Sexual desire can nose dive after kids leaving a fire for sex after birth without a spark.

Parents in relationships glum comments:

“I don’t love my husband anymore”

“My husband is like a child”

“I’d rather masturbate than have sex with my partner”

“I don’t feel like we have anything in common anymore”

Relatable? You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you!

“It won’t happen to us we’re different”. That classic line that expectant couples tell themselves and existing parents snigger at thinking “just you wait”.

Couples don’t expect their feelings or thoughts about each other to change when a child is born. But just as individuals struggle with their self-identity as a mother or father, couples struggle to maintain their relationship identity and find time to prioritise their relationship.

What this means for your sexual relationship is, you can expect intimacy to take one of three routes after birth.

  1. Intimacy and emotional connection decrease as a result of sexual problems and lifestyle struggles,
  2. Sex is used as a tool to remain connected amid change, or
  3. New ways are found to express intimacy, like an increase in hugging and acts of kindness.

Which one did your relationship take?

Research shows that couples tend to fall into gender stereotypical roles after becoming parents. Even the most equal couples, who look at their parents and say “we won’t be like that”, fall into stereotypical behaviours. Why? Because we have been taught our “social role” since the day we were born. Dads are the breadwinners whilst mums are responsible for childrearing and the household.

Gender equality has been a changing landscape since the 1960s. Shifting priorities from running a clean, calm adult household to devoting time to raising children means mothers have less time than before because children take more effort than a house. Add in paid work outside the home for mums, and dads aren’t the only breadwinners anymore. Only recently, the world started changing its view on parental leave policies meaning we can finally alter views on childrearing responsibility. Until then, mums remain exhausted, overwhelmed and overworked.

Does this happen in your house?

  • You ask your partner to take out the rubbish.
  • You ask them a further 4 times, getting angrier and now you’re “nagging”.
  • After a couple of hours and multiple asks, you stomp out of the house to take the rubbish yourself.
  • The kids are in bed and your partner approaches you for sex.
  • You see red and tell them it’s not happening tonight and they huff off complaining about you always rejecting them.

 

Here is how to keep your relationship and sexual desire intact whilst parenting

Maintain your couple identity

What defined you as a couple before kids and brought you joy? Maybe you were the singing couple, the adventure couple, the reading couple or the travelling couple.

Don’t stop doing what made you a couple. Yes, for a while you might have to modify, but don’t stop completely. It can be harder to find it again later.

Share the workload

Remember your equals and it takes two to make a baby (not one and a sprinkle). Share your load by making a list of all the daily/weekly chores and things that create stress and fatigue. Then split them up equally (for my organiser friends this will be fun)! Just because mum may be a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ doesn’t mean she needs to do all the dinner cooking.

Understand each other’s sexual desire

Desire discrepancy in relationships is normal because our desire make-up is individual. Discuss your ideal sex frequency together and find a mutually agreed middle ground (it might be once a week for instance). Then book in your “sex day”. Remember sex is not intercourse! There are lots of intimate acts that don’t involve penetration so this should be part of your discussion.

Discuss what you need to boost your desire

No one wants to parent their partner and no one wants to be treated as a child. 71% of parents think differently about their partner after birth and the majority who negatively see their partner say they are “like a child”. Keep a check on this and call it out when it happens. Insider tip: the more equal the workload (above), the more this naturally won’t happen.

Understand what each other’s biggest barrier is. Is it exhaustion, insecure self-image or financial stress? Overcoming this barrier is key. You can find more information here.

 

Relationships evolve and evolution is exciting. Awaken your lovable sides and become the envy of all your friends. Show them that mediocre love isn’t the future. Relationship survival is about sharing and cherishing each other.

For expert help boosting your relationship connection join the Mama’s Sensual Safari today. 

Author: Vanessa Tarfon