The shift from couple to family brings change in many areas: financial, career, lifestyle. Perhaps the largest however are in the area that started it all in the first place. From sleepless nights of passion to well, just sleepless nights, here’s your guide to sex after children.
Frequency: Lots and lots. More, in fact, than you will ever have again. Ever.
Foreplay: Candlelit dinners, long lingering glances, intense discussions over a bottle of wine.
He says: “God, you’re beautiful”
She thinks: “Twice in one night? Is that all?”
Contraception: The pill, diaphragm, condoms. Lots of them.
Frequency: In inverse proportion to morning sickness and/or girth.
Foreplay: Attending antenatal classes (all that massage and deep breathing, you know).
She thinks: “I am a bountiful goddess, a ship in full sail, gravid with the seed of my man.”
He says: “Whoa, you’re getting BIG!”
Contraception: Gloriously unnecessary.
Frequency: Once. Maybe. In the whole six months.
Foreplay: Anything involving lots of KY jelly.
He says: “Gee, breastfeeding sure has improved your, um, skin.”
She thinks: “Owwwwwww!”
Contraception: Fatigue and stiches.
Frequency: Regular. That is, once in a blue moon.
Foreplay: No time if anything is to happen before one or both of you are asleep.
He says: “Yes, of course you’ve lost all the weight”
She thinks: “But mostly from my boobs, damn it”
Contraception: Crossing of fingers (and usually legs)
Frequency: Only in the mornings- you’re up so early anyway.
Foreplay: Removing trucks, biscuits and children from the bed.
He says: “Don’t you think it’s time we tried for another?”
She thinks: “What would we want to do that for?”
Contraception: The rhythm method: getting it over before The Wiggles’ tape has finished.
Frequency: Weekends and holidays, but never on a school night.
Foreplay: Watching ER (particularly effective before George Clooney left).
He says: “What the … no, Daddy can’t play now… well, he’s playing with Mummy… no, it’s a grown-ups game…. yes, it has made Mummy hot…. yes, that’s probably why she’s taken off her clothes… No! NO! Stay right there!”
She thinks: “We must get a lock for that door.”
Contraception: Incidents like the above.
Frequency: Never, at least as far as your children are concerned. People that old couldn’t possibly still have sex.
Foreplay: Both of you being in bed at the same time and not out driving children around.
He says: “God, you’re still beautiful.”
She thinks: “Twice in one week? Is he mad?”
Contraception: Lying there worrying that your kids are doing the same thing.
“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*
I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves – thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.
* Gloria Steinem