During my 41st birthday celebration with close friends, friends who knew me through my teen, tried and tested years, one asked me casually how do we rekindle passion. At the time, I thought…one of those questions we all ask but never answer and left it at that. But suddenly, in the middle of the night, the nagging curiosity got the better of the writer in me. I began to realize that all of us should be asking ourselves this question. No matter how happy, how troubled, how satisfied, how contented. Remember the saying - content breeds contempt.
There is nothing that is going to be X-rated here. Discussion of what goes on between a man and wife is, after all, haram. However, I felt the topic merited attention because, in the course of daily turmoil … some things like affairs of the heart and passion just get pushed back, ignored, put off. And suddenly, 3 months later, you wonder, what happened?
Okay, I have justified to myself why I should write this piece. Even thinking about passion brings guilt to mind. Liberated woman – hosh posh. Our culture and upbringing still continue to play its vital role of shaping my values after all that reading, traveling, living. As some of you put it, after five girls, Ninot. Five girls!
Let’s start with le boudoir. What is romance without a little French. Anyway, I am simply referring to the enclave, your romantic and naughty area - the bedroom. Is this where it all starts…or restarts?
Hell no…did you fall in love with your current beau in the bedroom? Of course you did not. Your first moment could have been at the movies, on a sailing boat, registering for that Economics 101 or Calculus 100 class, etcetera. For me, as some of you know, it was at the volleyball field. Why that moment changed your life forever? Who knows. But it did.
Love swept your raging hormones (this is how my number one puts it when she has a crush…blame it on the raging hormones).
Anyway, you can’t just walk into your bedroom after a hard day’s work…at home or at the office and expect to enjoy a night of torrential d’amour. We deserve better. But we have to work a bit at it. Build the mood. Do something different. Please don’t only use that expensive J’adore or Chanel No 5 to the office or special occasions. I remember how devastated I was when my certain favourite scent of the 1990s was discontinued, Shiseido’s Fragrance Du Bois, something like that…when I had it, I need not even be there for Rudi to think of me. All I had to do was leave a scent on a card, at the door, on the bed when I am working late, on his car keys…he’d be ringing all day.
I love to read. I pour over Frank Herbert, Tanith Lee, Dan Brown, Leo Tolstoy, Charlotte Bronte, Stephen Covey, the works. A current sample of my bedtime reading today would include John Grisham, Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie. Yet, once a while, I would read something like, How to Make Love to Your Man (bought at MPH, mind you) and browse through the RM 200 EROS I ordered through The Good Book Guide from London or 22 Tales of Erotism and Mysteries. Just for fun.
Pamper yourself. It doesn’t take much. My grandmother’s recipe for the ultimate bath still works wonders for me. Mandi Serum – Boil leaves of serai wangi, pandan, lengkuas, jambu batu and squeeze 7 limau nipis into the concoction and have the most refreshing hot bath ever. I have all the above in my small garden, wherever I am.
Never let too much time go by. We ladies can get by without the physical attachment for sufficiently long periods. We can dream, fantasize etcetera. Not men. Passion, sex, making love, whatever it’s called, is a physical need that has to be relieved for them. If your doctor tells you your pregnancy is problem free, have fun til the very end. It also speeds up the baby’s arrival. Trust me on this.
And then, exercise. Not necessarily to get in shape. Just to feel good about yourself. To feel positive. There are hormones that comes with exercising that simply encourage you in this direction. Help you feel sexier.
What I love the most is giving each other a good rubdown or massage. Simple massages – the soles. The shoulders. The back of the neck. Seemingly so innocent.
Most of all, talk to your other half about everyday things. The bills, Mahathir’s tiff with Pak Lah, the budget, whatever. Then talk casually about what you’d like to do for each other, to each other two days before you actually do anything. Think about it. Dream about it. Make sure when you tell him you miss him, he is fully aware of what you miss. It takes a little bit of courage. Try it. Even SMS it.
By the way, most of the things I have suggested here are things we do for ourselves. Not for our partner. For when we love ourselves, treat ourselves right, feel good, that’s when we can make things happen.
Going back to culture and upbringing, I think we should not hide away from discussions on sex with our daughters. When mine were very, very young and asked me about where babies came from, I told the girls that a baby was one of the nicest wedding presents from Allah. Today, when they ask me about ‘what you do in the middle of the night’ or ‘what you do to get a baby’, I tell them Daddy and I enjoy one of the loveliest gift Allah bestowed a husband and wife. And they go...EEE! And pretend to close their ears. Then I tell them what my mother told me… be sure to be married first. So many wrong things can happen. The wrong guy…no matter how nice they are. He could be wrong for you. Aids. Unwanted babies you can’t take care of. Broken dreams. Missing out on college. Not to forget the burden of dosa. Marriage comes with all sorts of commitments.