I'm at a women's luncheon - one of those annual events when women connected by one single link (in this case our children who attend the same small girls' school) get together to talk about all the other things away from the lives of the children. Those little details about career, too little time, too much guilt and the tribulations of love. Oh, and sex.
The sex part comes at the end this time, right after the decadently sweet dessert of crumbled meringue with fresh berries and clotted cream with the plethora of skinny lattes that goes with it (again, guilt).
It is me who introduces it. I am talking about my tiredness and how I am in need of an early night. They all agree - prescribing me with orders to climb into bed shortly after the kids and try for a ten-hour stretch.
I roll my eyes and point at my mobile phone.
My partner, you see, had been sending me flirty texts all afternoon, I tell them. "I don't think I'll be asleep at 9 pm"
A few of them meet my eye rolling with a silent understanding. No, you won't get an early night, they laugh. Maybe tomorrow.
We discuss it only briefly because at recent coffee mornings it is something that we have all discussed before. We know where we stand on this. For most of us, weighed down at times with the pressure of motherhood and work, sex has become something we avoid and ignore. Yes, most of us.
There is one mother who does not give me quite the same nod of empathy.
She points at my phone. "After this many years together, some people would think you're pretty lucky to still be getting those kinds of texts," she says.
And she's right. In between chilled asparagus soup and poached chicken breast with an eggplant accompaniment I cannot even begin to figure out, my mobile has been filling up with text messages telling me that I am beautiful and sexy. Telling me that he wants me. And he does.
So, even though I am still tired and his need for sex so often seems like just one more clawing demand for my attention - no different than whines for more TV time and less vegetables - I know that I should make an effort. It is a familiar refrain.
Intimacy, after all, relies on more than just emotional closeness. Much of it, is about the physical.
Sex can help put an end to arguments when words are getting you nowhere, can make you feel secure when you have doubted and can, I know, actually relieve some of this tension that seems to build with each child. Yet, with each child, I have wanted less…and less.
But here, with these women, who understand me in so many ways but also understand the issue enough to know that there really is a solution, I resolve to try harder and give more of myself for the good of 'us'. I look back at my phone and his latest message telling me he can't wait to hold me that night. I know I am lucky - that woman's right. And so I will go home, and I will let him hold me and, more importantly, I will hold him back.
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Claire Halliday is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, including The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Women's Weekly, Notebook and Marie Claire for over a decade.
Her new book, Do You Want Sex With That? is a very personal account of her own attitudes to sex and also explores the place of sex throughout Australian life: from the pervasive sexualisation of advertising and impact on children, to the more minority pursuits of swinging and porn-films, as well as the rise of the abstinence movement.
She lives in Melbourne with her partner and four children and is working on her new book.