Having kids DOESN’T must damage your intercourse life

How ironic that the very act that results in having kids within the first place is usually ruined by their presence afterward. You’re too exhausted to hassle, for a begin.

Then there’s the years of chores and childcare, when intercourse can really feel like simply one other merchandise on the to-do listing. And lastly, simply as you get time again to yourselves, you could have a teen up in any respect hours, dulling your ardour because it’s, properly, simply too embarrassing for everybody.

But your intercourse life can survive children, and will even, dare I say, find yourself being higher for it.

I’m a scientific psychologist and psychosexologist identified on-line as The Sex Doctor, with 20 years’ expertise serving to {couples} navigate the storms and lulls of long-term relationships.

My new ebook, How Not to Let Having Kids Ruin Your Sex Life, arose from my on-line workshops for folks, which train that they should not count on the identical intercourse life that they had earlier than kids, when lie-ins have been ten-a-penny — however sure, they are often as glad as ever.

Clinical psychologist and psychosexologist Dr Karen Gurney, known online as The Sex Doctor, says a handful of changes can have an enormous impact on a couple's intimate experiences

Clinical psychologist and psychosexologist Dr Karen Gurney, identified on-line as The Sex Doctor, says a handful of modifications can have an unlimited impression on a pair’s intimate experiences

The excellent news is: it does not take a lot to show it round.

A handful of modifications, like these steered right here, can have an unlimited impression on a pair’s intimate experiences.

But earlier than we set to work re-floating your boat, I need you to take the sex-life quiz, beneath. This will assist determine among the causes that you just is perhaps operating aground.

Get your accomplice to do it too.

First, take our quiz

Do you continue to kiss passionately apart from once you’re having intercourse?

A Every probability we get!

B Often

C Hardly ever

D It’s extinct!

Does considered one of you commonly have extra pleasure than the opposite when having intercourse?

A No, it is equal

B Sometimes, but it surely’s advantageous

C More typically than not

D Yes, it’s very one-sided

How straightforward is it to speak about intercourse collectively? For instance, to ask for what you need?

A Really straightforward

B Mostly straightforward

C Mostly awkward

D Really arduous

Does considered one of you’re feeling the duty for a lot of the family duties/childcare?

A It’s shared equally

B One of us does greater than our fair proportion of seen and invisible* family labour, but it surely’s negotiated pretty in relation to our working hours

C One of us does greater than our fair proportion of the seen and invisible family labour and it does not really feel negotiated pretty/feels unequal

D I do all of it

*’Invisible’ family work contains remembering birthdays, replying to highschool Whatsapp chats and so forth.

Does intercourse typically comply with a predictable sample (e.g. who does what, in what order)

A Sex is totally different each time

B Mostly does

C Mostly does not

D I can predict what we’ll find yourself doing earlier than we have achieved it, each time

Do you propose any time in your week/month to nurture your intercourse life or be bodily intimate?

A Yes, we try to find time for it

B Yes, however not as a lot as we want

C We do, however by some means do not appear to make it occur

D No, we simply hope it is going to occur

How linked do you’re feeling as sexual companions exterior of intercourse (e.g. flirting, sexts, suggestion, compliments about your look)

A Very linked, it defines us

B We often really feel linked, however there are temporary lulls the place we do not

C We have intervals of connection, then lengthy stretches of no connection

D Not in any respect, we really feel like flatmates

Do you make time to have enjoyable collectively away from the children?

A As a lot as we are able to, circumstances allowing

B We do not prioritise us, actually

C We have good intentions, but it surely simply does not occur

D What is ‘time’ away from the children??!

If you scored principally As, hooray — your relationship at present contains lots of the features we all know predict an incredible intercourse life and can show you how to keep sexual satisfaction over the long run.

You prioritise your intercourse life and nurture it by way of dialog, ensuring intercourse is working for each of you. Keep doing what you are doing!

If you scored principally Bs and Cs, maybe you have been collectively a short while now, intercourse has grow to be arduous to speak about and issues have slid slightly from the place you need them to be. Perhaps it will have been principally As earlier than children got here alongside?

If you do not change something, the trajectory you are on would possibly properly finish at a spot neither of you’d select.

Use the solutions to the inquiries to work out which of my suggestions might help make your intercourse life as fulfilling and pleasurable because it was once.

If you scored principally Ds, your intercourse life could also be nearly sunk! But don’t concern — there’s a lot you are able to do to get issues again on monitor.

You might have fallen right into a sample of prioritising one individual’s pleasure and never relating to one another sexually except truly having intercourse.

Perhaps one or each of you is experiencing a drop in want and discovering it arduous to provoke intercourse. This is regular, and an actual threat for folks, however it may be mounted.

It is completely attainable to take care of excessive ranges of sexual satisfaction and want whereas having intercourse with the identical individual time and time once more. See beneath, for my prime suggestions.

Thinking of sex as a buffet means you can have whatever you want in any order. It doesn't need to include the same things every time or end with the same dish, writes Dr Karen

Thinking of intercourse as a buffet means you possibly can have no matter you need in any order. It does not want to incorporate the identical issues each time or finish with the identical dish, writes Dr Karen

Don’t fear about how typically others do it.

Frequency is often a pink herring. The want for plenty of intercourse is usually not about lacking the regularity of intercourse itself, however its advantages — desirous to really feel wished, particular, linked, an in depth couple, alive. (When we fulfill these psychological wants — and I’ll present you the way — we regularly find yourself having extra intercourse anyway.)

I typically say: having intercourse every year that blows your socks off and makes you’re feeling nice about your self and your relationship is healthier than weekly intercourse with out pleasure and a real connection.

Kiss passionately whereas unloading the procuring

I coined the time period ‘sexual forex’ as a approach to seek advice from the quantity of erotic cost between us exterior of precise intercourse.

It might be a short however suggestive contact as you move your accomplice within the kitchen, a sizzling kiss earlier than heading off to work, or simply spending time bare in mattress collectively with out intercourse.

The litmus take a look at is: would you do it along with your aunt? If not, and it does not contain a sexual act of some type, it is sexual forex.

In the early phases of a relationship, we’ve excessive ranges, but it surely wanes the longer we dwell collectively. Some {couples} maintain it higher than others, regardless of how typically they’ve intercourse. They’re those who discover the transition from placing the weekly store away to kissing passionately towards the fridge a straightforward one to make.

For others, the absence of sexual forex makes it arduous to see their relationship as sexual in any respect. Compliments, touches and suggestive appears are so typically absent that, even when tried, really feel awkward, or like a careless initiation of intercourse. This is the beginning of a drift in direction of dwelling not as sexual companions however as housemates.

If that is you, attempt an experiment. Perhaps determine to show the peck on the lips when considered one of you leaves the home right into a lingering, longer kiss. Do it for a month and see what distinction it makes.

You may additionally comply with be flirtier, praise one another’s appears, ship intercourse texts, share sexual ideas, contact one another in a extra sexual manner whereas watching TV — something you possibly can consider. Aim to be extra sexual by doing as a lot of this as you possibly can.

Is speaking about intercourse arduous? Congratulations!

You’ve already recognized an space that, if you happen to work on it collectively, could have big implications for sexual satisfaction.

Talking about intercourse contains with the ability to discuss what you want, don’t love, your fantasies and wishes, and your evolving needs, wants and preferences. Sounds easy — but so many people discover this painfully embarrassing. I see it on a regular basis in intercourse remedy, even in probably the most assured and outspoken of individuals.

Getting (again) into follow speaking about intercourse may be particularly arduous if we discover talking and listening to one another tough, even exterior of intercourse. It can be arduous if we’ve grown defensive about our sexual relationship.

First contemplate the way you talk about any subject, not simply intercourse. Do you’re feeling listened to? Taken severely? Are tough matters straightforward or arduous to deliver up? Does considered one of you employ humour in a manner the opposite finds dismissive?

Spend 5 to 10 minutes sitting down with out distractions and actually pay attention to one another speak concerning the day, its highs and lows, and the way you each really feel.

Re-discovering emotional closeness is usually an necessary basis for feeling like intercourse with a accomplice and these deeper, minutes-long conversations are value weeks of unusual chat about what’s for dinner and the way the children are doing.

What if considered one of us does not really feel prefer it?

Our want for our companions will ebb and move over time, and at totally different charges from one another. It’s completely advantageous to not really feel prefer it — however allow them to down gently!

Research tells us that ‘rejecting’ a accomplice in a reassuring manner once they ask for intercourse (‘I’d actually wish to and am actually drawn to you however I simply have all this work to do’) results in increased ranges of couple satisfaction long run. This is in stark distinction to when it’s achieved in a essential manner (‘Why are you so intercourse mad on a regular basis? I want you’d cease nagging me about it, I’ve received sufficient on my plate’).

Don’t let resentment construct

So many ladies inform me that once they first started dwelling with a person, family chores have been cut up evenly, however when a baby got here alongside, all of it modified.

Yes, males have stepped up as compared with their fathers, however there’s nonetheless a gross inequality within the quantity of home labour girls do in comparison with males. When resentment over family chores seeps right into a sexual relationship, it may well severely compromise want.

Sharing the load equally is a really sensible and efficient change you can also make to enhance your intercourse lives as mother and father.

Make intercourse a buffet not a three-course meal

Thinking of intercourse as a buffet means you possibly can have no matter you need in any order. It does not want to incorporate the identical issues each time or finish with the identical dish.

Imagine how far more novel and thrilling that will be? It might be an intense all-night kissing session. It might be a lot of touching with out penetration. It might be unusually sluggish/passionate/frenzied/sensual. Mix it up.

Help, we won’t have intercourse with teenagers in the home

At least when the children have been little you knew you’d get just a few hours to yourselves within the night. Sadly, youngsters are more likely to go to mattress on the similar time or later than you, and for some, having a teen awake in the home is a paralysing prospect.

If that is you, having intercourse within the morning is perhaps simpler. But do not let a teen’s presence mute the sexual forex in your relationship. Showing your teenagers in delicate ways in which you continue to have a sexual connection teaches them precious classes — together with that everybody has a proper to privateness, which needs to be a household rule.

Second, intercourse shouldn’t be one thing shameful, furtive or to be saved a secret. Yes, they suppose you are previous it, however you are displaying them even oldies can have a satisfying bodily relationship. Parents who move on this message are giving their youngster a present that may profit them in years to come back.

Make certain intercourse is sweet for each of you

When your to-do listing is so long as your arm, the advantages of intercourse must be felt strongly for us to even take into consideration taking time away from one other exercise that additionally appears a precedence.

We’ve all grown up in a patriarchal society that sees the sexual act as culminating in penetrative intercourse and male orgasm, however that is unlikely to do it for most ladies.

Beware: those that permit their intercourse lives to profit one individual’s pleasure over one other’s ought to count on want to lower over time. Making intercourse mutually satisfying is a objective in attain of all {couples}.

But equally…

Don’t dismiss the quickie.

Sometimes as time-poor mother and father, it is the one possibility we have got. This is the one time intercourse may be one-sided, with considered one of you concentrating on the opposite’s physique to allow them to get the contact they want (simply guarantee the opposite will get their flip subsequent time).

You would possibly have to spend time forward of a quickie getting your self within the temper and feeling turned on — for instance, by fantasising on the best way house from work or listening to audio erotica within the bathtub.

Adapted from How Not to Let Having Kids Ruin Your Sex Life by Dr Karen Gurney (Headline, £16.99). © Dr Karen Gurney 2024. To order a duplicate for £15.29 (supply legitimate to 14/04/24; UK P&P free on orders over £25) go to or name 020 3176 2937.