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The 30-Day Sex Container: A Deep Dive into Sexual Intimacy
A story of how claiming our desires through 30 days of sex helped to break down walls and build trust in our relationship.
This is the first of a multi-part series on how we’re intentionally choosing to focus on our sex life to heal wounds and transform intimacy in our relationship.
Part 1 — The 30-Day Sex Container: A Deep Dive into Sexual Intimacy
“I want a chapter of our life before kids where we focus on our sex life,” I said to my wife.
We both felt excited about having little ones — especially imagining their adorable mixed raced faces! — and knew that this would be the year that we embarked on the journey toward parenthood.
But the more we talked about when to remove the birth control device, the more I realized that a part of me felt deeply afraid that our sex life would suffer after kids.
So many couples have shared this narrative: her energy levels would be lower. Her sex drive might be different. Her body would change after pregnancy. And once we actually had kids, we’d have less time, space, and energy to ourselves.
In the past, we’d both expressed dreams of have a thriving sex life where we’d have sex every day — sometimes even multiple times per day — but we could never get through more than 3 to 4 days in a row before something fell apart.
We’d find ourselves in a situation where we’d both wanted sexual intimacy. But one of us would get triggered. Or some past trauma or wounding would get kicked up. Or I’d feel collapsed after receiving a strong reaction for being mis-attuned.
And we’d end up feeling more disconnected than before.
Sometimes we’d even be afraid to have sex — for fear that some rupture might happen.
It was only 4 years ago that I’d left a sexless marriage, a 17-year-long relationship — and I worried about my second marriage having an unfulfilled sex life too.
I didn’t want to be yet another couple whose sex life atrophied only because we were afraid to confront the difficult emotions and conversations that surrounded sex.
I wanted more in our sex life.
I’ll be honest. Actually asking my wife for a chapter of our relationship focused on sex scared the shit out of me.
I knew a part of her would be furious and disappointed — she’d been excited and yearning to be a mother for so long, and I’d be asking her to delay her dream even further.
I felt the pressure of her biological clock — and was afraid that delaying too long might jeopardize our ability to have children.
I felt the fear of making a deeply vulnerable ask and being rejected for something that might be judged as outrageous — I’d never heard of any other couples doing this.
And asking also touched on a core question of worthiness within me — did I even deserve to have a chapter of life focused explicitly on sex?
One day, I collapsed into fetal position on our living room couch, sobbing from the weight and helplessness of it all.
And yet, I knew that it was something my soul needed to do.
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Making a Courageous Ask to Get My Needs Met
It took a big and healthy dose of courage to initiate a series of heart talks with her, where I shared my desire for a chapter focused on sex.
I knew, of course, that our sex life would change after having a baby. But I also wanted to trust our ability to create a thriving sex life for ourselves given any of life’s constraints.
And that meant I needed to trust in our capacity to move through all the blocks that got in the way when we did have the time and desire for sex.
I needed to trust that we could hold ourselves and each other in our emotional triggers — rather than eject or push each other way.
I needed to trust that when I felt rejected, that rather than collapse into the stance of a wounded boy who’d done something wrong, that I could recover.
I needed to trust that we were willing to iron out any major kinks in our sexual intimacy before we had kids — so that when we did have kids, I’d be confident that we could create the sex life we wanted.
From that determination to face the hard things, the idea of a “30-day sex container” was born.
For 30 days, we’d commit to confronting blocks to sexual intimacy to heal the ways we were pushing each other way subconsciously.
Every day, we’d commit to carving out time for a sexual encounter and ask ourselves “What’s holding us back from sexual intimacy?”
Whatever blocks arose — pain, triggers, traumas, insecurities, collapses, or pressurization — we’d commit to bring them into our lovemaking. Fear, anger, sadness, and any other emotions were all welcome.
We didn’t know if we’d actually make it to sex every day, but we certainly hoped for it.
We also didn’t realize it at the time — but it would take a very high level of awareness, courage, and mastery of all the modalities we’ve learned to navigate the experience.
Each day presented different challenges trying to throw us off track, and leaning into the commitment we’d made to each other carried us through.
Learn more about the modalities we’ve used that support us in our journey of navigating deeply intimate experiences.
Sexual Intimacy — A Core Part of Any Thriving Relationship
Sexual intimacy isn’t talked about enough, let alone written about. It’s worked out in the darkness of the bedroom, frequently without support. It’s often shrouded by shadow and hidden by shame.
And shame, particularly sexual shame, is a powerful silencer.
In my first marriage, it took me over 16 years before I felt safe enough to open up about my sexless relationship to my best friend and ask for help — and by then I was already moving toward separation.
And yet, despite how hidden the experience is for most couples, we believe sexual intimacy is critical to the health of a thriving partnership. It needs to be talked about.
“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” says Esther Perel, well-known Belgian-American psychotherapist and author of Mating in Captivity. And when it comes to intimate partnerships, Perel adds, “If you fix the sex, the relationship transforms.“
The protective patterns and behaviors that show up in sex, show up in all other areas of life too.
If I’m afraid of being rejected or of doing something wrong in sex, I’m also second guessing myself in my business choices, how to spend my finances, or how to relate to other people.
If I’m afraid to own my sexual desires, I’m afraid to own and follow what I truly want for my career, my dreams for family, and how I want to be loved in relationships.
If some part of me worries about my sexual performance — afraid that somehow I’ll be loved or worth less if I’m not able to perform — that same part is subconsciously trying to earn love through status and accomplishment elsewhere in life.
Because of how deeply vulnerable sex is — we’re literally letting our partners see us naked in our patterns — our protective patterns show up more directly and intensely in the sexual arena.
This also means that from the perspective of our healing and transformation journeys, sex is a powerful leverage point.
If we can heal the patterns in the container of sex, we directly heal the patterns in the rest of our lives.
A Journey in Deeply Owning My Desire
I honestly didn’t expect Candace to be a yes when I proposed the idea of a 30-day sex container. It was a bold ask — the fear of rejection and the fear of a sexless marriage both weighed heavily on me.
It’s true that we’ve invested in sexual intimacy before — attending sacred sexuality trainings at ISTA, working with a tantra coach, and even recently attending a conscious kink retreat with the Light Dark Institute.
We’ve worked with coaches on limiting beliefs that have held us back from owning our desires and our needs, ones like “my needs are a burden” or “their pleasure is more important than mine.”
We’ve held each other in the tears and emotions that sometimes emerge unexpectedly during lovemaking.
But this would be the first time where we created a self-guided journey into the scary parts of ourselves that we didn’t want to look at, in a sexual context — especially with such a high level of intentionality and intensity.
It took several conversations for her to reach a yes. And even then, we both approached it with a mix of excitement and trepidation, with desire and fear.
In our relationship, we both wished I could initiate sexual interaction more often. And boldly take the lead in our business. And in other areas of life.
I wanted to feel the power and strength of being in my masculine energy, and she wanted to feel the safety and surrender of her feminine energy.
But one of the biggest blockers to our intimacy was this pattern:
When I predict a “no” or actually receive a “no”, I retract — afraid of being a “bad guy” who’s overstepping boundaries. This leads to hesitation.
When Candace senses pressure or expectation — that she might be obligated to have sex or be forced to override her own “no” — she fights for her “no” with anger to protect herself.
The anger creates collapse in my system, reinforcing the story that I’m overstepping.
Together, the two behaviors perpetuate a cycle where we push each other way and neither of us gets what we want.
Psychologically, I knew that my collapse was part of my own childhood wounding from wanting things as a child but having a well-intentioned and loving mom who’d say “no” sometimes a little too harshly. My young mind would perceive her “no” as a reprimand and a loss of love, and be afraid of pursuing what I wanted in future moments.
And so going into the 30-day sex container, I knew this would be a deep exploration of my relationship to desire:
How can I own and feel the fullness of my desire — independent of how my partner responds?
How can I continue to be curious and playful — even in the face of a “no”?
How do I stay grounded and move through any feelings of collapse when they happen?
The 30-day container would turn out to be a deep act of self-love for ourselves, one that would transform our relationship — not just sexually but in so many other ways.
We’d confront the patterns that held us back from the thriving sex life, love life, and the partnership as entrepreneurs that we knew was possible.
In upcoming posts, we’ll share more about Candace’s experience, how we designed our 30-day sex container, and how it’s radically transformed our relationship.
Thank you to Candace Sauvé for editing early drafts of this post.
Curious about how we designed and navigated our 30-day sex container? Join our Awakened Partnership to get the next installment in the series.