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101 days of sex brought couple intimacy ... and fatigue

When Annie and Doug Brown set out to have sex every day for 101 days, friends thought they were crazy. But as their book “Just Do It" reveals, the “exhausting” experience taught them “we have to take care of each other.”
/ Source: TODAY contributor

A lot of people may think they want to have sex every day — but actually doing it for 101 straight days is more than an adventure, it’s a book.

That’s what Annie and Doug Brown discovered after she suggested they embark on a journey that her friends told her she was crazy for even thinking about. Married for 11 years, the couple had a 7-year-old, a 3-year-old, careers, and dozens of demands on their time and energy. And she wanted to have sex every day for 101 days?

“Immediately after I thought of it I had second thoughts,” Annie Brown admitted to TODAY’s Ann Curry Tuesday. “My friends, when I told them about it, their mouths would drop open: ‘Are you crazy? What have you gotten yourself into?’ ”

The answer is in Doug Brown’s book, “Just Do It,” which will be released on June 26. Which raises another question: Does the world really need another book about sex?

“There’s 10 jillion books about the Kama Sutra and there’s a lot written by therapists, but there wasn’t a book that was like a window into a relationship,” Doug Brown, a feature writer at The Denver Post, said. He said he had his doubts about actually writing about the intimate details of his marriage, but soon realized there was more to what he and his wife had set out to do than “just doing it.”

‘Madcap adventure’
“I wasn’t sure if I’d be comfortable writing about it,” Doug admitted. “But by the end of this thing, it was just this wild, kind of madcap adventure. It was a really colorful romp, so I knew we had a good story.”

The idea grew out of a conference called “Sex and Pop Culture” that Doug had attended in Florida for his newspaper job. When he got back, one story he told his wife struck her.

“This man gave a talk about being in the ‘100 Days Club,’ a club that you don’t want to be in because it means you haven’t had sex with your partner for over 100 days for whatever reason — whether you’ve been in a relationship for a long time or your wife’s just had a baby,” Annie Brown told Curry. “So, I said to Doug after he told me about that story, ‘Maybe we should reverse it.’ ”

The Browns’ marriage wasn’t sex-free, but, as with many couples, it was something they did only when everything was lined up perfectly. A 2004 study by the National Opinion Research Center found that the typical American has sex 66 times a year, while young married couples have sex 84 times a year.

The Browns were proposing to get more than that in just a bit over three months.

Frequently, after hard days at work and raising the kids and keeping a home, their only physical contact was a quick peck before falling asleep. When Annie suggested doing it for 101 straight days, Doug thought he’d reached nirvana.

‘It was exhausting’
The experiment began in January 2006. The couple tricked up their bedroom to be a more romantic retreat and turned off the television. When Doug traveled on assignment, Annie traveled with him. They did it on top of a mountain, in expensive hotels and cheap ones, on an exercise ball and at a sex convention in Las Vegas after watching porn together for the first time ever.

“We learned that you just have to do it,” Doug said. “You couldn’t do this for the rest of your life. It was exhausting.”

So exhausting that when the Browns reached their goal at last, they took a month off. It was during that time that Doug went through the journals both had kept during their amorous adventure and put together the outline of the book.

Their physical intimacy led to emotional intimacy and an interest and involvement in each other’s lives that the Browns hadn’t had since they were newlyweds.

Robi Ludwig, a therapist who joined the conversation, said that a similar approach could work for others.

“I think the intention would work for every marriage,” she said. “It’s a very creative way to approach a relationship. When couples lead hectic lives, you don’t feel like having sex. Sometimes you just have to say, ‘Let’s just do it.’ ”

The rest can take care of itself, Ludwig continued. “From behaving that way toward each other, you create that spark. If you have the intention to create that spark and behave lovingly toward each other and romantically toward each other, you’re going to have a better relationship with your partner. It’s just going to happen.”

The Browns confirmed the expert’s diagnosis.

“We touch more,” said Doug. “We would have entire days and maybe had a peck at the end of the night, and that was the only time we touched. During the 100 days, it wasn’t just the sex; we were hugging each other, and that has carried on.”

“What we really learned is that we have to take care of each other more and pay attention to each other in ways that we haven’t since the early days of our marriage,” said Annie.