When they say everything changes after kids, they mean everything. At the top of the list: sex. One partner wants it; the other doesn’t. And when by some rare cosmic planetary alignment both parties do want it, there’s no time — or, at least, no time to complete the act (something I like to call kidus interruptus).
Sexual tension takes on new meaning in the busy lives of parents. Adapting is key, and flexibility is crucial to a good, post-kid sex life (and not in the way you think). You’ve got to be able to take a different, well, position. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Click through this gallery to find out how.
What’s really the problem? Is it sex? Is it intimacy? Is it both? Typically, women crave closeness of an emotional kind, and men crave closeness of a physical kind. More than a few couples have come to this stormy sexual stalemate.
So listen up. Here is the golden rule of lovemaking: Men use sex to feel intimate, and women need to feel intimate to have sex. The solution, in a word, is foreplay. And guys, by foreplay I mean attention — talking, laughing or, umm, tickling.
But keep in mind…
It's only a problem if it’s a problem. In other words, don’t create issues that aren't there by superimposing pre-kid expectations on your post-kid sex life. You used to have sex three times a week, and now you’re down to three times a month. So? If you and your mate are both feeling sexually satisfied, who cares? Sex isn’t a score-keeping sport.
And on that note…
I know more than a few women who, after lovemaking, sigh in relief and mutter under their breath, “That should hold him for a few days." Meanwhile, men arm themselves with sexual-frequency stats like they are weapons: “We haven’t had sex in seven-and-a-half days — something’s wrong.”
There’s nothing like blame and shame to squash a struggling libido. Here’s the thing: No one’s right; no one’s wrong. You may just have different needs at different times. If you can both accept that this is a brave new world of hormonal highs and exhausted lows, then you can begin to love what you have and stop tallying up what you don’t have.
Which brings me to…
What does "good" sex feel like for you and your partner? It doesn’t have to be the kind of long, steamy love scene that would make Kristen Stewart blush. It doesn’t have to be the kind of sex you used to have, either. Your life has changed, your partnership has changed, and your sex life will change, too. That’s OK. Let it. If sex in your courtship days was hot and experimental, perhaps it will be playful in your parenting phase. Maybe you’ll master the art of the quickie.
The bottom line is...
Zoom out and see the big picture. Life is long. This is only one chapter in an expansive biography. Who knows what the sex life of your future will hold. You may have an X-rated retirement yet to come. Have faith.Photo: Dean Mitchell/iStockphoto
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