Lola Augustine Brown
For many couples, maintaining an active sex life -- or any sex life -- once kids come along seems an impossible dream that has nothing to do with their reality.
“After five years of marriage and two kids, our sex life is non-existent," says Shannon, a Seattle mom with three-year old twins. "We never do anything passionate or romantic anymore, and I feel like we’ve just resigned ourselves to that. It's really sad.”
It is sad.
It is also a very common, corrosive marital dilemma and difficult (but not impossible!) to solve. The fact is, sex is vitally important component not only for a healthy relationship, but also for keeping us happy as individuals.
Parents that don't make time for themselves or their relationship are often in conflict. While they strive to keep their children's happiness and well-being a priority above all else, they end up depriving themselves of the basic things in life that make them happy, like intimacy and sex.
In reality, however, making ourselves happy is often the best thing for our child, says clinical sexologist Sonia Borg, PhD, author of Marathon Sex: Incredible Lovemaking Experiences Hotter and Longer Than You've Ever Done It Before.
If you are overwhelmed to distraction by the pressures of every day living and out of the habit of making love regularly and spontaneously; if you've convinced yourself that it's not worth the effort, that you're just too tired, too stressed and not feeling even the remotest bit sexy, then read on. You can turn that mindset around and get closer as a couple.
Make Yourself, Then Your Relationship, A Priority
Getting lost in the role of parent and forgetting who you are is not helpful to you or your family. You need to take care of yourself first, says Borg, and invest time in making yourself a happy person. That way your family gets the best of you instead of someone that is dissatisfied or resentful about her life. “It is so hard to do, but absolutely important,” she says.
Considering your own happiness may conflict with your ingrained belief system, but you have to challenge that. For example, you or your spouse may be hard-wired to believe that parenting means obligatory self-sacrifice at any cost, including your relationship. If this is the case, take steps to reprogram yourselves.
The process goes deeper than just organizing a few date nights, says Borg, because if that doesn't -- and date nights can sometimes feel like just another commitment when you'd rather be vegging at home -- then all you've done is thrown a dose of guilt into the mix.
“You and your partner have to communicate and solidify what your core beliefs are, and how they compete with your goal of having a loving and intimate relationship. This is really important communication that will help your priorities mesh,” says Borg.
Lola Augustine Brown
Lola Augustine Brown writes about sex and relationships for Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, FHM, Fashion, Flare and numerous other magazines. She also has a weekly column, Lola the Love Expert, on Sympatico.ca. Lola gained her expertise through real life experience and extensive research.