When you think of solid, long-lasting relationships, one of the key elements is a healthy sex life. When former therapist and singer, Carolyn Evans found this element in her marriage taking a downward turn, she knew she had to do something to change that. On her husband’s fortieth birthday she decided to give him a surprise he would never forget: forty days of sex.
Upon later reflection, knowing that it was likely that schedules, moods and other elements might interfere, she decided to slightly alter her offer. “Only when I woke up in the morning and realized what I’d done, I became painfully aware of the fact that I didn’t have the emotional stamina or bodily constitution to survive that much sex,” Evans explains.
Instead, she decided to try a modified version of her original proposition. She would ration out the forty days of sex. This idea became the basis of the Forty Beads Method which involved her husband placing a red bead into a small bowl (a Beadcatcher) by her bedside table to indicate that he wanted to ‘cash in’ one of his sex guarantees. “What started out as a half-baked, over-zealous idea had morphed into a token system, which evolved into the full-blown Forty Beads Method,” says Evans.
Placing a bead in her Beadcatcher not only signaled his interest in sex, but also symbolized the understanding that he would definitely get lucky within the next 24 hours. This simple shift turned out to be one of the best things to happen to Evans and her marriage. “Life is just easier and a whole lot more fun,” Evans says, “Even when the hard stuff pops up, we’re ready for it and deal with it better as a couple, because the beads keep us connected to each other.”
Spreading The Word
Evans felt strongly that if this method worked in her marriage, there would no doubt be a few other marriages that could benefit from her discovery. So she decided to find out. “I was so floored by the amazing changes happening in my relationship but I thought how could all this be happening just because I gave him a bunch of beads?” Evans reflects, “I had a hunch it would work for other women because I’m a really hard one to convince." Evans decided that simply talking about it to friends wasn’t enough, she decided to form a local Bead club in her hometown of Charleston where women could get together and talk about how the Method was working for them and offer each other support.
“Once I developed the Method—the rules, the subtleties and began to understand exactly why it works so well, I had to share it with other women,” she says, “And you know, when we women find something that works for us, we like to tell all our friends about it. So that’s how this Forty Beads Movement began—very organically—by word of mouth.”
The next step seemed obvious – a how-to book explaining the Method and how it worked. Penning her first book, Forty Beads: The Simple Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage turned out to be a labor of love, both literally and figuratively. “Writing this book was like pouring water from a pitcher,” she recalls, “I started writing it and I couldn’t rest until it was done. I’d wake up at 4 a.m. and write all day. ‘Obsessed’ would be a word that comes to mind. It took me about four months to complete the manuscript.”
Breaking Down The Method
Evans is quick to explain that her book does not dispense advice on doing the actual deed, but instead gives direction on getting you and your partner in the mood. “Sex keeps a couple connected—both physically and emotionally—and a healthy sex life is an important part of a healthy marriage,” Evans explains. “The Method is about couples having fun as they pull sex back to the front burner of their relationship.” The idea of having and maintaining a healthy sex life is not a new idea. It’s the presentation of the Method that seems to have captured people’s attention as well as set it apart from other self-help or relationship-help books.
One of the concerns that some have had with this method is the idea that sex is a commodity that must be ‘bought’ with the currency of ‘beads.’ Evans addresses this idea in the chapter aptly named “Beads as Currency.” Beads have had a long-standing history of being used during trade and have at one time had a monetary value placed on them. Evans claims that taking this “long-abandoned token system and applying it to sex inside a marriage might seem crazy, but it’s really not.”
As we go along our busy day, there is usually a long list of things we need to accomplish. Evans challenges readers to take sex off your “mental list” and place it in your “physical world” instead, making it a definite instead of just a possibility. The simple act of doing this can change how couples view having sex. “That bead in your Beadcatcher is a physical representation of your commitment to the Method and more importantly, your relationship,” Evans explains, “Using the Method separates sex from the things you mean to do in any 24-hour period, and puts it with the items that you’re going to do.”
With the Method, sex becomes a priority for the couple, encouraging intimacy and creativity in the bedroom. “The Method is about choosing love—again and again and continually moving a relationship forward. It’s about not getting bogged down by the petty minutiae of the day, like the sock on the floor or the toilet seat left up,” says Evans, “Couples who use the Method continually rise above what commonly pulls them apart on a daily basis.”
More from Carolyn Evans…
How would you describe The Forty Beads Method?
The Forty Beads Method is a sweet little token system that sort of magically dissolves the negative tension that can build around sex in a marriage (specifically, the frequency with which it does or does not occur) and replaces it with the sex life you always thought you should have, which in turn creates the relationship you've always wanted. It’s all about creating that sense of abundance around sex—which permeates the whole relationship.
What is the best complement/story you’ve gotten from
fans of The Forty Beads Method?
Of course, I get lots of “Thank you’s” from men, but the greatest complement I keep getting is from women telling me that they feel like I’m one of their best friends talking to them when they read Forty Beads. I love that. I feel such a bond with every woman who uses this Method and I love connecting with them on my Facebook page. Oh my gosh. There have been so many amazing stories. I’ve had many couples tell me that the Method saved their marriage and nothing in this world could make me happier. To impact a life like that? It doesn’t get any better than that.
Do you feel everyone can benefit from The Forty Beads Method?
No. The Method is definitely not for couples where there is abuse of any kind going on. I say to women that if they’re married to a complete jerk, no, the Method is not for them. Otherwise, yes, I’ve found that the Method is fun and effective for couples who struggle with conflicting libidos and also those who aren’t really having problems with sex, but just want to change things up and bring some playfulness back to their marriage.
How long were you a therapist and how has that background helped you when writing your book?
I worked as a therapist for maybe four to five years, but I think once you’re a therapist, you’re kind of always a therapist—as far as how you view your world. I’ve always been fascinated with people and what makes them do what they do so I guess my personal curiosity along with my desire to improve my own situation were both helpful in writing the book.
What makes The Forty Beads Method unique?
Well, to my knowledge (and I’ve had lawyers research this) there has never been a token system method that involved sex before The Forty Beads Method. Some people are really freaked out by the whole token system—beads for sex—kind of thing, but it’s about sex in a marriage so…
What has been the reaction from men who participated in The Forty Beads Method?
They LOVE it.
What questions or reactions have you received from fans?
I get emails everyday from men and women thanking me for writing this book. They tell me things like: Finally somebody came out with it—this truth about sex in a marriage. And: You’re describing my life and my marriage in your book. I’ve been surprised and delighted to hear that couples are actually reading the book together, which I think is a great idea, I just hadn’t predicted that would happen.
What would you like readers to take away from the book?
That every choice we make and every action we take either brings us closer to or pulls us further from the love we want. My Beaders tell me that using the Method helps them become more conscious in their relationship and they learn to choose to look at the big picture and not to get pulled down by the irritating little things like they used to.
How have you handled all the attention the book has garnered?
I have a fantastic husband who helps out a ton. And I’ve been trying to take good care of myself—I go to bed early and get up early.
Do you continue to use the Method in your own relationship?
Absolutely! We’ll never stop Beading. That’s the great thing about the Method—it’s totally sustainable.