Sex after kids is very different to sex before children. Gone are the days of hours of tantalising foreplay and swinging from the chandeliers.
Once you become a parent, sex is more likely to happen when you pause a box set for 5 minutes to fit in a quickie, with one ear open in case the kids call out for you.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t as much fun, as loving or as meaningful. Here’s the real truth about sex after kids.
The fear of thing being different ‘down there’
Let’s face it the first time you have sex after a baby is pretty daunting. You’ve pushed something the size of a watermelon out of a hole that’s quite a lot smaller. After birth the thought of anything going near that place again feels terrifying.
As a mama you’re all too aware that – ahem – you might be a bit more ‘roomy’ down there and stress about whether any episiotomy scars have healed.
Unless you’re the most body confident mom in the land you worry about whether the new wobbly bits are at all attractive.
So that first time is pretty scary – physically and mentally. The good news is that, however much you worry, it will be OK. And your partner will have all sorts of new feelings about how amazing you are to have brought your new baby into the world. Here’s what one new dad had to say:
The first time we had sex after our baby wasn’t wild or without a lot of stop and go (mainly because of the pain), but it was different in a really amazing way. I kept looking at her and all of these crazy feelings popped up for this person who was amazing me in new ways. It was more emotional. Tom
Sleep vs sex
Since becoming parents, the thing my wife and I do naked most often is to fall asleep while discussing the possibility of having sex. @SteveOlivas, Twitter
When you spend all day (and much of the night) looking after a small baby then it’s no surprise that whenever you get a chance to lie down you choose sleep over sex. And it’s true that your sex life can take a bit of a nose dive.
A recent survey from Channel Mum revealed that 3 out of 5 couples said their sex lives diminished after becoming parents.
But, it’s not just lack of sleep that can lower your libido. New mums report feeling ‘all touched out’.
They spend so long with a baby in their arms, suckling at their breasts or with a toddler who reaches out for them and clings to them all day that they crave some physical solitude when they get time alone.
Dads can feel less in the mood too
It’s not just the mums who feel like having sex less after baby arrives.
A recent study revealed that new dads experience a drop in testosterone of about a third.
If they help out with childcare for three hours or more a day then they see a further drop of 20%.
Scientists believe this hormonal change is something that’s developed to make new dads more nurturing and caring towards their newborn baby.
Squeezing it in when you can
Dear parents who photograph their children napping or set up dinosaur scenes while their kids are sleeping: You should be having sex. @SarahThyre, Twitter
In the Channel Mum survey 83% of couples said there was a shift after becoming parents, when it came to sex. They focused more on quality over quantity.
Despite lack of sleep and lowered libidos 45% of new parents surveyed said that starting this new journey together made them feel more “attracted and closer” to each other.
As new parents you often have to squeeze in sex when you can. Sometimes that’s in the kitchen when you’ve put the baby to bed. Sometimes it’s on a Sunday afternoon when your toddler has a nap.
And grabbing these snatched moments can feel as exciting and as forbidden as it did when you were a teenager.
Foreplay and fancy lingerie take on a different meaning
There’s usually just no time for prolonged seduction and extended foreplay once the kids arrive.
It’s more a case of revving things up quickly to make the most of the little time you’ve managed to set aside for sex.
And when you’re partner has seen you knee deep in nappies and wearing your comfiest joggers, just making a small effort like putting on matching underwear can be enough to get the engines revving again.
Just put on fancy socks and a night shirt with no food stains so I can try to seduce my husband later. @AshleyAustrew, Twitter
One ear and one eye open
You try your best to lose yourself in the moment but you’ve always got one ear open listening out for the baby crying or for your toddler to call out ‘Muuuummmmmy’ or ‘Daaaadddy’.
You keep one eye open in case tiny people burst into the room without warning. It’s quite hard to let yourself go completely when you worry being interrupted.
Sexting makes a comeback
Let’s face it – as a parent some of the sexiest texts you can get from your partner are those like ‘Don’t worry about tea – I’ll pick up fish and chips on the way home’ and ‘My Mum said she could babysit next Saturday’.
But it’s also exciting to send a few elicit texts telling each other how much you want each other and what you’d like to do when you can both get your hands on each other.
Admittedly by the time you both reconnect you’re too knackered to make good on the promises you texted. But it’s still nice to know the thought was there.
Sex can be better than ever
You might choose sleep over sex more often than you feel is acceptable but the truth is that sex after children can be better than it was before. Even if doesn’t happen as often.
The Channel Mum survey found that an impressive 94% of parents said they were ‘satisfied with their sex life’.
You’ve been together so long that you’re just better at sex. You both rock at this. And when you do it you remember how much it matters. Whether that’s once a day, once a week or once in a blue moon.
After you’ve had children sex is something you have to fit into your busy, frazzled lives as parents. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be as good, as loving and as wonderful as it was before. Even if you both keep your socks on throughout.