Sex After Kids: How To Keep Up The Tempo With Your Partner
Having kids changes everything, and that includes your sex life. Most parents know that having less sex is part and parcel of life with a new baby. Yet when the children are a bit older, when you’re less tired and you have more opportunity to be intimate, you can look forward to your sex life returning pretty much to what it was pre-children, right? Err...wrong. According to research, couples with older children have less sex than couples with young children. Indeed, intimacy can be a big challenge for parents, who have to worry about interruptions, scheduling challenges and sleep deprivation. But at least you can laugh about it. Here are a few tweets from parents who know the all-too-real struggle of sex after kids.
Many people assume that the pain of sex after kids is from the trauma of delivery. And it can be, but it's mostly from low levels of estrogen that affect the elasticity of the vaginal tissues. When a woman is nursing, especially in the beginning, the decrease in estrogen combined with high prolactin and oxytocin levels can mimic menopause for the first two to three months.
Lack of sleep, a changing dynamic between you and your partner, and maybe some body image issues as you realize that belly won't flatten itself. Not exactly the combo to put you in the mood. If you're breastfeeding, even Mother Nature is working against you. Nursing releases oxytocin, a hormone that triggers good feelings toward the baby but also suppresses your libido. Keeping your sex drive low is your body's way of preventing another pregnancy too soon.
If there is no physical intimacy, or if it's really limited, you'll start to feel like roommates, which is not a good thing. Feeling disconnected can lead to resentment. Start with kissing or touching each other in a loving way, and work your way up to post-children sex when you're ready. Sex after children can be fun too.
Just like you will sleep again and you will go out with friends again and even be up for giving birth again, you will want to have sex again. Give yourself time to literally heal, but also to adjust to your new roles. Be honest and open with each other, and remember that sometimes you may not be in the mood going in. But you will be really glad you did it afterward! Contrary to what you might think, having more kids does not equal less sex. Similar to how going from zero to one child is the biggest adjustment, returning to sex after baby number one is also the toughest.
Quickies are your new best friend. Knowing that it doesn't have to be a long drawn-out session is a lovely grown-up fact. Plus it's double the fun.
Stress Intimacy, Not Just Sex. If you’re thinking, “why would I want to have sex? I don’t have the energy to get in the mood”, you likely won’t make love at all. Instead of seeing sex as simply a physical thing, you need to see it as more. Yes, the physical is great, but when we’re tired, it can lose its appeal. But one thing that we desperately need is intimacy. We need to feel close to our husbands. We need to feel his love. That’s going to energize you!
Make Use of Other Times of Day. One of the reasons sex and parenthood don’t always go together is that night times become difficult once kids come. You have Kids not sleeping through the night. Difficult bedtime routines. Even shift work! All of these things can make sex at 11:00 pm rather difficult. But there is no reason you can’t make love at other times of day!
Talk in Front of the Kids. Sometimes we shut down sexually if the kids are anywhere around because that feels–well–wrong. But children, when they’re babies and toddlers, really don’t know what you’re saying. So don’t be afraid to flirt with your husband in front of them, or kiss in front of them, or tell your husband what you’re thinking about. When kids are with you almost every waking moment, take advantage of the fact that they don’t understand to talk sexy!
Jump in the Shower with Him. Just being naked together during the day helps you keep that spark! So if the kids aren’t awake yet in the morning, or are otherwise occupied, jump in the shower with your husband! Even if you don’t have sex, you still keep that fire going for later.
Find some time alone. For parents of older children, issues of privacy and never having enough time alone are far more important that lack of desire. You need to create a time when you can be alone together. Schedule this time if need be.