When my colleague looked over at me one dark October afternoon and said, "I've found a month-long sex challenge, I think you should do it," my instant response was, "Absolutely not, pal." Considering having sex is literally my job (well, no... Writing about sex is, but actually doing it kind of comes with the territory), I really didn't think I could do it every day for a month. I just can't be arsed.
Then, I made the mistake of mentioning it to my editor, with an, "I'll fail, FYI". "It's totally OK if you miss the odd day," she said, "it's more about the experience." Pretty generous of her, right? Little did she know, I'd fail way harder than either of us could have anticipated.
The 30 day sex challenge
The challenge originally went viral after being posted on Reddit.
The concept? Have sex every day for 30 days, but there's a set activity for each day. We [myself and my live-in partner of five-ish years, Joe*] were each allowed to change these before starting if there was something we weren't comfortable with. There wasn't. We both got two 'veto' days where we could skip the challenge and just have plain old sex. But, there was no definition of what this was.
The point of it all? To "push your comfort zone and try something new". Personally, I didn't feel my comfort zone needed pushing. I did hope making time to have sex every day would make us a little less lazy and ultimately, that we'd have a laugh.
Obviously I got Joe's consent, which consisted of me handing him a print out of the Reddit post, and him going, "fine". It's important to note that to me, 'sex' does not mean penis-in-vagina penetration. Sex is just whatever genital-based stuff I want to do on that given day. I did a bit of a rant about it here.
On with all the lovely sex!
Day 1 - Have sex at a time other than before bed
Determined not to screw up on the first day, I make sure we wake up at 7am (TWENTY precious minutes early) to squeeze 'the sex' in before work. "Let's get it out of the way early," I say. I know, irresistible. Since I'd just learned the answer to one of life's great mysteries, what the hell you're supposed to do with balls during sex, I go for a trust handy shandy. He comes and we shower. I'm thinking, "Hell yeah, I am so fucking good at sex! I'm going to ace this challenge!" PASS!
Day 2 - Try a new sex position
It's inconvenient this challenge falls on my weekly hair wash day. I have every intention of getting home from work, immediately eating dinner, doing my hair and then getting on with it. The reality: I fall asleep on the sofa at 10pm with wet hair and my hand stuffed inside a bag of chocolate buttons. FAIL!
Day 3 - Have sex twice in a day
We make up for yesterday’s absolute shitshow with Joe eating me out at 7am, followed by a sex position we call Old Trusty because it works like a charm, every damn time. It’s Friday and we spend the evening at home banging again and making veggie cheeseburgers. I'm so full I roll downstairs to read in bed, and fall asleep immediately. PASS!
Day 4 - Read erotica together before sex
It's Saturday and I'm working from home this morning. We then make breakfast and get back into bed. While we don't exactly read erotica together (I left my laptop upstairs, cba to move), we compromise by talking about the sex stuff we want to try before, y'know, doin' it. I'm counting that one as a PASS!
Day 5 - Shower sex
When I wake up, Joe's about to leave for an epic Dungeons and Dragons session. THIS MY LIFE PEOPLE. I know he’ll be gone for at least eight hours so I make do and log into my Frolic Me account - it's this awesome ethical porn site I’m obsessed with - and masturbate in the shower using my favourite clit vibrator. Also a PASS! in my book.
Day 6 - Full body massage before sex
What human being has time for a damn massage AND sex before work? I can't do this tonight as my best pal's visiting from Switzerland. I go boozing with him after work and come home so late, drunk and knackered I can barely get undressed. FAIL!
Day 7 - Quickie. 10 minutes or less
Joe's up at 4am (selfish and rude) to fly to Amsterdam. He's away for the next week and tomorrow I'm visiting my family for a few says, so let's just call the next six days a giant FAIL!
Days 8 - 13 - Road trip and car sex, sex while seated on chair or sofa, sensual oil massage before sex, oral sex only, one partner dominates, bring your partner to orgasm (no intercourse).
FAIL x 6!
Day 14 - Find a new place in the house for sex
I wake up with a desire to get back on the horse (read: dick) today, but then my period comes-a-ragin'. I'm feeling utterly gross and the last thing I want is to be touched. As a compromise we go for ye olde hand job in the shower before work. This makes the clean up easy and god knows I love me a life hack. PASS!
Day 15 - Masturbate in front of each other
I'm still peak bleeding and really not up for masturbating. Lovely, generous, selfless Joe takes one for the Cosmopolitan team and lets me watch him. I’m a fan. PASS!
Day 16 - Advanced level Kama Sutra
It's my first night in alone in ages, so I get a chippy tea and hate-watch Made In Chelsea (can Harry Baron just not?!). Joe isn't home until 11.30pm, by which time I’m asleep with my book in my hand. FAIL!
Day 17 - Use sex toys
I laugh in the face of this challenge. We have a huge box of toys under our bed so decide to use ones we don’t often bring out. We go for the Rocks Off Union Vibrating Cock Ring – you just slip it down to the base of a penis and switch on the two vibrators (one at the base near their balls and one at the top, that targets vibrations to your clit). We always find this works best with me on top, and it feels really good. Reminds me to use it more often. PASS!
Day 18 - Watch porn together
I introduce Joe to the FrolicMe to see how he likes it compared to ‘regular’ aka unethical, free porn. He's into it and we chose a video of a woman masturbating to watch together. We don’t make it to the end... PASS!
Day 19 - Sex without intercourse
We often have sex without penis penetration because I do not see that as the end goal, or the very definition of sex. But, on this occasion, it just so happens we're both super horny and I want it. We overrule the challenge but I'm calling that a PASS!
Day 20 - Share fantasies by email
Joe's freelance and funemployed right now, so I email his business address and tell him what I'd really like to do (him going down on me while using a cooled-down glass dildo at the same time). "Yeahh, so hot," he replied. "I also want to use the bunny butt plug on you". And with that, my boner is well and truly dead. We’ve had this steel butt plug with a white fur rabbit’s tail in the sex drawer for ages, and so far I’ve successfully managed to avoid it. I know I’ll look ridiculous and will be anything but sexy. I spend the day hoping he’ll forget about it. He totally does! I get mine and don’t have to make a prat of myself. PASS!
Day 21 - Visit a sex store together
I ignore this one. We have so many toys, lubes and accessories, and I'm broke. Instead we choose an implement from the sex box (spanking paddle) and job's a good'un. PASS!
Day 22 - He brings her to orgasm, no intercourse. Hands, mouth, toys only
This is my kind of challenge. I don’t even have to feel guilty when after I've come I just get up and make a sandwich. PASS!
Day 23 - Take a breather… enjoy a night of just sex
Been in a foul mood all day and hate everyone. I fall asleep on the sofa. Sue me. FAIL!
Day 24 - Sex game… dice, spinner, or app
I'm off work to visit pals in Bristol this afternoon. We have a lazy wake up and pre-breakfast sex (doggy followed by what we call the Lazy Boy which is basically missionary but on your side, followed by Old Trusty). No one wants to play a sex game at 9am, get real. Putting that one down as a PASS! because at least we did it.
Day 25 - Slow it down sex
I should be having slow sex with Joe but I'm in lounging on my friends' sofa in Bristol, wearing joggers and knitwear and eating jacket potatoes. To me, this is truly orgasmic but... FAIL!
Day 26 - Let him dominate
I get back to London in the evening, by which time I’ve developed a cold, haven’t showered, and feel like human garbage after four hours on a MegaBus. He's also sick, so neither us pay the other one any attention. I'm more than OK with that. FAIL
Day 27 - Dinner out with under the table touching
I'm still broke and dinner out is very much off the cards. Instead, he picks up ingredients and I cook. Touching under our own dining table isn’t quite as exciting. But considering we're both snotty and gross, it still leads to sofa sex and then we eat ice cream naked on the sofa. PASS!
Day 28 - Multiple orgasm day
I go for drinks and the theatre with a friend and don’t get home until after 11. Joe's already half asleep in bed, still sick, still quite hideous to behold. FAIL!
Day 29 - Flip a coin, pick a dominant
Day 30 - Stay up all night having sex
When I get home from work, I'm all, “It’s the last day of our sex challenge and we’ve totally failed! You HAVE to stay up all night having sex with me!” Between sneezes, Joe looks up at me with begging eyes, like “please, please no.” It's our last chance to redeem ourselves but nonetheless it's a FAIL!
Maybe I'm ashamed that I only passed 14 out of 30 (please don't sack me, ed) but I think this challenge is nonsense. I don't understand how it could make you feel anything other than like a failure, because unless you happen to have a perfect 30 days where you don't bleed, feel stressed/anxious/low, go on holiday, hang out with ANY friends, or go to work, it's impossible to pass.
Having what you have to do each day prescribed to you may work for some people, but I very much buy into Peep Show's Jeremy Usbourne philosophy of "it feels good, do it" and some days, it just doesn't feel good to twist yourself into some mad human pretzel sex position, or wear a damn bunny butt plug.
Mostly though, I realised not passing the challenge is absolutely fine. As long as you're invested in the sex you have and keep it fun, it doesn't matter - whether you're doing it once a week or every day.
This article was originally published in 2017 and has been re-published.
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