Ok so let’s just get it out there and say the word out loud that nobody is comfortable saying out loud… Sex. Let’s not get stupid here, we’ve all had it and hopefully we all still are too. It’s not like sex is a swear word.
Let’s push it a little further and talk about…Sex After Kids
I’m not sure about you but suddenly since having kids sex is an issue. I am sure that I am not alone here and I am not going to be writing in detail about my sex life on my blog.
Firstly I am not a Kardashian so my sex life is not open to the public, but secondly this is not just about me. So I am going to keep things general here.
I just want to get things out in the open and talk about it because most likely some other women (yes line up I know it’s probably most of you) also have difficulties with sex after kids.
The thing to look at now is what exactly is causing these problems and what has changed? Duh, like everything has changed. We all want better vaginal and sexual health so what’s in our way?
Just think about it, how has your life changed in the last 5 or 6 years? (Or just take however old your kids are)
Well 6 years ago I was single, living alone and childless. Sometimes I long for those days again!
Fast forward to today I have been married for 5 years, my son is nearly three and my daughter turns five this month.
Yeah go for it, do the math I don’t care. I sometimes wonder what on earth happened because it all happened so fast! Once upon a time I was single and carefree… I blinked and I was a married mom of two.
So why exactly has sex after kids become such a problem?
Lack of Sleep, Exhaustion and Low Energy Levels
I’m just going to bundle all these things up together because they all cross over into each other.
I can clearly remember the day I started getting “mommy tired”. It was Valentine’s day 2011 and I was all emotional and teary. I could not figure out what the problem was. I felt so drained and exhausted.
A week later I found out I was pregnant. Since that day I have gotten progressively more and more tired. Pregnancy is terribly hard work.
Followed by a 42 hour labour… then a baby…. Then another baby 2 years later. When on earth do you get a moment to rest and catch up sleep?
Never, this is just the way your life is.
I never had the chance to prepare myself for pregnancy and I am a bit resentful about this.
If I could go back in time to the year before I fell pregnant and I could know what was coming I would have spend a year mostly sleeping and in my few odd waking moments I would leave the house alone and just come back again, you know just because I could.
“Mommy tired” should actually be a term and it should be distinguished from being tired or being exhausted. It is something in a league of its own. Only a mother knows what I am talking about.
A few months into being a new mommy I was sitting on the couch one night feeling “mommy tired” and I told my husband how exhausted I was. He looked at me and told me to go to bed. I replied that I can’t I am too tired to get up.
He told me I was being ridiculous.
Yes, it does sound ridiculous doesn’t it? Too tired to get up and walk a few steps to bed to go and sleep.
Have you ever felt like this?
I told my mom and she said oh she knows exactly what I mean.
I am getting a little bit of energy back now that my kids are mostly sleeping through the night and I have to just say that even now the thought of sleeping is usually much more exciting than having sex.
I look forward to sleep with a passion I never thought could be possible, at times it consumes me.
The problem is my hubby wants me to think about him and sex in that way and it is disturbing to him that sleep is taking this spot instead.
Sex After Kids – Change of lifestyle
This is something that for me has been biggie. In the past (yes my childless and single existence that seems so far away) I only had to think of myself.
This is something I struggled with. The change from being completely selfish to having to be almost completely self-less.
It is not about me and it doesn’t matter how tired I am. I must go to the shop and buy that food and I must make supper tonight. The family has to eat.
Suddenly the toilet is always covered in poop… yes toilet training is not for sissies. Everything is always sticky and it does not matter how often I do the laundry the basket only stays empty for a matter of seconds.
I don’t know about you but if I just finished scrubbing turd marks out of the toilet bowl then sex is off the cards right now.
I just can’t switch from poop to passion like that.
Forget about oral sex, do the dishes for me and scrub the poop out the toilet and that becomes better foreplay!
I have become a strange creature indeed.
Breastfeeding and enough of being touched
While I was breastfeeding I had like zero inclination towards having sex. My boobs belonged to my baby and if my boobs were touched it was awful.
I can’t explain this feeling but suddenly boobs were not sexual and they were off limits except for breastfeeding.
I had this awful feeling of being too touched all the time so anything other than the baby touching me was the feather on top that upset the entire apple cart.
Self Esteem, Hormones, Baby Blues and Post Natal Depression
A lot of this overlaps all the other points, but in a way is its own little point. I suffered from PND after my first baby. It was awful.
The changes to my body were huge and these left with a feeling of self-consciousness, having Post Natal Depression left me with feelings of being helpless and unloved. I just wish I had addressed my depression in counseling soon after becoming a new mom.
Breastfeeding causes hormonal changes too.
When you become a new mom and you start with the “mommy tiredness” and add in the breastfeeding and emotional changes it really is hard to stop and try to have sex.
At least it was for me.
I thought of sex as being something that I had to do to keep my husband happy. Not something I wanted to do.
Sex on the to do list?
This is going to sound awful but for a long time sex became like a chore.
If I don’t have sex the husband gets miserable so it must be done right? Sometimes it is not clear whether it will be easier to try and get out of sex or just to do it and get it over with.
So it becomes something that needs to be done at some stage.
Ok so today I have to do the dishes, make breakfast, dress the kids, pack the kids lunches, drop the kids at play school, go shopping, write a blog post, do the laundry, pick the kids up, make lunch, clean the kids rat cage with them, cook supper, bath the kids, read them a story, put them to bed and have sex.
In that order. That is my life.
But of course don’t let the hubby know having sex is a chore that is on the to do list right?
Men are Fragile Creatures
Men have this reputation for being strong, but the way I see it is their egos are actually really fragile.
Society does not encourage men to be in touch with their feelings and their emotional side.
The way I see it is that it is a great challenge for a man to become a father.
Firstly a man must watch as the woman he loves grows this little life inside of her and he can only experience this amazing gift through her.
He then has to watch almost completely helpless as the person he loves goes through a painful labour and birth, or perhaps watches her get cut open and a baby pulled out of her.
He watches her love this new being with a fierce passion and I am sure he feels a little left out.
He watches her struggle with her body, her emotions and her new role
Suddenly he can do no right as the mother of the baby is not happy with the way he holds his new baby or wipes his baby’s bum.
Or maybe this was just me? Maybe I was the only crazy bitch that was just not happy with the way my husband did anything? If he didn’t help he got nailed by me and if he did he got it even worse from me because he did it wrong.
His wife becomes a mother and suddenly this little creature’s well-being is put first above everything.
This new person, this mother, is now tired all the time, emotional and quite frankly a little bit crazy.
This mother just doesn’t want any sex and this is a big time self-esteem squisher.
Perhaps a big problem here is that men do things backwards?
Maybe they need the sex first to be intimate, then they feel loved and appreciated and then they can give love and support?
When it comes to sex and intimacy I am starting to wonder which comes first.
I have to say it really reminds me now of the chicken and the egg situation.
Ok so now what? What can you actually do to make things better?
Tips for having sex after kids
Ok so this post may have been entertaining so far or maybe you are nodding your heads in agreement. But although you agree that doesn’t help much with the situation of the lack of sex after kids does it?
Something that I must mention about sex after kids that is great is that although I may be fatter and covered in stretch marks there is a deeper level of intimacy on so many levels. Having someone by your side through labour and birth, having him help latch a baby to your breast and weathering the storms of PND means my husband really knows me.
He has seen me at my absolute worst and he has stuck by me like glue. We have created two perfect beings together and we are a great team when it comes to being parents.
This all counts for something. I have fallen in deeper love with my husband all over again for the most unromantic things ever.
Sex is really important for a healthy marriage and all relationships take hard work and dedication.
Talk to your husband about sex and your feelings. Try and be careful not to hurt him or bruise his ego but be as honest and straight forward as you can. Suggest ways that sex can be better and more fun.
Tell your husband what you like and what you don’t like. Tell him the truth, that if he wants sex he can make you want it.
Tell him what turns you on so he can try these things out when you are being a grumpy bear and moody.
Let him know that things can change and that he can do it.
Maybe decide on how often you want to have sex and set some sex days. You must have sex on the days you agree on and you are not allowed to have any sex on the non-sex days.
This will mean that the man knows when he is getting some and he can relax knowing his sexual needs will be met.
For the women you can relax on the non-sex days knowing you won’t be hounded for sex. You might even find you want it now that the pressure is gone, but you must stick to the rules…
By having sex on these set days will mean that you will produce feel happy hormones and you will be less prone to depression (yes its a fact) and it is also known that the more sex you have the more likely you are to want more so this can only be a good thing.
Then also focus on physical and emotional ways to promote intimacy that are not sexual. Things like back massages, holding hands, going for long walks together, physical affection, spending time without the children, going on dates and talking are all ways to promote intimacy.
Not only will these things strengthen your relationship, but chances are high that you will be having more sex in the future.
What other moms are saying about sex after kids
I asked the moms on my Facebook page to share their thoughts on sex after kids and here is what they have had to say!
I hated it just after my baby was born, I mean babs was on the boob the hole day and in my arms as he had colic.
I felt all touched out when hubby came home.
My sex drive has not been what it was and my son is nearing 3. But it is a mind set thing.
Once babs started sleeping through I had to start thinking about sex and wanting to want it. It has always been good but it’s like a switch has been turned off and I don’t know how to turn it back on.
I find thinking about sex helps a lot.
I think it’s a time in a woman’s life where she feels the least sexy.
From having baby breast feeding and giving all your time to your baby, there’s sometimes no time for even a shower, let alone a “sexy” evening.
But I guess once I got over the emotional stage, I was actually glad to know that my husband could still be aroused by me and how I look, so even though we might feel down in the dumps, it’s actually a great “pick me upper”.
After having my little girl my libido was extremely low. It took a while to come back.
It’s still not like it used to be. a few weeks after your baby is born you are too tired to do anything with hubby.
The baby takes all your energy and time
Haha Weeeeelllll my man is 39 (I’m 53) and he is gorgeous!!
We started having sex quite soon after the kids were born, although we co slept so it was sometimes tricky.
Menopause has kicked in big time in the last few years, so I don’t really feel like much, although I will never say no.
I must admit I did try what all the mammas on the mamahood group were talking about….sucking a black halls while giving a BJ.
It was as good as they promised!!
I avoided sex after birth. I had normal births with both my girls, so it took me a while to recover.
Mia was first born and with time it gradually got better.
I find sex after the second one more of a mission.
I am tired, still breastfeeding a 10 month old, need sleep, so the last thing I have on my mind is sex.
Somedays I wish I still had the pregnancy hormones as sex during pregnancy was good and the drive was there.
Sex was never the same after my baby was born. I was always tired when he wanted it. No time for anything else but being a mom. But I guess that’s the price I paid to be a mom and I’m fine with it.
I seem to have the opposite problem. My husband has no interest at all.
My little boy is one and still sees me as a mommy and not as a wife. It’s terrible.
I know it’s isn’t on purpose but the attraction isn’t there and I don’t want to force him to do anything.
Unfortunately for me from when I found out I was pregnant to now he just doesn’t see me the same.
So how do you feel about sex after kids?
My son just turned 2 and he’s still nursing, so I still have some of the hormonal causes for low libido. The added resentment of a new “chore” does not help either, but I know that the more that I try to want sex again, then my feelings with (hopefully) follow suit.
I love that you’ve coined the term “mommy tired” because OMG Yes! I actually look forward to naps for the first time in my life.
Just wait until your 2 year old stops napping… eeekkkkk. My daughter is turning 5 and she never naps in the afternoons anymore. My son is turning 3 soon too and he is fighting me when it comes to nap time… so it is touch and go if he will sleep but I can’t ever sleep because of my daughter LOL.
I found breast feeding a complete libido killer… so I hope you manage to come right soon. The libido gets so much better once you wean your child so you have that to look forward to.
Lol my eldest is almost 10 and youngest almost 4. the youngest is almost easier, pre- teens comes with a whole new rule book, its no longer physically draining its mentally draining. My hubby has learnt to be grateful that he maybe just might get noticed on the weekend if he plays his cards right lol. Im still waiting in hope for that thing called libido to show up!
I love it Kathy, he might just get noticed haha.
See that is the thing, he needs to be noticed too doesn’t he? Oh where to find the energy?
My baby is 15 months old and still sleep in our bed because I still breastfeed, that is a 1 for me. And breastfeeding driving the other kids to school while hubby work away from home and having a fulltime job is all just too much, so I am permanently exhausted and only get to rest a little bit over weekends which are in any case too short.
There you have story.
Yes lots of women feel just the same, totally exhausted and no time for anything but looking after the kids. With a 15 month old and still breast feeding it is still so hard. Hopefully when your baby is older it will get easier.It must be really hard with your hubby working away too.
Good luck mommy!
Yes, it is an issue. I believe it has to do with hormones. I’ve never been keen on it, due to past issues, but it has been completely off-putting since my child was born. We’ve been married a long time and the year after the birth was the worst time in our marriage and we considered divorce for the first time. No one warned us how horrible the first year can be, you always just hear: “aww, you’re going to have a baby, how wonderful”. We weathered it and got through it, thank God.
I’ve asked hubby to get something to help boost my libido, since he’s the one that wants the act to happen. He was also really great that first year when he saw how much I suffered. It was so bad that I would often break down and cry from sheer exhaustion. The feeling that you can’t get up? I’ve had it a lot. Never had sleep issues before, but have insomnia since LO was born.
Hubby was great, he told me he would not expect ANYTHING from me until the first year was up. I loved him so much for that and it made me want to throw him a bone one in a while, which he didn’t expect and made him grateful in turn.
You are so right about discussing the issue. Another solution you might maybe want to add to your article is, after the open chat with hubby, hand some of the chores off to him so that the tired mommy can recoup. Let him take the kids for half a day on say, Saturdays, so that mom can just feel human again. It really, really helps. Women are inherently givers, while men are takers. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how we’re wired. So you have to let your guy know that you NEED him (he loved being needed) to help. And women have to learn to let go, sometimes. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, trust him to get it done in his own imperfect way and the child will still be alive when you get back from your spa-treatment.
Also recommended to all married women : Five Languages of Love (book). You can identify your love language and your hubby can fill your “tank”. His love language will most likely be “physical attention”. But if you can identify yours, he’ll know what to do to fill your emotional tank so that you will be able to give back again. Strongly recommend.
OMG you are spot on! That first year after having a baby is truly tough on a marriage isn’t it?
Your husband sounds like an absolute gem, so cherish him and I am so glad that you both made it through that year.
I will so get that book, thanks for the advice. I am sure I have heard the name before, maybe my counselor mentioned it to me before.
Well said. I thought i was the only mommy feeling like this. My husband has a major issue about sex. I told him about this piece and he still just told me its my duty to keep him happy….. I sometimes feel like i must keep everybody happy except myself.
I know what my duties are as a mommy of two and a housewife but these past few months just feel like i dont get ahead of anything. The thing that puts me off the most of sex is my body. It has changed allot since my two boys. Although my husband says it doesnt bother him cause i gave life to his sons. He sees past it. But i just dont.
I tried a new diet last month and as the devil wants it i picked all my weight up again…dammit. Like i said….i struggle to get in the right mind set these days.
Oh my gosh Lydia, I really feel for you. I know what you mean about always putting others first but it really is important to put yourself first sometimes too.
I struggled very much with my weight since giving up smoking, for the first time in my life. Seriously I think that acceptance is really important here.
A few months back I had Mama Mio from London ask me for a quote on how my body survived pregnancy and I just thought OMG what do you mean? My body never survived pregnancy!
Anyway I gave them a quote but it was more how I am accepting of (ie resigned to) how my body is after pregnancy than it surviving LOL.
Lynne, Ive also read some of your addiction posts and i absolutely LOVE the way you throw things out there that most mommies or people will not talk about!!! I also battled after my daughter was born – like you said it felt like such a chore – the thought just never crossed my mind!!! But its amazing how things change, haha…. my daughter is now 4 and im a single mom and to be honest – when my little one is at her Dad… this is ALL i can think about now – LMAO 🙂
Tamara, oh so you are following my addiction blog too, yeah that one is quite raw isn’t it? LOL
Well with the sex after kids thing, you know I bet we are all thinking the same thing right? I just thought I would say it out loud!
I do yes 🙂 It is raw yes, that’s what i love about it – you cant be completely honest without being raw!!! Its refreshing Lynne 🙂
I absolutely loved it. Im a bit nervous about that since im 8 and a half months preggers with number 3 and sex is already becoming an issue with having 2 boys already…. i have no time to myself let alone time for being sexy. I dont know what to do but thank u for making me feel human again with that article…..
Danielle I think the whole point here is that we are all going through similar issues and while we may not really have the answers it is nice to have a good giggle about it and know that we are not alone!
Have to keep the thing going but find it hard. Soooo tired.
I bought Monogamy… havent played yet but looks cool.
@lynne i totally agree mommy tired should be used as a term…i must first 3 months both me and hubby where to tired for any sex and yes his a man so he started to feel huge need in sex but he was so understanding. I didnt feel like it has changes yes not as much as previously but still the same when it happens. I see amazon have some cool goodies trying to find someone selling pure romans is hard so amazon is a option for the spice up nights LOL
Yes you are so right about the first year of marriage after having a baby is really tough and sex after kids is a really sore point for me.
I found out a few months after my second baby was born that my husband had been cheating on me since I was pregnant. He blamed it all on me and said that it was because we hardly ever had sex anymore.
I kicked his cheating ass out and he moved in with this other woman but now he begs for me back and to be a family. Everyone tells me I should give him another chance for the sake of our family. Seriously? When he was off bonking around while I was heavily pregnant and then also looking after a newborn baby, as well as our first child.
Yes I agree that sex after kids becomes hard and the libido takes a huge knock but it is something a married couple should work on together. Once trust has been broken through infidelity I doubt a relationship can survive and flourish!
OMG @lyndsay I am so sorry for what you went through, I can’t imagine how painful that must have been.
I have to agree with your opinion on infidelity. Before I got married I had been cheated on a number of times and personally I can’t see a relationship movimg past that. Even if it could be mended I don’t think I would want to try. So much pain and the trust issues…
You live, you learn and you get stronger for what you go through. Its just one of those things isn’t it? You commit your life to someone and then they trash it.
That was a few years ago, I am happy now and really enjoying my kids. It is hard sometimes but I am glad I am alone now. I don’t even want to date. I have everything I need with my kids.
Great tips but it’s really not easy sex is the last thing in my mind am always tired and with my 5 years old between me and hubby it’s just a mood killer he doesn’t want to sleep alone at all
I couldn’t agree more, we have our 3 year old most nights in our bed and that makes it even more tricky. In summer its not too bad to move him once he is asleep but now in winter when the nights are so cold I don’t have the heart to move him when he is so snug next to me.
@vhutshiloali1 I have it perfect – two kids in the bed and no hubby 🙂
This article really hits home for me and is very relevant to what I’ve been going through.
I had my baby two years ago and I’m only starting to show signs of interest in sex now. I nodded my head a few times while reading this post and even laughed out loud a couple of times.
“Mommy tired” is definitely the term for what I felt most days and my husband doesn’t get it … at all.
Especially those first few weeks after JD was born. Getting up four to five times a night, breast feeding and dealing with the drastic lifestyle change, it definitely took it’s toll on me.
I started to understand what the phrase: “even my tired is tired” is all about. It described exactly what I was feeling.
After my C-section we had to wait six weeks before attempting to have sex. I welcomed this because I did not feel like having sex at all and it was not because I have no interest in my hubby or I didn’t find him attractive anymore. It had nothing to do with him as a person. It was all on me. The changes my body went through and the responsibility of keeping this little person fed and happy all the time.
Another factor that I had to deal was, was experiencing physical pain while having intercourse.
Even as long as 18 months after giving birth. I thought something was wrong with me. But then I googled it and I found an article that gave me some peace of mind. I wasn’t alone. A lot of women goes through this and there is a medical explanation for it. I wrote a forum topic about it to create awareness.
We as women and mothers are already so hard on ourselves, but we have to remember that we are only human and we can’t always help going through emotions and changes that men will not understand or comprehend, because they didn’t carry a baby for nine months and they didn’t go through everything that goes along with it.
Now that JD is sleeping through, I am happy to report that I can have a well deserved night’s rest most nights.
I try to keep my hubby happy as well with more frequent bedroom activity but I have to agree with you. I still prefer my sleep over sex. Just thinking about sleep makes me happy.