Disclaimer: the following post is written by a KMB team member about her personal experience with sex, sex and marriage, how sex changes after kids, and other topics as they relate to sex. The views and opinions in this post are purely and entirely the author’s and neither KMB nor the author claim to be an expert on the subject matter.
How do you get ‘in the mood’?
No, no, please don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical; y’know, just answer it to yourself. Silently. In your mind.
While you’re thinking about it, though, change it up a bit: how did you get in the mood, way back before your kids and hormones and stretchy belly and saggy boobs changed everything? Ah, yes. Changed everything.
Chances are, as your life and circumstances and body have changed, so have your methods for mentally and physically preparing yourself for that blessed, blessed union with your partner…or maybe they haven’t. Maybe you’re like me – or like I was – stuck in a sexual rut, wondering why things in the bedroom are so stale or so nonexistent, wondering how long this could go on before you or your husband start looking elsewhere to meet those needs. If that’s you, let me tell you, friend: you are not alone. And even better, there is hope! The answer is simple and weird and awkward and difficult and requires a lot of adjustment…but it works, and believe me, it’s worth the effort.
You’ve got to talk about it.
Talking about sex can be really weird, even when you’re talking to the one person with whom you are actually having sex. This is especially true when you haven’t been having good sex or much sex at all lately. Remember though that you pledged your lives to one another – if you can be open and honest and vulnerable and trusting with each other in every other area of your life, then you should definitely be able to talk about intimacy. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:
- Talk about the problem(s). What’s holding you back? My husband and I have this conversation regularly, whenever we find ourselves getting into a rut. Maybe you feel physically depleted by your life of raising littles, with them touching and needing and nursing all the livelong day. Maybe stress at work leaves you mentally distracted, so you have a hard time getting your head in the game. Maybe those postpartum hormones are making intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. Whatever your reasons are, name them. Be honest. Your partner can’t understand you – and you can’t understand your partner – if you don’t first know what you’re dealing with.
- Talk about what you need. There has to be understanding and compromise in just about every area in order for marriage to work. Sex is just the same. Once you have identified the problems in your sex life, you can be reasonable about what needs to happen in order to address them. Brainstorm with your partner, and be creative and flexible! Maybe you need more time for foreplay. Maybe you need a few minutes of quiet after the kids are asleep to clear your mind before you go to bed together. Maybe you need the kiddos to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a bit so you can focus. Whatever it is, be willing to work together. For me, it is easy to get so caught up in parenting that I forget about being a lover. When I was in a particularly mind-numbing phase of mothering, sex never even crossed my mind, and I was totally oblivious to my husband’s advances. Eventually he agreed to tell me in the morning if he wanted to have sex later that night. That way I could be thinking about it all day, and by the time we got the kids in bed I was excited for grown-up time. Sure, it took away some spontaneity during that season of our life, but planned sex is a whole lot better than no sex.
- Talk about what you want. Saying what you like is not just for dirty talk during the act. (Although, that’s fine too, if that’s your thing.) Discuss it outside the bedroom too. Sure, you can talk about positions or role play or whatever you’re into, but you can also dream with your husband about what you would like from your sex life. How often do you want to have sex? What’s your favorite location or time of day for sex? What’s your favorite kind of foreplay? When do you prefer to climax? Go ahead, talk about it! You might be surprised what you learn about your spouse! And be willing to compromise if needed to make those things happen. Be creative and work together. This is your life partner, remember? He’s worth it.
A few years ago, I attended a women’s group that invited some older moms to have an “ask anything” Q&A session for those of us in the younger stages of parenting. My question was about sex. My husband was frustrated with me for never being spontaneous, but I thought he was pushing me to do things that made me uncomfortable. I argued that my limitations were purely out of respect for our children, who were still very needy but old enough to get out of bed and open doors. I only wanted to have sex in the bedroom with the door locked. I didn’t want to feel rushed in the morning, but I didn’t want to wake up early for sex and be tired the rest of the day. By the same token, I wanted to have sex late enough at night that the kids would be asleep, but not so late that I was exhausted or would be exhausted the next morning. I felt like these were all very reasonable conditions! How could I convince my husband that this was best for our family?
The panel of moms all turned to each other and laughed. One looked at me with that “bless your heart” expression Southern women know so well, and she said, “Honey…chill out.” And they moved on to the next question.
As another KMB mama pointed out, we all go through seasons in life, and the same is true for our sex lives. Sometimes you and your partner will need to take time, show grace, and communicate, communicate, communicate to get over those hurdles. And sometimes it’s as simple as “honey…chill out.” Whatever it takes, remember that your partner, your husband, your marriage, your sex life are totally worth the effort of working through these issues. And in the end – I promise – the reward you will reap is really. killer. sex. You’ll be glad you did it. 🙂
Previous posts in the KMB After Dark series:
- Let’s Talk About Sex (Before and After Babies)
- Worth the Wait
- When the Past Pursues Us: How Premarital Sex Stalked Me Into Marriage