she and her husband had had sex every day since they'd gotten married, and they were one of the most loving, hilarious and strong couples I'd known.
Having sex every day for a year seemed obnoxious, but also an intriguing way to force myself into facing my body each day. I mean eventually, the covers would have to come off and the lights would have to stay on, right?
Andy, as expected, was on board. And for a whole year, save for being parted by travel or the stomach flu, we had sex with each other.
It started off rough. I'd be standing at the sink taking out my contacts when it'd hit me ... I still had to have sex before falling asleep. As a mum of three who works from home, the thought exhausted me. It wasn't that sex was a chore that I dreaded, but allotting time out of my day to do it felt impossible and selfish and draining. I just wanted to lay in bed and watch TV and eat cereal and not have anyone touch me.
But as the months passed, I started looking forward to it. Sex begat more sex, and those connected, loved up feelings began to creep outside of the bedroom — or in our case, the laundry room, the closet and our garage — and into our everyday lives. We were more romantic with each other, touching arms as we passed, kissing longer before work and not just the cold familiar peck. Our relationship was stronger and better when our intimacy was flourishing.
On a personal level, the changes in the way I saw my body were staggering. Three months in, I found myself enjoying sex again, making a playlist of songs that turned me on and was no longer hyper-aware of the sounds my curvy body was making: Like the way my thighs clapped together or my tummy smacked his.
Six months in, I took off the cami I'd hidden my body inside of, not caring that my boobs plopped off into my armpits. For the first time, I was more concerned with every part of sex that felt good than finding a flattering angle to hide my stomach or back fat. My body was being enjoyed by the both of us, equally.
A year in, I stopped wearing clothes entirely. At least, I assume that is what my kids would say. I stopped that primal run from the shower, and now lazily walked to the closet naked. I made school lunches in my underwear, and didn't reflexively pull away when Andy came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. My relationship with my husband, and my body, had changed in amazing ways.
Now, three years later, we're still having sex every single night.
Oh my God, I'm joking.
I totally don't have sex with my husband every day, not anymore. Not because we're sick of each other — although I'll admit, my pelvis and thighs welcomed the rest — but because we're humans, not robots. However, the effects and lessons from the experience are still apparent in our marriage even now.
First, we learned that it's hard and that's normal. The majority of people around you are not having sex every single day. They're busy being stressed at work, coordinating their kids' football schedules and paying bills. Fitting sex into all of that is difficult, but for us, it's necessary. Sex is what reminds us that we're intimate partners and not just roommates in charge of keeping kids alive.
Second, we learned the exact amount of sex life we need to keep us happy in our marriage, and we're able to adjust our lives around that.
I no longer freak out if two weeks pass and we forget to have sex, because we work to connect in other ways. Intimacy doesn't always mean penetration. Sometimes it's making out on the couch like teenagers. We all get to decide what turns us on. The point is, the effort to show love to each other is there.
Lastly, I learned that I am a better wife, a better mother and a better woman when I take the time to be secure in my relationship and selfish about feeling good about myself. I am not the best version of myself when I am insecure and panicky. I'm basically a walking vague relationship Facebook post.
I am so much more focused when worrying about my sex life is off the table. Or on the table, depending on if it's a school day and Andy calls off work. Okay, enough sex puns.
Having regular sex with my husband isn't making my marriage divorce-proof or immune to infidelity or angst, but it is helping me feel confident enough in my skin to survive it if it does happen.
I used to joke that I never wanted to have to be in a position to date again, because my body wasn't 'showroom ready.' While I naturally hope to stay married to Andy until the end of time, and should I die first, haunt him, I don't have that fear anymore, because my definition of desirable has changed.
It was never about anyone wanting me, it was about me wanting myself. And it only took an entire year of getting laid to figure that out.
Brittany Gibbons is the author of Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin ... Every Inch of It.