We all know that being a mother brings many joys, but a phenomenal sex life is not usually one of them. While parenting with a partner can be the most beautiful bonding experience, it’s also a breeding ground for resentment, romantic disconnect and unsatisfying sex.
But all is not lost to a life with little ones. As a mom of two, I attest to the fact that parenthood can actually improve your sex life; and as a relationship coach, I know I’m not alone in that. But here’s the thing: you have to give it some attention. Great sex doesn’t just happen on its own.
A truly satisfying sex life after kids requires education, communication, commitment and confidence. It asks that you shift your attitude from seeing sex as a chore to something pleasurable that you have the privilege of doing with the partner you love.
And I’m here to show you how: here are 6 elements to have a great sex life after kids.
1. TIME. A great sex life requires time. I know what you’re thinking: there’s already too much on your to-do list. But you’re just as important as everything else, and you need to make pleasure a priority. Maybe you put the kids to bed 30 minutes early or swap babysitting nights with your sister-in-law for a pre-planned date night. But you need to find the time to focus on yourself as a woman and as a lover.
2. SLEEP. You need sleep to feel like a human, and you need to feel like a human to rekindle your sex life! A 2015 study found that with just one more hour of sleep a night, women were 14% more likely to engage in a sexual activity the next day. So do whatever it takes to get more sleep; take two 20-minute naps or promise yourself one early bedtime a week and see the difference it can make.
3. ASK FOR HELP. Between picking up after the kids and laundry and dishes, household responsibilities can put a toll on your relationship. After all, they provide the perfect breeding ground for resentment; and, let’s face it, resentment is the opposite of attraction. So ask for help. Yes, from your partner (research shows that sharing household responsibilities increases the frequency of sex a couple has), but also from the reinforcements. Call your mom or your best friend and ask for help, or even splurge on an agency to help you get things back in order.
4. ATTITUDE. When you want a happy and healthy sex life, you need the right attitude -- one that doesn’t treat sex and intimacy like a chore, but enthusiastically embraces sex positivity. Although it sounds difficult, it’s really just four principles. First, make sex a PRIORITY, which may mean giving up an evening playing Candy Crush to have a romantic night with your man. Then you need to do some PLANNING and put sex on your calendar. Planning intimacy does not have to take the fun out of it, but instead builds the rhythm we need for spontaneous lovemaking to occur. But you also need FLEXIBILITY to make a great sex life work, especially with parenthood. Is one of the kids sick? Push back your special night until tomorrow. Babysitter cancelled? It’s okay to settle for Netflix and a quickie. Go with the flow a little more and you may be surprised what fun you can have. Finally, FOLLOW-THROUGH and commit to these principles. If you throw in the towel after the first roadblock, you’re telling yourself and your man that your sex life isn’t important enough to fight for, which only leads to more disappointment and resentment.
5. SEX TOYS. Sex toys aren’t only for solo play, they can add fun and excitement when used with your partner. A toy, whether a vibrator or silk blindfold, brings newness to the bedroom, which can turn you on and inspire you to explore. Beyond their aphrodisiac effect, sex toys can give you the extra stimulation you need and ensure that you get your happy ending, too.
6. SENSE OF HUMOR. Parenting can bring MAJOR frustration to your sex life, and when it goes unaddressed, it drives a wedge in your relationship. Don’t let it. Approach parenting’s chaos with a sense of humor. Share your oh-my-god experiences together and laugh about them. Embrace the crazy joy parenthood offers and use it as a connection point, something that ties you together, not tears you apart.
Mamas, I know you’re exhausted. And I know sex is often the last thing on your mind. But I promise, if you put in a little bit of effort and dedication in your sex life, it pays back tenfold. You get better sex. Your relationship improves. And your husband transforms, once more, into your lover.
Dana B. Myers is the author of The Mommy Mojo Makeover: 28 Tools to Reclaim Yourself and Reignite Your Relationship, the founder of Booty Parlor, and a married mother-of-two. With a passion for helping women navigate self-love, sex and relationships after kids, Dana teaches how to create sensuality and satisfaction within the experience of motherhood and marriage. When not working or mothering, you can find her practicing hot yoga, testing out Keto recipes, and impulsively shopping on Amazon.