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Do you ever wonder what goes on in other people’s bedrooms?
Those of us who have small children AND a partner may have the occasional (or obsessive) question, “Is our sex life normal? Do other people do it more or less than us? Are we doing ok or is there something to worry about?” And those of us who are single parents… oh boy! Sex?!
Nature seems to have designed children to be fantastic contraceptives. It’s not like sex is so simple before having children but their presence really adds some interesting complications to doing the funky chicken, don’t you find?
When you hear about parents who are pregnant again it sort of makes you aware that they managed to actually have sex, “When did they find the time?” You might find yourself kindly wishing, “I hope it was a good one – because there’s a long dry winter ahead of them after the baby is born.”
Obviously this isn’t true for everyone, but if you have young children and you are worried that you don’t have enough sex, or your sex life nowadays is routine or too sporadic, I want to reassure you.
(I had to limit myself to couples for this post. Sorry singles, your’s will have to be another post. And I found it quite funny that this post unfolded in brief disjointed sections – quite appropriate for our topic of sex and parenting, don’t you think?)
So here’s what some couples are experiencing. I hope you will feel less alone after this – or alternatively, really grateful for what you’ve got. Most of all though, I want to say, don’t give up on the connection with your partner – keep making the effort to grab those moments of real togetherness.
“There’s no time for romance and slow sex with the kids around” she tells me, “When we get the five minutes we forget the foreplay and just get on with it. At least you know you still have sex – sort of – but I miss that time to just be in it. It’s a different quality of connection. I miss him even while he’s right there.”
“I’ve suggested we put a dvd for the kids and just have sex’, he tells me, “but she says she’s not comfortable with that. She can’t let go and just enjoy herself when they’re awake and in the next room. . And for me it’s not the same when she says, “Hurry up and finish, I can hear one of them waking up”. The only time we have sex is after they’re asleep and we’re in our bed – and by then I’m too tired really.”
Sex had always been their main way of connecting and having fun together but after their child was born, the child comes first and sex changed for her. He is scared that her lack of spontaneity and always being tired means she wants him less. He misses her full presence with him so he’s angry and hurt that sex isn’t spontaneous anymore. His fear makes him demanding and critical which just makes her feel less connected to him so she withdraws. They both feel isolated and disconnected from each other. Now he’s threatening to go find his sex somewhere else – but he doesn’t really want to.
Their seven-year old was out on a play-date and they grabbed at the opportunity to have mid-afternoon, full-volume sex. They were fully into it on top of the covers when she opened her eyes to see their child standing there watching them with a puzzled look on his face. Their feet were facing the door- which meant he had walked all the way around them to get to where he now stood.
Dad’s eyes were closed and Mom had to bang on his arm to make him stop moving.
They sat together with him and talked openly about it but afterwards he would occasionally throw himself onto his back in a spread-eagle position, or drop to his knees, waggling his hips and making loud grunting noises.
“Oh please tell me, have we damaged him for life?” she begged me with her burning face in her hands. I reassured her that while it surely must have been a shock for him, they were doing everything they could to help him process it. They sat with him and had the “when a man and woman love each other…” talk. They explained it’s a grown-up thing and were sorry he got a fright. They gave him time and space to ask all sorts of questions, “But why does it hurt? You were making funny faces and noises…” They haven’t shamed him for acting it out – which is how children process things – and the grunting thing became less frequent than before. Most importantly, they’ve made it clear he can ask more questions anytime he needs.
“But what if he does the grunting thing at school?” she groans.
People, this too shall pass. The kids will grow up and there will be time again to just have a normal complicated sex life. But don’t forget your relationship and your connection with your partner in these frantic child-filled days.
Making an effort to show your love even though you are that tired, does make a difference to the feeling between you. Nurture your relationship if you want it to be a good and lasting one. Turn towards rather than away from your partner.
I hope you have a holiday time filled with love and connection on every level.