There’s no shortage of pointers about how to make sure your marriage doesn’t turn stagnant after kids come along. Communicate often. Prioritize your partner. Make date night a regular occurrence. Don’t neglect sex. While these are all useful, research-backed pieces of advice for making a marriage feel healthy and fresh, they’re also a bit abstract. So, we decided to ask real couples: How do you keep it sexy-ish? That is, what do you and your partner do to stay close, connected, and, well, just into one another? For Derrico, 38, who lives in Oklahoma, a regular game of “Truth Or Dare No Consequences” helps he and his wife be open, honest, and try new things.
My wife and I played “Truth or Dare” within the first few weeks of meeting each other. At that point, we were just looking for ways to get each other naked or discover honest things about one another. Once we got married, she and I both realized that there were things we didn’t do anymore, and we didn’t really know why. One night, we said, let’s just play “Truth or Dare” again, except this time, let’s play with no consequences. If it’s “Truth,” we had a solemn promise that if we said something that either hurt or we hadn’t expected from that point, going forward, there would be no consequences.
It made a really safe space for the both of us to communicate. It actually made us increase our attraction to each other, too. The “Dare” portion is great because we’re able to explore things sexually that we may not have before. I think the funniest thing was when my wife dared me to go next door. I’m retired Navy — we lived on base for a long time— and she dared me to tell my neighbor, “Hey, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be screwing the hell out of my wife for the next 45 minutes — you might want to leave.” She just dared me to do that. I did. Even if I didn’t say it, I’m pretty sure he would have left anyway.
Another rule we have is to never turn down a truth or a dare. It increases that safe space. But our rule is that we can turn something down if we believe that it’ll hurt us after. So, it helps increase the level of trust between the two of us. When we do think we’ll turn something down, we provide alternate options. We want to give each other as many open doors as we can get.
It’s the most fun version of maintenance conversations we can possibly have. I would equate it to a guy working on his truck and drinking a few beers while he’s doing it. You have to do it, you love doing it, and it’s fun, too.
What I’ve learned is that my wife won’t give herself to me mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically if she doesn’t trust me. When we broke down this wall, by playing this game, that freed her up. There are a lot of things that make it easy for women to be stifled in their marriage. Trust is definitely one of them. It’s a stealth assassin. You may not even know that you’ve lost it, but you’ll eventually wind up seeing it when it’s too late.
The game made us realize how much we trusted each other. With the game, there was no condemnation, and we could really get into it. Also, these days, although we still play the game, we don’t necessarily need to say the words, “Truth or Dare, no consequences,” to speak the truth. We have just started having these moments of transparency with one another.
The game opened the floodgates in a really good way. I prefer the truth part of the game over the dare part; it lends itself to a lot of dares. The truth part is the exploratory and research portion of the game. That’s where you can suss out all of the things that your spouse will or will not do. Right then and there you can get every dare you can think of out of that one truth. I think my wife enjoys the dare portion more, as long as she’s the one that’s doing the daring. She likes to think of a lot of strange things to make me do — and the fact that I will do them no questions asked and very rarely do I ask for an alternate — I think that’s quite a turn on for her.
Our sex life is just so much more important and valuable. It’s not just a release of tension, or something that we’re just doing. It’s something that we value as a tool. What my wife and I have learned in 16 years is that you definitely want to shake up your marriage in the best way possible: be it sexually, emotionally, mentally. We try not to be complacent because complacency is death to a marriage. We love switching things up as often as we can.