Having a fulfilling sex life in and of itself can prove difficult. Maybe you're really busy, your sex drive and your partner's sex drive doesn't line up, or your allergies haven't let up even a little bit in months, which makes you feel like a pile of garbage with zero desire to bang. The one thing, in my experience, that presents the biggest routine challenge to having the sex life you want, though? Kids. So what are some tricks to keep your sex life alive postpartum? I reached out to some of my trusty parent friends to ask what real people are doing to remedy the fact that they're often too busy to, you know, get busy.
Of course we all love our kids. After all, they're beautiful, beloved little creatures who make our lives better. Still, and this is a very true story, my daughter's nickname was C.B. for a reason. (It stood for a term that rhymes with "bock clock.") Even if you luck out and have a baby who doesn't have a sixth sense and starts crying every time you and your partner so much as kiss, new parenthood finds other ways to rob you of conjugal bliss. Be it through hormonal weirdness, birth-related injuries, or just plain old exhaustion, having children presents annoying and frustrating challenges. Still, and this should be encouraging, they're not always insurmountable.
Here are some helpful tips 12 parents had to offer when I asked how they managed to stay happy in their sex lives after babies.
"First, I scheduled sex without telling my husband I was scheduling sex. I made myself initiate sex at least once every 10 days. For a long time postpartum I had no drive, and then between work and kids I had no energy, and it did impact our relationship. So I put myself on a calendar and once I got used to it, I was more looking forward to it.
Second, trashy smut romance novels. Boys may have a spank bank but I liked reading things that got me mentally in the mood, and a good smut book was the key. Thank goodness for the kindle so no one could tell what I was reading!"
"Early bedtimes! Kids are lights out by 7:30 p.m. which gives us time together every night. We've never had an issue maintaining our sex life."
[Writer's note: I feel like a lot of moms are going to read this and be way more interested in figuring out how Tracy gets her children to sleep by 7:30 then they are with how to get your sex life back. #Priorities #MomLife]
"Benefits of husband working from home = sexy naptime."
Hide and be quiet.
[Writer's note: Word, Charlie. Word.]
"I really struggled with this. I have postpartum depression/postpartum anxiety, and my medication made me have absolutely no desire. For a bit I would force myself to have sex even if I wasn't in the mood, and I always enjoyed it after I got over the initial hurdle of 'I'm not in the mood.' Recently I discovered a product that puts me in the mood so quickly because it makes the sex so enjoyable; like four orgasms during last night's romp! So in other words, just work through the rough patches and use oils if they make it better for you!"
[Writer's note: I feel like Indiana Jones should have skipped looking for the Ark of the Covenant and the grail and spent more time finding this magical elixir "Emily" is talking about.]
We schedule it. Saturday night is "sex night."
"We make an effort to keep up our kinks, even when we're tired. We don't bust out the paddles and rope every time, but our 'proclivities' are an important part of our sexual identity, as a couple and as individuals, and we don't want to lose that even though it would probably be easy to in the midst of caring for an infant and a toddler. We have to keep the noise down now, though."
"I confess, it's never quite gotten back to pre-child levels, and our oldest child is 2.5 years old. Between the hormonal fluctuations and the nursing and the sleep deprivation, the first year or so was rough. Too tired, too dry, just didn't need someone else pawing at me. Even after I weaned at 19 months, which I thought would help with my libido, I was just not all that interested. So sex still took some effort, some lube, and tended to focus more on him than me because really, I knew an orgasm for me would take a lot of time and effort and I'd rather sleep than stress about how long it was taking. We wanted more children, so there was a lot of carefully-timed sex, and it worked — I'm having our second in August — but we both joke about how our sex life (the intercourse part anyway) is on hiatus until 2018 (pregnancy sex is a bad idea because I have a 'friable cervix,' which means when anything that bumps into it it bleeds, and after the first time that happened we were both so panicked by the blood that it killed our interest in intercourse entirely)."
"Don't be stingy on last minute quick bang out sessions: it may be the only chance you get for a while! If you can only get some for give minutes at 7 a.m. before the c*ckblocking kids get in the way, then so be it!"
"Role playing. Sometimes it's hard for 'Lucy' a.k.a. 'Jane's mommy' a.k.a. 'Evelyn's wife' to get into the groove. But the seductive secretary having a sapphic affair with her boss is always DTF."
"This might not be exactly what you're looking for, but admitting we both had no interest in sex was extremely freeing. We were never particularly sex-crazed, after the baby even less so. But after a few months postpartum, the fact that we still hadn't sex again was becoming an elephant in the room. Finally he broached the subject and we realized that neither of us has ever really been interested in sex more than a few times a year. That more often than not we were just doing it to 'keep the other person happy.' But we were really happiest just kind of being mostly sexless. It sounds so cliché, but talking openly about sex made our relationship so much better... just not in the way it does for most couples, I guess."
[Writer's note: That's exactly what I'm looking for, "Charlotte"! It's not about getting a particular KIND of sex life, it's about having the kind of sex life that makes you the happiest in spite of challenges!]
"Exercise. It sounds weird, but it keeps my energy and hormones at the right levels that keeps my vagina from shriveling up in neglect. Also masturbating before or after."
[When asked to clarify]
"Before or after sex, not exercise, though I guess you could try that, too. Thanks for the idea!"
[Writer's note: You're welcome, Nancy. I'm here to help.]