Sex is supposed to be spontaneous, exciting, and x-rated, right?
Well, as parents of small children it may not always feel like that. And guess what? That's normal.
Sex is different after having kids; everything is different after having kids.
Your life is changing, your relationship is evolving, and there's usually a baby crying or a toddler sleeping in between you and your partner.
But experts say these hurdles we have to jump can actually make our sex lives more exciting than ever – if we view them as challenges we're willing to overcome instead of impossible roadblocks.
So let's get down and dirty.
Here are 10 ways to ensure your s-e-x life stays as spontaneous, exciting, and x-rated as possible, even though small humans now call you 'mom' and 'dad':
1. Appreciate your partner.
partner wants to know that what he or she is doing for your family is noticed
and appreciated; big or small. So whether we're talking working full-time,
staying home with the kids, or somewhere in between, we all want to feel that our hard work is making a
And if your partner puts a load of laundry on [even remembering to
switch it into the dryer and fold it – sexy!]
that's a huge help and it's worth letting them know. Now, just because you washed the dishes doesn't mean that action is automatically coming your way. And even though your partner puts the
coffee on every morning, that doesn't mean you 'owe' them. Neither of you should be
doing these tasks for recognition, rather to simply help one another.
Appreciation makes you feel loved. Feeling loved gets the tingles going.
Tingles lead to sex. Simple as that.
2. Flirt with your partner.
How did you two land one another? Remember back. . . way back? There was some hardcore flirting at first, we're sure of it. Channel that! Dr. Diana Wiley, licensed marriage and family therapist and board certified sex therapist of over 30 years suggests that married couples and longtime partners should continue to court one another by “flirting, texting, emailing, leaving sexy notes. You should pay attention, give each other compliments." So send that sexy text, greet each other with a kiss, touch often. Be creative! Channel that flirty girl you used to be.
3. Spend quality time together sans kids.
Quality family time is super important. So is quality time for parents without the kiddos. Go to a romantic dinner, or bond over trying a new activity together. Wiley asks her couples, “when was the last time you had some fun together?" and is often met with puzzled expressions. [Answer: For many new parents, fun together has been a while.] “It's so important to have fun," Wiley says, “especially adventurous fun, because that raises levels of adrenaline which is sexually enhancing." Zip lining, anyone?
4. Go to bed at a reasonable time.
We know how valuable sleep is [truly…we do]. But instead of complaining that you're both too tired [the TTFS Syndrome as Wiley calls it – 'too tired for sex'], go to bed at a reasonable time. Therefore, you're both consciously leaving the window open for sex. We're not necessarily saying that the window needs to be opened and entered [pun intended] every night. You don't need to have sex every night. You don't even have to want to have sex every night. But get in there, girl. (And put down the iPhone.)
5. Sex doesn't have to happen in bed at bedtime.
Sex can happen during your child's nap time, right after you put the kids to bed, on a date [park your car somewhere – just don't get arrested], or in the morning while the rest of the fam is still asleep. There's a sleeping toddler in your bed, you say? Well, sex can happen in the shower, in the laundry room, on the stairs, on the couch. There are many options – be spontaneous!
6. Move your sleeping child out of your bed.
If you consistently comfort your crying baby or toddler by allowing them to come into your bed, don't worry – you don't have to stop doing that if you don't want to. Most nights, those cuddles are wonderful. Some nights, parental alone time is necessary. Make a pact with your partner to move your crying kiddo into their bed once they're back to sleep so you can get back to business. It doesn't have to happen every night, but maybe it does most nights. This way you're leaving that window open for lovemaking if the mood strikes.
7. Schedule a night or weekend away.
Wiley stresses the importance of building a childcare system, and then, planning a night or two away. “I think couples need to remind themselves that they're not just 'Mom' and 'Dad'. They're husband and wife," she explains. “You're going away for the sake of your marriage, your own self-esteem, and for your children," Wiley says. It can be tough to leave your little ones at home, but if they are with people you love and trust – try to take the time to focus on your partner. It's not selfish to want a healthy sex life and a connected marriage.
This is one of the keys to any relationship; kids or no kids. Share your feelings, hopes, dreams, and worries; confiding in one another helps to strengthen intimacy and creates a trusting relationship. Talk about topics other than your children. Stimulate your partners' brain [which can lead to other types of stimulation…] and on a more specific note – communicate during sex. Tell your partner what you like, what you don't like, what you want to try, etc. Building a strong bond will allow you to feel free to communicate your wants and needs with one another.
9. Spice things up.
This will mean different things for different couples. Whether it's satin sheets and candles, or a daring new position – spicing things up can keep sex feeling new and fresh. Remember to only do what feels right for you and your partner.
Or bring the spice rack into the bedroom—hey, we're not judging.
10. Whip out the...calendar.
It's okay to schedule sex, says Wiley --who encourages both spontaneity, and (when necessary) scheduling.
She explains: “This isn't a new idea, but it really works. Some men and some women feel like sex has to be spontaneous in order to be good. But no, not with our busy lives. Put it on the calendar. If you're planning a night out on the town and you put it on the calendar, then you can have some fun within that plan. It's the same way with sex."
We live in a child-centered world of parenting. Our children are everything to us. Know that it is okay to put your partner and your marriage first, and that it may even be the healthier thing to do.
We're raising our children to be well-rounded adults who have the tools to navigate life on their own, but your partner is going to be with you long after the kids leave home.
So remember: Putting time and thought into your sex lives is beneficial for the whole family.
Like Dr. Diana Wiley says, “Happy parents, happy children. One of the most important gifts you can give your kids is a strong marriage."
Modeling what a solid relationship looks like will likely impact your children's future relationships. In the end, we all want our sons and daughters to be in healthy, respectful relationships one day too, right?
Invest in yours, in the privacy of your own bedroom. (Or shower. We won't tell.)