Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Spillproof Love

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There's something about the word "wife" that just doesn't inspire naughtiness. Instead it conjures up images of station wagons and oversized, flesh colored undergarments. And when "wife" becomes "mother," forgettaboutit. In the realm of domesticity, hotness seems to disappear. Married life becomes a one way ticket to Dullsville.

Don't get me wrong. I love not worrying about STD's, or heartbreak or heartbreaking. I love having my best friend there to share the thrill of growing a person, to catch me, to push me, to inspire me, to support me. I love spending Saturday afternoons together at swimming lessons, and Saturday nights at the video store, I really do. I even love the lazy familiarity of married sex, on those rare occasions when opportunity and libido converge on quiet Sunday afternoons.

But as much as I love this domestic bliss, it's about as hot as dirty underwear. And it's certainly not the naughtiness we started with.

Ten years ago, I picked up a guy from my local bar and took him home for a one night stand. Four years after that, he asked me to marry him, in the back seat of an old Cadillac. Classy? Not really. Naughty? Just enough.

We celebrated our engagement by taking off to Las Vegas. We were beautiful, young and unstoppable. By the end of the night we were at Club Paradise, and I was getting free lap dances from the strippers. I'll never forget the way my future husband looked at me that night; absolutely, positively, sure.

I rarely see that look anymore. What I see now are looks of expectations, of familiarity, of comfortable scrutiny. I see him differently now, too. Instead of a partner, I sometimes see him more as a giant, hairy, oversized toddler than a man; waddling with want, incapable of completing the smallest task without direction, and always hungry with need.

Ten years into things, I'm getting hungry too. I like the way my daughter's young swim instructor stands too close, without knowing it. I like his baby face skinny body that smells like chlorine, and nothing else. I like how he gets nervous when I sit with the kids at the edge of the pool. I like how he shivers. I want to make someone shiver. I want to be with someone who makes me feel hot, and wanted and unstoppable and un-wife-like. I want my boyfriend back, not a husband. I want an affair...with the sure boy I fell in love with so long ago.


Tonight we're celebrating our five year wedding anniversary. My dad has agreed to take our daughter for the evening. He has strict instructions not to bring her back until after 10:00pm. It's not quite the fantasy I had hoped for. I had hoped we would be in Vegas. I had hoped for a weekend of naughtiness, of drive through vow renewals, of drunk, dark fantasies. But domestic devotion wins again. At 2 ½, our daughter is no more ready to be left than she was as a newborn. And I'm not quite ready to traumatize her for the sake of naughtiness. Yet.

Earlier in the day I consoled myself with a trip to Victoria's Secret, the self proclaimed naughty headquarters of the world. While my daughter flirted with the saleswomen, most of whom looked like children themselves, I confessed my plans to surprise my husband with a burst of anniversary sexiness. They all thought it was a such a cute idea, at least until I discreetly asked, (after seeing the price of panties that are just going to come off) "got any crotchless?"

You would think I asked where their inflatable sheep section was or something. Their disapproving looks made me feel like a cheap whore of a mother. I tried to make up for it by buying too much and having my daughter say something cute and charming as we left, as if that would prove I was still a good mom.


I drop the baby off at my dad's, and get home with time to shower. I muster up the energy to even shave my armpits, which are well beyond European chic at this point. I put on my new black bra and garter, minus panties, and feel vindicated. It looks better panti-less anyway. Screw those nubile youngies with their tunnel vision, their mother whore complexes. Why shouldn't I have my cake and jump out of it too?

I think about the look on my husband's face, as he takes off my skirt. It makes the swim instructor seems like a child. A fop. I laugh at the thought.

We eat meat and chocolate under a canopy in our yard. There are no veggies. There is no fight about how many bites to have. We drink champagne, talk, tell stories, remember. I see him him eyeing the shirt I've unbuttoned more than usual. We check the clock.

Downstairs we play. I try to make our own little Vegas by stripping for him, but trip clumsily in my heels over toys that never got put away. I giggle, and head upstairs for more wine. As I brush past my husband, he spins me and kisses me hard. "You're my wife," he whispers. "My wife."

I melt under the weight of those words. He pulls me down, right there, on the stairs I carry laundry up, in the house we've made a home. My dual roles are suddenly irresistibly hot. I tackle him, knocking over his abandoned glass of wine. For a moment, we freeze. I fight off the urge to gather my force of cleansers, and opt instead, for him.

"It's ok," I whisper, as he takes me, "it's spillproof."

Heidi Raykeil is the author of the books Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting it on Again (Collins, 2009) and Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido (Seal Press 2006). She is a contributor to Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth and to several anthologies, including Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding (Harvard Common Press, 2009) and Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined (Seal Press 2006). Her writing has also been featured in Parenting Magazine, Redbook, and online at Heidi lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters.

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