I talk to a lot of mums every week…like a lot. And from couples who are “just trying”, to couples who have older children, sex is a topic that comes up in almost every conversation.
Sex is on every couples’ minds. As it should be. It’s the most intimate part of a relationship and its absence can leave a couple feeling like roommates.
I think many relationships start off very similar. It’s all hot and heavy at first. There’s passion, there’s mystery, there are skinny jeans and t-shirts…thrown all over the floor. It’s messy, it’s hot and it’s on tap….allllll the time.
Am I right?
However, fast forward about 5 years…or even just a couple years (no judgment here – timelines vary per couple) and that sex has well become slightly more…(feel free to throw in the word of your choice here)….robotic? Stationary? Boring?
But that’s ok because there’s something new coming on the horizon.
First there’s the new excitement of trying to get pregnant. My husband so eloquently called it the “practicing” phase.
He liked to practice a lot.
And when we were lucky enough to conceive fairly quickly, he was genuinely disappointed that his practicing had worked a little too well.
But this is when the story of sex between two loving people starts to go in very different directions.
For the husband or partner: there is no physical change they see except their wife looking ever so slightly green before running to the washroom in a vomit-induced fit. So to them…sex is still on.
For a pregnant woman, we become sick, swollen and our hormones are raging so badly, we closely resemble the girl off of the Exorcist. When it comes to sex – especially in the first trimester – sorry partners, it’s generally off the cards.
So there’s a good three months where the fellas/partners will have to practice self-love.
And then we enter the second trimester, when women apparently feel amazing and full of energy.
There is a glow.
For the partner: This is usually when most guys start seeing the light. They see this small window of opportunity to cash in on the increased blood flow circulating through their partner’s ever changing body.
And let’s face it, pregnancy gives the majority of women the one opportunity to have the most incredible boobs… yes from the flat-chested to the amply sized, our racks go from basic to phenomenal…pretty much overnight. Our partners, deprived of any sexual activity for months are now quite literally drooling over the increasing size of our bosoms.
So bring on the candle light and maternity lingerie. Sex is back in the game.
But it is short-lived as the sheer logistics of having sex during the last trimester becomes somewhat cumbersome. There’s a baby in the way and no matter how many hormones are running through your veins, there’s nothing that kills a mood more than seeing a tiny hand or foot stretching out like some scene out of Alien against the side of your stomach while your husband is trying to enjoy the view of your current “riding” position.
There are those cases of women whose sex drive was insane in the last 3 months and apparently they had the best sex of their lives during this time. These stories however are pretty much like the unicorn of sex gossip; you always hear about it but you never really know if they exist.
Then the baby comes.
And for some people, this is where the story of their sex lives ends.
I’m not joking…
I’ve had friends tell me that they’ve had sex all of twice since their kid was born…that kid is almost a year old now. (cue “oh don’t worry that’s totally normal” face)
But it may actually be more normal then we think.
The first 2 months post birth, women’s bodies literally leak from every place humanly possible.
It’s not a sexy time.
There was not one moment in those first couple months when I took a look at my poor body – stretched to hell and back – and thought “lookin’ good mumma!”
Was I proud of my body? Hell yes. Was I in awe of what it had just achieved? Of course.
Did I want to rip off my maternity clothes and jump on my husband like some hormone enraged sumo wrestler….uh no.
No thank you.
In fact, my boobs where no longer my husband’s…they weren’t even mine any more. They belonged to this little being and was the vessel of life to help our newest family member grow.
How could I get my head wrapped around being a mum now but still be the sex goddess that my husband had been waiting so patiently to come back (editor’s note…I just realised I called myself a sex goddess…cough…exaggeration much?)
And there lies the dilemma that many couples face.
I’ve heard from guy friends of mine who struggle to see their lover anymore in the woman in front of them…especially among all the maternal moments that happen post birth. Their relationships have actually changed. They’ve never loved their partner more but they don’t see them as a sexual being anymore. It’s like us women become Mother Theresa. We’re sainted for having their offspring. (Rightly so I might add). Unfortunately this view is not uncommon and can kill the intimacy among a couple.
For the record…my husband would probably say something rude in response to that…like, “get over your mother issues fellas and be a man and have sex with your wife.”
Thank you for your wisdom darling.
However the majority of people I speak with are women, and many of them say that they just struggle to find their mojo after having kids. We’re tired, we’ve been constantly clawed at for 12 hours already today and now you’re trying to cop a feel when I finally have a moment to watch episode 1-12 of the second season of the Gilmore Girls…seriously?! Get. Off.
SO where does this leave us now? What is the normal sex life supposed to look like after kids?
Once a month? Twice a week? Somewhere in between?
And if it’s not regular, should we worry?
I’ve done some reading and found some interesting surveys that suggest, whether we know it or not, a simmering resentment between a couple can cause the biggest obstacle to wanting to please your partner sexually.
Women want a partner in life and that includes having a partner who shares in the household/child-rearing duties. If there is an imbalance here, women can feel unhappy and resentful and therefore pull away from intimacy.
We also do that thing as parents where our children become the single biggest priority of our lives. Of course they should be, but too many people (as much as 66% of couples polled by a Parenting Magazine in America) say their relationship with their kids is more important than that with their partner. (Awkward emoji here)
So how do we get back to ‘us’?
Being honest is a start.
I’ve actually told my husband that his chances for sex will seriously increase proportionally to:
A- the amount of household chores he manages to do each evening and
B – paying attention to the tiny ways he can make me feel relaxed.
He now knows that if I am totally frazzled when he gets home from work and I have another 3 hours of work ahead of me on the computer…he won’t try for sex cause he’ll get a swift kick to the baby-making region.
However, if he comes in, immediately takes the kids from my arms and tells me to go have a bath while he pours me a glass of wine. …well let’s just say he’ll be walking taller the next day.
I don’t have answers here folks…and I’m looking to my friends with older kids for some input. When you finally have more time for you, because your kids don’t need you every minute of the day, does this help you strut through the house, humming JT’s “I’m bringing Sexy back..?”
The underlying feeling I get from most couples I talk to is that communication is the key. If the discussion about sex ceases completely then there is little hope in bringing it back.
And guys and gals…don’t stick your head in the sand about this one. If you haven’t had sex in many months then don’t kid yourselves… (“we’ve both been so busy and tired…we’re totally fine though…never better”) both of you feel its absence and it needs to be talked about. For the sake of your relationship and intimacy for both of you.
(image credit: E&K XO)