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Pop culture might lead us to believe that single people are having all the good sex and us married folks are lucky to get anything at all. But, for a lot of couples, sex gets better after a walk down the aisle.

I'll put it like this: The escapades I had before my husband were a lot like fast food—quick and unsatisfying. On the other hand, married sex is like having a five-star, live-in chef. So, why is it so hard to sell the idea married people are having the best sex of their lives?

"The belief that singles are having better, hotter sex than those of us in long-term relationships is largely because of some pretty outdated—but pervasive—cliches about marriage," says Sarah Hunter Murray, sex researcher and relationship therapist. With a doctorate in human sexuality and years of professional experience, Hunter Murray says it baffles her how many false assumptions about sex in marriage persist.

"It always leaves me feeling pretty perplexed, because most people today marry someone they are deeply in love with, someone who is their best friend, and someone they eagerly and enthusiastically want to share their life with," she says. "Still though, those negative ideas about marriage exist and they naturally extend to our views about sex in that context."

The popular idea of singles being more sexually satisfied is also influenced by ideas that have little to do with sex, Hunter Murray explains.

According to her, single people are thought of as being more carefree and younger than married people, while long-term partnerships are associated with responsibility, aging and other "unsexy" concepts, such as child rearing. As she puts it, "Those things just don't lend themselves to thinking about great, frequent or passionate sex."

Why we need to reconsider married sex

Despite the less sexy reputation of marriage, Hunter Murray says chances are good that the best sex a person will have in their life will be with a long-term partner. Statistically speaking, the odds are in your favor. (Lots of years together means lots of sex.) Plus, the person sleeping on your left likely knows you better than one who just swipes left.

"Single sex can be super fun sex. It's usually passionate and exciting and novel. But it's also likely to be a bit awkward, emotionally uncertain and, sometimes, filled with regret," says Hunter Murray.

In contrast, the deeper level of comfort and intimacy that comes along with marriage is good for your sex life. Just think about all the opportunities to discover what you and your partner like in bed. (After all, women are more likely to orgasm from sex with a long-term partner than a casual hook-up.)

"You can experiment. Switch it up. Do better," says Hunter Murray. "Trial and error is key for growth in our sexual knowledge of ourselves and our sexual skills. And that's something that a longer-term relationship can offer."

Also, who is going to be more understanding of how kids affect your mojo than the person you created them with? As certified life coach Kate Mason says, the key to keeping your post-baby sex life hot (and it can be!) is communication... and designated date nights.

"Date nights, even if they happen just once a month, are so important for couples," she said. "I tell my husband we have to go on a date at least once a month so that I can remember how funny and cute he is."

Married sex isn't just about pleasure

Intimacy within a marriage plays a role in the quality of a couple's sex life. Studies show that intimacy, affection and closeness have unavoidable effects in the bedroom.

Specifically, the science shows our relationship dynamics outside the bedroom impact what goes on inside it—and vice versa. But sexual health researchers and experts offer different perspectives on whether the intimate nature of marriage kills or ignites sexual desire.

"On one hand, being overly familiar with our partner can make them less desirable," Hunter Murray explains, adding that walking in on someone in the bathroom or seeing them in stained pajamas aren't exactly sexy moments.

"On the other hand, the increased bond, trust and intimacy that occurs in healthy relationships is often the fuel that couples need to feel safe, to experiment sexually and to talk more openly about their sexual likes with someone they love and feel loved by," she says. "From my experience as a researcher and therapist, I definitely align more with the second camp."

Your best sex may be yet to come

If you're married but don't think you're living your best sex life, don't give up. Your best sex could be just a date night away. (This is your cue to book a babysitter now.)

"Too many people get frustrated with their sex lives and assume things are just doomed to stay the way they are. Or they believe that their less-than-satisfactory sex life is an indication that their relationship is going south," says Hunter Murray.

She says people experiencing boring or sparkless married sex sometimes wonder if that means they aren't meant to be with their spouse. But, more often it means that the couple needs to talk more about what they like and don't like—and make an appointment with each other.

"Those who make time and effort to schedule sex with one another have much better and much more satisfying sex than those that don't," Hunter Murray explains. "So simply holding the belief that your sex life will ebb and flow over time, and that you can work through sexual slumps, is the biggest step towards making sex more exciting and passionate again."

Or, as Sarah Forbes, curator of the Museum of Sex, puts it the beauty of married sex is realizing it's about so much more than intercourse. "Shortly after I got engaged my grandmother felt it was her duty to call me and say: 'Sex is very important in a marriage,'" she said. "Only now, two kids later, more stressed and exhausted than I've ever been do I really understand how on point her statement was."

If you're experiencing a slump, don't compare your sex life to that of some imaginary, sexually satisfied single (in my experience, solo pizza nights as a single were more satisfying and more common than sex). Instead, talk with your partner about what's going on in the bedroom.

And if you are married and enjoying your best sex life, congratulations. You have to share your pizza, but you also have a best friend to share the most intimate part of your life with.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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