It's no secret that everybody is happier when they're getting nookie. With that in mind, former therapist and country singer Carolyn Evans gave her husband the ultimate 40th birthday present: 40 days of sex.
She couldn't have chosen a better time. The couple's marriage was on the fritz, and Evans hoped her present would give them just the boost they needed. She quickly developed her initial idea into a prototype of what she would later call the 40 Beads Method. Two years later, that's the title of her new book touting "the simple, sexy secret for transforming your marriage." Middle-aged housewives across the country are already claiming their beads, while others are questioning Evans' methodology.
Back in 2008, Charla Muller's 365 Nights and Douglas Brown's Just Do It chronicled 365 and 101 days of sexcapades, respectively. But the concept of sex being key to a healthy relationship is as old as time. Evans was initially inspired by her own parents' habits — her mother always gave her father a month of sex for his birthday, something she refers to as "Steamy September." But the author insists that her concept is unique.
"The difference is the 40 Beads Method is a totally sustainable method," Evans says. "It's not debilitating ... My God, a year of sex would be totally debilitating to me. It sounds awful. And at the end of the year, then what?
"If the couple enjoys using it, they never have to stop," she adds. "It energizes the sex life in a way that nothing else, to my knowledge, has been able to do."
Here's how it works: The wife gives her husband a pouch of 40 beads. When he wants to have sex, he places a bead in her "beadcatcher" (a bowl) to signify his intentions. That means she has 24 hours to get ready to give it up. Conversely, if she wants to get "beaded," she can give him a "nudge card." If the husband "acts like a real asshole," the wife reserves the right to "turtle" him — in other words, turn her bowl over and refuse his bead. But Evans says that shouldn't happen often.
You see, according to Evans, men are simple creatures with just three states of being: OK, not OK, and pissed. When they're having sex regularly, they are OK. If not, they are pissed ... and that could lead to infidelity. Because if his needs aren't being met, she says, "He hates you."
"Here's a hint, ladies," Evans writes in her intro. "The house can be a total wreck and the baby shirtless in a soaking wet diaper, but if he's getting laid regularly, he's cool with it. All of it. Because there's one thing more important to your husband than everything else combined, multiplied by 10, and raised to the fourth power: SEX."
And the 40 Beads Method essentially allows the husband to get it when he wants it — within a 24-hour period. Speaking from her home in downtown Charleston, Evans explains further.
"The husband drops the bead in the beadcatcher, and he is filled with adoration and love and gratitude for his wife, and then he starts his day, and then gives his wife the best version of himself, going out of his way to do nice things for her, and instead of a downward spiral ... it's sort of a delicious cycle that happens with the beads. He behaves like he's already gotten laid.
"Then by the time it's time to redeem the bead, she's all too happy to do that because he's been that really great guy she knows him to be."
"So let me get this straight," I ask. "The husband is happy because he can have sex whenever he wants, and the wife is happy because her husband is behaving well?"
She agrees, but goes on to clarify: It's not all about behavior modification. It's about turning both people's mindsets toward sex, to allow them to focus and prepare for getting between the sheets. The rest is up to them.
"What happens over time in many marriages is the sexual relationship starts to get lacquered with frustration and anger and guilt and confusion, and what the 40 Beads Method does when you bring the method into your relationship, it just erases all of the negative energy that's built around the relationship," she says. "It's sort of like hitting the restart button."
After using the method for two years, Evans says her marriage has improved exponentially and she and her husband still bead on a regular basis.
"He feels great about it," she says of her husband, Ray. "It's so obvious that he's definitely getting laid. He walks with a little bit of a swagger. He's the original beading man."
One reason "beading men" are so much happier is because they don't have to worry about when they'll have sex next, Evans says.
"I've found that in most situations, the sense of abundance around sex causes a man not to be so desperate for the deed," Evans says. "When they feel like their probability of securing the nookie on any given day is between slim and none, they feel real desperate for it. But when they feel like it's going to happen in the next 24 hours or, 'I can choose to drop a bead when I want,' it takes away their sense of urgency. So that's really nice."
Evans has already caught some flack for the method, which labels the act of sex a commodity, with the beads as the sole form of currency. It also arguably stereotypes both genders: men are simpletons guided by their winkies, while women are disinterested in sex but willing to use it to manipulate their husbands. Consider this quote: "I know that as women living it up in the 21st century, it's not our primary concern in life to be somebody's sex object," she writes in Chapter 6. "Again, sorry! That's not all you are to him, but it just happens to be a rather important piece of what you are to him."
Evans tackles the feminism question in Chapter 12, titled "What Would Gloria Say?"
"What I'm suggesting with the 40 Beads Method is that as women, maybe we're ready to move past 'me' and are now just as interested in creating a happy 'we' — as in a thriving partnership with a man. A rejoining that's possible now that there is more equal footing (as far as sex is concerned inside a marriage)."
While some argue that the 40 Beads Method gives most of the power to the husband, Evans says that it creates more of a triangle — the Love Triangle, to be exact. If a wife gives her husband what he loves out of love, she will receive more love in return.
Despite the detractors, Evans stands behind the "beadifits" of the 40 Beads Method.
"It's just a fun way to energize your sex life, and it's not for everybody, and I am certainly not interested in converting people who are not interested in a marital conversion," Evans says. "It's the type of method people have such an emotional and passionate response to, whether it's positive or negative.
"You'll know if this is right for you," she adds. "If you're drawn to it, it's probably a method that will work for you. If you're not drawn to it, then it's probably not a fit. Peace out. It's all good."