Forty Beads

The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage


By Carolyn Evans

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With a hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is, girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone, author Carolyn Evans provides married women with an innovative method that is sure to breathe new life into their marital relationship. The Forty Beads Method works by dissolving the negative tension that builds around sex (specifically, the frequency with which it does or does not occur) and replacing it with the sex life you always thought you should have, which in turn creates the relationship you’ve always wanted. In 40 short chapters, author Carolyn Evans illuminates her readers in psychologically-savvy detail why sex is so important to the success of a marriage, and exactly how to put it to the front burner of their relationship in a playful, fun way.


Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.

During a bleak mid-January week, with my marriage poised for a downward spiral alongside the economy, I tried to come up with a fantastic 40th birthday present for my husband. Completely by accident, I stumbled across an idea that evolved into something big enough to rock my husband's birthday and save my marriage—it's called The Forty Beads Method.
Forty Beads is all about The Forty Beads Method—what it is, why it works, and exactly how to use it to create lasting, positive changes in your relationship. In a nutshell, The Forty Beads Method is a sweet little token system that gets rid of all that nasty negative tension that builds up around sex (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 works by magically harnessing that easy feeling of connectedness that follows a roll in the hay and using that energy to continually benefit your relationship.
Who knew this was possible? Not me. I didn't set out to discover a whole new way of approaching sex in my marriage. The Method evolved as I back-pedaled on my ridiculous offer to give my husband 40 straight days of sex for his 40th birthday. He was concerned about missing days if he pulled a hamstring or something, and I really wasn't sure I had the stamina it would take to go that kind of distance with the deed. So instead of 40 straight days of sex, he got 40 tokens—Beads, actually—each one good for one roll in the hay. That's how it all started, and it's changed our lives—for the better and in a big way. The Beads have even changed how I feel about sex. The Forty Beads Method creates a situation where, for the first time in our marriage, my husband and I are on the same page sexually. Bet you didn't think that was a possibility, did you? Well, it is.
I have a big mouth, and of course I told all my friends about it. Some were immediately intrigued and wanted to get Beading right away. Others were horrified at first but came around to the idea over time after seeing the difference it has made in my marriage. Then I started thinking, why Bead in a vacuum? I already had all these solo Beaders out there checking in with me on a regular basis. Why not get women Beading in groups? It started with a local Bead club in my hometown and has expanded from there. Women getting together, drinking wine, laughing, and supporting each other as they deepen their relationships using The Forty Beads Method.
There are some specific rules of Beading that I call "The Forty Beads Creed" along with some important do's and don'ts, but really, The Forty Beads Method is fun, simple to use, and it produces profound, lasting results. This book offers a new angle on something you already know—that sex is a critical ingredient in the recipe of a successful marriage—and a creative approach for pulling it to the front burner of your marital cooktop. Forty Beads does not dispense advice on the actual deed. (Plenty of other books do that.) It's all about getting you to the sheets (not about what you do once you get there) and, in the process, developing the kick-ass marriage you deserve.
Throughout this book I will be referring to heterosexual marriage. This is because the heterosexual marriage is what I know best and absolutely not because I wish to exclude homosexual couples from these pages or The Forty Beads Method. The Method assumes a disparity that often exists between the male and female libidos and offers a way to close that gap. I know that the same disparity can and does exist with some homosexual couples. And although to date, I haven't had a same-sex couple take The Forty Beads Method for a test drive, it is my hope that The Method will offer the same transformational experience for homosexual couples who struggle with conflicting sex drives.
The Forty Beads Method is for you if you love your husband (I'm going to use the word "husband" throughout this book, but feel free to substitute life partner, lover, UPS man—whatever) and want to stay married to him, but you maybe don't like him very much lately or the like comes and goes (a lot). The Forty Beads Method is for you if you have this nagging feeling that things could be way better, that your relationship is missing something, and/or you're an American Idol junkie who stays up much later than your husband to see which wannabe rocker will flash in the pan next. The Forty Beads Method is definitely for you if your husband walks around with one eyebrow at an angle and forms a full-on "V" when he looks at you, but you can't figure out why he's so pissed since there's really no time for sex—what with doing laundry, taking care of the kids, and making dinner. Here's a hint, ladies: The house can be a total wreck and the baby shirtless in a sagging wet diaper, but if he's getting laid regularly, he's cool with it. All of it. Because there's one thing that's more important to your husband than everything else combined, multiplied by ten and raised to the fourth power: SEX.
The Forty Beads Method is not for you if you're committed to the status quo and have little or no interest in change. The Forty Beads Method is not for you if your husband is your soul's twin and he gets you all the time, without exception, and you never experience any confusion, anger, or guilt associated with sex. By the way, if that's your situation, you two make up part of the .0002% of all relationships. You have uncovered the Holy Grail of couplehood, that which the rest of us dream about and bust our asses trying to achieve. I'd just like to say, from all of us who haven't gotten there yet, "Congratulations. Oh, and we hate you." Finally, The Forty Beads Method is not for you if you're married to a complete asshole or a total douche bag. It happens. Find a different book, and get out as quick as you can.
When you read my story, you'll understand how The Forty Beads Method evolved quite organically. I'm a town crier of sorts and not easily convinced of much, so if I find something that works, whether it's hair gel or yoga pants that suck my butt in and up, I want everybody to know about it. I wrote this book because I just had to tell you. Because I suspect that what works for me, my friends, and my fellow Beaders just might do the trick for you, too.
In Part 1, I'll tell you the story of how I stumbled across 40 Venetian beads that changed my life and my marriage in a big way. The rest of the book will be all about The Forty Beads Method. I'm a fan of books with crystallized nugget chapters, and I want Forty Beads to be something you can read a chapter of while waiting in the carpool line and then shove between the seats when the kids get in the car. So, over the course of 40 short chapters, I'll explain all the reasons why The Forty Beads Method works, how it works, and what you can expect if you decide to get the Beads working for you. I'm going to assume that you're a little like me and at first blush will be somewhat freaked out by what these 40 Beads represent. That's okay, but hear me out in Part 2 (Sex: The Deal) on what I believe snags a lot of marriages and why it really is a big deal. I figure you'll probably want some hard facts—maybe even some scientific data—to back up what I'm putting out there, so Part 3 (Just the Facts, Ma'am) is full of that. In Part 4 (Sex as Commerce), I'll explain how sex in a marriage acts a lot like a commodity and why The Forty Beads Method isn't such a crazy idea. Part 5 (Getting Your Bead On) is the how-to portion of the book—it's all about getting busy with the Beads and the rules of fair play. In Part 6 (The Beadefits), I'll explain why The Forty Beads Method really is worth the trouble and tell you all about the big shift that happens from the moment you put your Beads into action. Because I didn't think you should just take my word for it, throughout the book I've included the experiences of my fellow Beaders—amusing anecdotes, white-knuckle moments, and reasons why they believe in the power of the Bead.

Part 1
A Sexy Little Wives' Tale
I'll just start at the beginning. My husband's birthday was fast approaching. The big 4–0. And even though he wouldn't admit it, I knew Ray had been building this birthday up in his head for at least 20 years. He'd dropped some hints. He mentioned a watch upgrade, showed me a picture of some nerdy-looking telescope he thought he'd like to have for his office even though he'd never shown the slightest bit of interest in stargazing. Nothing seemed to be the right thing, and I just couldn't get behind buying some superfluous item that would be tossed into his toy collection. Particularly during these wobbly economic times, it didn't feel right to throw a big wad of cash at my husband's 40th birthday. That, and the fact that we hadn't really been getting along all that well.
The months leading up to my husband's birthday hadn't been all that great for us. Not awful, but not great. I would say my husband and I had a general lack of interest in each other.Which I figured was fine, given the loads of necessary shit that needed dealing with on any given day. Instead of having a drink together before dinner the way we used to do, I'd be well into my first glass of wine, cooking in the kitchen, when he got home from work. He'd come in, say "Hey," offer a quick smile, and go off to find the kids. We were like two toddlers engaged in parallel play, bobbing along in two separate orbs, doing our own thing. After a family dinner, we'd spin off again, usually to opposite ends of the house.
Or we'd set into fighting. Sometimes knock-down, drag-outs and other times just seething comments followed by periods of silence. We'd go to sleep pissed off, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day. This was how we operated for a while, and I really wasn't all that concerned because I loved my husband, in spite of all the petty bullshit we'd been wading through at that time. I was sure that whatever we were going through would pass and we'd get back on track eventually.
But it turns out he was super-pissed and had been for a while. One afternoon, I was running errands, getting ready for weekend guests (when you live in Charleston, South Carolina, you have a lot of weekend guests) when he called me. We chatted as usual, ticking items off the "you'll do/I'll do" list, and just as I was pulling up to Bed, Bath and Beyond, he laid it on me.
"What are we doing?" he asked.
"I told you. I'm going to Bed, Bath and Beyond, then to the grocery store, then I'm picking up the kids," I said, gathering my stuff to get out of the car.
"No, I mean ... I can't live like this anymore. I think maybe we should take a break—from each other."
I was immediately defensive and I'm sure I said something like, "What the hell do you mean?" It spiraled down from there on a cold January afternoon in a shopping center parking lot. Turns out, what I called a "temporary bump in the road" was more like a rather large fault line in our marriage. Shit. I tried my best to quell the situation following my knee-jerk defensive attack, but as I cited reasons why I thought we were fine, I realized something had to be done.
During our 13 years of marriage, we had been in this kind of place before. Back when I was performing a lot with my band and keeping crazy-late hours, our marriage slipped beneath the watery surface of an almost loveless state. It was so openly bad that our friends and family braced themselves for the unraveling that so often follows this kind of misery. But eventually, we pushed off the bottom of the pool, thanks to a ton of couples' therapy (spread among at least five highly trained and well-meaning therapists) and a little advice from my sister-in-law.
"Have sex with him every day," she'd said to me late one night when we were up drinking wine.
"What? Are you crazy? No way, man. I'm pretty sure he hates me anyway," I told her.
"Just try it. It worked for us. At least for a while," she'd said.
On the one hand, I was pretty sure I hated him as much as I suspected he hated me. On the other hand, I really wanted to stay married to him, because I knew deep down that he wasn't the asshole he'd pretended to be over the previous year; somewhere in there was that guy I was so obsessed with in my early 20s and left my cushy job in London to be with. Also, there was this precious five-year-old girl involved. In short, I was willing to try anything, and having sex with him every day seemed to fall into that category. It worked like a charm. It didn't go on forever (because who has that kind of energy?), but it was like attaching a set of jumper cables to our marriage, and it got us cruising again.
Fast-forward from there to a couple of nights before my husband's big birthday. I knew I was flirting with disaster as the hours lurched dangerously close to the big day and I remained gift-less with no promising prospects. There I stood at the bathroom sink going through my nightly cleansing ritual, when a bit of long-suppressed information emerged: Every year, at least for as long as I've been aware of it, my mom has given my dad an entire month of sex for his birthday. I hadn't really given their steamy Septembers much thought until then. Actually, I'd probably put a fair amount of effort into not putting my brain around that whole thing, but when I realized I could go from deep in the hole to better than flush in an instant without having to pay for expedited shipping, I decided what the hell. What's one month? I was a little drunk (which made my split-second decision almost effortless), and since I was fairly sure my marriage was headed for a nosedive, I marched into the bedroom to make an announcement. Piecing together a few tangled memories and loose assumptions while pulling on my faded cotton pajamas and slathering on hand cream, I heard It tumble out of my mouth.
"You're getting 40 straight days of sex for your birthday!"
I probably could've timed the whole thing a little better by making my decree after removing the "scary-brown-peel-yourface-off lotion" he and the kids are afraid will eat them alive if they touch. Nonetheless, he responded with appropriate measures of shock, jubilation, and gratitude. Minutes later, though, as he sat back in bed and pondered his good fortune, he started to question just how the whole "every single day for 40 days" thing would work. The look on his face turned from celebration to a mix of trepidation and fear. As I sat next to him reading in bed, he started looking at me like he was staring down the length of a six-footlong Italian sub sandwich. And he had to eat the whole thing.
"So ... Every. Single. Day. For 40 days. Really?" he asked.
"That's right," I said, flipping through my magazine.
"What if I get sick and miss a day or pull a hamstring or something? What happens then? Do those days just get wasted?" he asked.
"Wasted. Yes. Sorry, that's just my policy. And, look, it's okay if you want to exchange your present for a bunch of personal trainer sessions or something," I told him.
"Oh no! I like my present. I love my present. When does it start?" he asked, nervous that his present was about to get yanked and inching over to my side of the bed.
"Uh ... on your birthday, goodnight!" I said and reached across him to turn out the light.
The next day, I woke to that dreaded feeling I sometimes get the morning after a dinner party where there was lots of good wine and intimate conversation. That nagging feeling I'd said something I shouldn't have, had told too much (one of my worst habits), and would hear it repeated back to me before my coffee. And then I remembered. Forty times. Dammit! In 40 days! That is a lot of sex. I don't care who you are—even if you're part of Hef 's harem living at the Playboy Mansion.
As I walked to the bathroom, I reflected on the evening's conversation. I could see why my husband had been taken aback once he felt the weight of this gift I'd laid on him. Forty times in 40 days. In the harsh morning light, I couldn't figure out why I'd come up with such a generous figure, despite the fact he'd been alive that many years. Maybe I shouldn't have counted those years when I didn't even know him yet. I really do have such a big mouth, and once again, it'd worked me into a tight little corner. But seeing as I do have some sense of honor, I do love my man, and I was not about to take back the only gift I had to give, I resolved it was up to me to figure out how to make this thing work.
After getting the kids off to school, I came back to my desk and wracked my brain trying to come up with a way to give the gift some kind of added value, really take it over the top on the big day. I decided to send him on a scavenger hunt on the afternoon of his birthday. Only I'd never done anything like that before, and I didn't want to copy some silly scheme I could find on the Internet. Given that I possess the logistical skills of a slow two-year-old, it took some doing, but I eventually hatched a plan. I would deposit envelopes all over downtown that he would have to retrieve. The envelopes would contain a message, directions on where to go next and a piece of a puzzle. And the puzzle would be a picture of ... well, me.
I thought about what I should wear in the picture that would become the puzzle. The obvious choice was nothing, but I'm not that comfortable with my body since my nipples bear a striking resemblance to number two pencil erasers—on steroids. They're a little gift left over from motherhood and 11 months of nursing the wrong way. I was a punch-drunk, love-struck fool for my baby girl and chose to ignore the sage advice of my mother.
"Hon, you sure you want to let her pull on you like that?" my mom had offered.
"It's okay, Mom. I'm sure they'll go back like they were. I know you don't understand since you never nursed me, but I love everything about being a mother," I'd said. What an idiot.
The full frontal thing was definitely not happening. So I decided I'd have to go to the really fancy lingerie store downtown. They would have just the thing. But first things first. It was the middle of January, and let's just say that bikini line maintenance had not been a top priority for me during those frosty months. I was lucky enough to get an appointment that very morning with Angelica. I liked the sound of her name. It somehow implied less pain for me.
Once at the spa, I thumbed through a couple of old magazines and decided to fix myself some herbal tea that I wouldn't drink. When Angelica came into the relaxation chamber to fetch me, I knew I had the hook-up. Large in size and spirit, everything about her said she was up to the task that lay ahead. She instructed me to strip down and tossed me a washcloth the size of a postage stamp to cover myself with, which I tried—from lots of angles—to do.


On Sale
Apr 26, 2011
Page Count
208 pages
Running Press

Carolyn Evans

About the Author

Carolyn Evans, MSW developed The Forty Beads Method quite by accident, but when it changed her marriage in such an incredible way, she just had to share it with everyone. A singer/songwriter and former therapist, Carolyn writes for Skirt! Magazine and spends time meeting with her fellow “Beaders” as she supports the growing Forty Beads nation.

Learn more about this author