One thing you might not have understood about starting a family was how it would impact your sex life. I wonder sometimes if it’s one of those ‘Fight Club’ things where once you are a parent you never mention it. In my experience it can be quite confusing, frustrating and leaving you wondering what happened.
I assume every couple has a different experience centred around some or all of the following themes:
Physical recovery – whatever kind of pregnancy you had or the birth method, there is a huge strain on the female body. This needs recovery time and there is a period when sex is just not going to happen.
Tiredness – a new child takes a lot of time, energy and interrupted nights. This means you are both likely to be tired. Very tired. In this period sex becomes much less of a priority and beds are designed for sleeping, after all!
Hormonal and physical changes – the physical focus of the couple changes from being designed to make babies to caring for them. This certainly affects the mother more directly than the father, from mood change to breasts starting to fulfil their new function of providing food.
Practicality takes over – starting before birth, there is a much greater focus on logistics, planning and (for most couples) economics. Sex is now competing for valuable time that needs to be devoted to getting kids to school, picking up the extra workload around the home or reduced space and privacy.
Desirability – which inevitably changes between the two of you once you have a child. Bodies change shape, you are both getting older and definitely not younger. These changes do not necessarily result in a reduction in desire for each other but is certainly likely to be a change nonetheless.
Putting all this together I will make a prediction.
After you start a family, you are very likely to suffer a significant reduction in how much sex you have as a couple.
If you are the exception, then you can stop here (though I would love to hear how you managed in the comments section). If this applies to you then here are some ideas that might help:
1. Accept the change and embrace it as much as possible
Fighting inevitable change is a recipe for frustration and stress. Do what you can to accept that your changing sex life is normal as you start a new chapter in your life. Once you can accept it then you can find ways to move forward rather than getting stuck in trying to recreate ‘the good old days’. Focus instead on creating a sex life that works and is as fulfilling as you can make it.
2. Create opportunities rather than wait for them to appear
Bring your new found organisational skills to the job of finding time and space for sex. If you wait for the right moment to spontaneously appear then you might get lucky. More likely you will get disappointed. When is the best time? How to arrange some privacy? Book time with each other – a date night, a romantic weekend away? If you work away from home then take a day off together or come home early. It may not be sexy to schedule sex time, but neither is it sexy not to have sex at all.
3. Find other ways to show your desire for each other
Sex is not the only way to have physical intimacy. Stroking, cuddling, touch, kissing. Tell your partner what you find attractive and desirable. Dance. Show with your eyes how hot you find your partner. Get creative with exploring new ways you both enjoy to express sexuality.
4. Focus on quality not quantity
When it comes to sex, a lot of high quality sex might be the ultimate goal. When you are just not able to have a lot of sex, focus on the quality instead. Then when you do have opportunity and energy make it as fulfilling and connecting as you can. What is high quality sex for each of you? Explore new ways of love making that take you deeper into each other.
5. Talk about it
Talk and listen to each other. Share how you are experiencing your relationship and your sex life. What are you happy about? Where are your frustrations? What can you do to make changes? Sex is a deeply personal topic for every couple – and an important one. For many it is a subject of discomfort to discuss it. And you might not have noticed when you could do it. When that is no longer true then you need to overcome your barriers to talking about.