by John McGee
A couple of years ago, I was late to a meeting and rushing out of the house when my wife said, “I have some thoughts about our sex life.” Suddenly I wasn’t in such a rush! When I asked about her thoughts, she laughed as she said, ”Well, really it’s more about the towels. . .”
At this point, I had no idea what she was talking about—but she had lead with the subject of sex, so even though confused, I was still interested. Then she proceeded to remind me when I come out of the shower, I often leave my clothes and towels on the floor and she would later have to pick up. She explained that it felt very inconsiderate and that it made it hard for her to want to have sex with me.
Cue the scene where the husband looks completely dumbfounded—because I was. I asked, ”But can you see the towels when we have sex?” I was trying really hard to understand, how something she couldn’t see in the moment could possibly have something to do with our sex life.
We laughed at how differently we saw the situation and how something we couldn’t even see could be connected to having sex. Even though I don’t share the same concerns about towels on the floor, I assured her that I didn’t want to be inconsiderate or create work for her. In fact, every time I get out of the shower, I pick up my clothes, hang up my towel, and buff out the floor. (I am just kidding about one of those.)
The idea of towels and things being connected has become a helpful metaphor for us in our marriage. There are things in our marriage that aren’t actually about sex, but impact our sex life. For my wife, Pam, it is often the way I help or don’t help around the house, and the way I speak to her. For me, it is often around issues of attention and respect.
Every couple wants a better sex life. This often leads people to think that the answer lies in something new to wear or a new position to try. After working with countless couples, I’ve come to see that often it isn’t about those things. It is about the towels. It is the things in the relationships like trust, good will, and kind words that don’t seem to be connected on the surface but can have a huge impact, either positively or negatively, on your sex life. You can’t see them when you are having sex, but make no mistake they impact your intimacy.
If you are looking to improve your sex life, explain the metaphor of the towels to your spouse and ask them, “What are my towels?” Experience tells me it definitely a conversation worth having!