50 Shades of FIO

Dear husbands of every woman who reads this blog, you’re welcome.

BLOOMBERG_PHOTO_50_shades_of_grey_fifty_gray*280If you haven’t heard of it by now, I’m guessing your head has been in a hole for the past two years. The book trilogy 50 Shades of Grey has pretty much caused most women in my circle to take up camps: They love it or they hate it.

Full disclosure: I haven’t read it. I don’t have an objection to it. I just have this whole pile of books I really want to read and a girl has to have priorities.

The haters seem to have staked out what they view as a high moral ground. As they see it, erotica is bad, potentially sinful even, so they don’t want it in their lives. I don’t mock them. I get that they are trying to live their lives by “the rules” as they understand them to be.

This weekend, a friend told me her story that I think goes beyond prescribed rules. Her sex life with her husband was essentially non-existent. They were down to birthdays and anniversaries. It wasn’t good. They were both unhappy. She picked up the first book in the trilogy, mostly on a lark. It took her four days to read it. She and her husband had sex five times in those four days. He brought home the other two books immediately afterward. The first three weeks of January, they’ve been like newlyweds again. She’s a really big fan. So is he.

Her story reminded me of another woman I just know tangentially. She and her husband have two kids who have some medical problems. It’s manageable, but it takes its toll on her, on their lives and on their marriage. So a few years ago, they instituted the (F#%k It Out) FIO plan.

Things overwhelming with the medical bills? FIO. Stressed out by new doctors? FIO. Can’t remember the last time you wore makeup? FIO. Finally get some really good news about something other than sick kids? FIO. (By the way, every single man who has heard this plan thinks it’s BRILLIANT!)

They realized how easy it was to lose all connection with one another in the day-to-day grind of life. They couldn’t wait for candle-lit dinners or date nights or even a clean kitchen. They had to find a way to be connected in whatever way they could.

Which brings me back around to these books. Here’s my 2 cents: I think FIO is a really smart way to stay connected to your spouse. Sometimes, women need a little kick-start. Babies and 30-something/40-something weight and body changes are tough to accept. Letting go of the crazy in the house and kids to focus on a partner or your own body seems like a luxury, but really is a necessity. If reading a book gets you going to throw your husband down, honey, read the book. There are a lot of “shoulds” in this world, which is probably why you were down to 3-4 times a year anyway. Don’t add another layer of should in your life. Just FIO.

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