I understand if people are wondering how I could possibly suggest that new moms engage in one more damn thing when they already have so much on their plate. in fact, I can understand if people have rage-clicked this link, expecting an anti-feminist, gender normative screed about "satisfying your partner even when you're not feeling it." My intention here was neither to burden nor scandalize you, dear reader, but to suggest that the reasons new moms should have maintenance sex are (or at the very least can be) good for everyone involved.
What is maintenance sex? Basically it's sex whose primary function isn't irresistible animal magnetism to your partner but, rather, sex you have to reaffirm your relationship. Of course, no one should be having sex they are actively opposed to. Moreover, no one should be coerced into having sex for the sake of a relationship because that's creepy (to the point of being terrifying). However, I think we've all been in a situation where we're not feeling it, but we're not not feeling it. For many of us, the default that our bodies are happy to maintain is "resting," or as "resting" as you can get with a new baby in close proximity. A commitment to maintenance sex gives you a little nudge to say, "Oh go ahead. You know you kind of want to. Push through the apathy."
True facts: in 2009 I had the opportunity to pose questions to famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer for a public program called "Sexually Speaking: Questions and Answers With Dr. Ruth."
First of all, Dr. Ruth is, perhaps, our most important global citizen. Secondly, she is sweet and adorable and smart as a whip. So, as you can imagine, the fact that I was able to ask her a billion sex questions is going on my tombstone one day. Among the oodles of great advice and information she shared that evening, the best tidbit I took away was actually on the topic of maintenance sex. She admitted that "scheduling sex" can be unromantic and can even put pressure on a couple. So she said don't schedule sex, schedule "naked cuddle time." She went on to say, "You can have some romantic bonding with your partner and there's no pressure to perform, but chances are you'll start something with all that naked cuddling, and if not you still had a sexy good time."
Listen to Dr. Ruth, you guys. She knows what she's talking about. I think there's great wisdom in this, and I think there are lots of good reasons maintenance sex is worth the effort, especially for new parents.
Sex Is Fun
I mean just consider all the silly and fun euphemisms for sex. Roll in the hay. Bumping uglies. Dancing the horizontal mambo. How can something like that not be fun? Also, you know, it gets you right in the tingly bits, which is fun in a totally different but possibly even more awesome way.
Your Orgasms Are Still Important
There are a whole lot of benefits to orgasm other than just feeling amazing which, if you ask me, is reason enough to keep it a priority. But here's something people don't always tell you but is nevertheless true: you may achieve orgasm differently after you have a baby. This can be scary for some couples and/or disheartening when those trusty standbys just aren't doing it for you. Maintenance sex enables you to work through that period of uncertainty by "relearning" your body and how to treat your fancy bits right.
Your Relationship Is Still Important
Sex plays an important role in most relationships. It's generally not the alpha and omega of a couple's priorities, but it's on the "Happy Healthy Partnership To Do List," for most people. Sure, sometimes it's going to be moved to the bottom of the list because other things are going to be more important, but it rarely falls off it entirely.
As a new parent, especially in the early days, it's easy for each of you to get caught up in your own head and focus exclusively on your responsibilities to your child. But while it may take more effort to maintain a close partnership than in days past, the effort will be worth it because it will actually make parenting easier in the long run. Sex isn't going to a panacea for all relationship challenges, but it can't hurt and will probably help keep your good thing going.
Sex Can Be A Great Bonding Experience
Granted, so too can, like, backgammon or hiking, but those things won't give you an orgasm (under typical circumstances).
PS: if anyone knows any board games or hiking trails that give you an orgasm, go ahead and DM me. I'd be curious to know for, um, important journalistic reasons.
Ruts Can Be Hard To Climb Out Of
Once you forgo sex for long enough, it can be tricky to get back into the swing of things, especially if ignoring your sex lives has been a source of resentment or has engendered some kind of insecurity. Maintenance sex, while not always glamorous, allows you to skip over this issue.
Physical Limitations Encourage Creativity
Giving birth can definitely make your "sensitive areas" even more sensitive, but in a bad way. Tearing, scars, and just generally shifting around can make what were once your favorite positions or activities downright painful.
However, this doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel. Play around with different ways to get off — you may wind up discovering something you like just as much as your previous favorite things. (Big hint: "sex" doesn't have to mean "vaginally penetrative sex.")
Takes Your Mind Off #Momlife For A Little While
When her kids wouldn't leave her alone, my grandmother is famous for saying "This isn't mom. This is Sam. Mom is on a beach in Acapulco." Grandma understood that, sometimes, you just need to completely disassociate yourself from any aspect of your mom life and responsibilities.
Turns out, sex is a great way to do that (you know, when Acapulco sunbathing is out of the question).
It's A Nice Way To Stick It To The Patriarchy By Disproving The Idea That Mothers Can't Be Sexual
Yeah, that idea that once you're a mom you're not interested in sex anymore? Eff that noise, you guys. I will have none of it. I will overcome my exhaustion and the fact that I haven't showered in several days to have maintenance sex just to prove how ridiculous and stupid that idea is.
It Can Be A Nice Ego Boost
Of course no one should base their self-esteem upon whether or not someone else finds them desirable, not even their romantic partner. However, let's be honest here: your romantic partner thinking you're sexy is bound to make you feel sexy, right? Ain't nothing wrong with taking delight in feeling desirable.
Maintenance Sex Means You Will Soon Have Another Chance To Get It On When Your Child Inevitably Interrupts You
Because OMFG, it's like they have some sort of sensor built in to their little baby brains that goes off just as you're about to go for it. WTF, kid?