When my partner and I met, we were all about chemistry. We christened every room in the house, as well as both of our cars…many times. We made love in a sunny Arizona field and in the shade of a redwood in a public park in Vancouver. We went at it for hours on end and accomplished many, many big O’s. The pull was so strong and intoxicating that it lured me away from another man I deeply loved. We simply could not keep our hands off each other.
Fast forward 8 years. Two small children, 6 years of cohabitation, 1,001 dances, 357 arguments and reconciliations, one million shared laughs, 5,467 cups of understanding, 34,784 mixed buckets of compromise and acceptance, and a countless number of adventures later. I feel as united with him as ever, closer to him than I have ever been with any other romantic partner. After going through childbirth and parenting with this wonderful man, I feel like we’ve been to war together, and this solidifies the ties between us like blood, making him my family as much as my mother or brother.
And I don’t remember the last time we did it.
Yes, we are currently 6 weeks postpartum. And yes, we have a very curious and combative 4 year old under the roof. Of course, I’ve heard all the stories that the healthy sex life disappears with young children in the mix. I’m not unrealistic enough to expect the unrestrained passion of our early days to survive the many years of our partnership. The mystery is gone, and all that jazz.
I don’t want a sexless marriage, but honestly, I don’t really want sex. In my head, I really, really do, but at the end of the day when the brief moment of opportunity presents itself, I really don’t.
The last time we attempted sex (yes, it was only an attempt), I was in my third trimester. It was late at night, and we tried to sneak in a quickie. While we tried several different positions in an attempt to accommodate my humongous belly and simultaneously pricked our ears for any signs of awakening from our 4 year old in the next room, we somehow lost the desire halfway through. To say it was frustrating is putting it mildly. My partner complained that we are always rushing and there is no longer any foreplay. My big, giant pregnant belly didn’t make me feel sexy; nor was it a turn-on for my man. Sex felt more like work, something we had to do in order to, as my friend’s wise mother puts it, “grease the wheels of marriage.”
Soon after this, D left town for a couple of weeks. I got a yeast infection. I gave birth, and I needed time to heal. I’m experiencing some kind of pelvic prolapse (sorry for the TMI, but isn’t this whole post a bit of that anyway?), and I am now a bit freaked out to have sex, at least until after I go to my postnatal follow-up appointment. I feel very far away from sex with my partner. I don’t know how to get there. I suggested we start massaging each other to “reaquaint” ourselves, yet once again, I would much rather read a book or tune into Netflix when the evening rolls around. He is starting to show me some desire, thank God, which I think will push us in the right direction. However, when I think about the act of sex, it still feels like something I should do, instead of something I want to do.
When did sex become work?
I remember a time in my life, about a decade or so back, when I went through a sexual liberation phase. Not that I was going around sleeping with everyone or anything; I did more of that in my early 20’s before I was really sexually liberated. I read about the erotic, talked with my friends a lot about sex, generally pushed myself to become very sex-positive in every way, and explored in a very open way with my one trusted partner (or two consecutive partners, the second being my current man). I felt so juicy and inspired during this time, and endlessly enthusiastic about sex.
I want that back. I need to create space for that. I don’t know how, or when, because I just don’t have that kid of open-ended time to relax into the nectar of slow sex with little munchkins around. It is so hard to shift into an erotic space when one has only small pockets of time and very little energy. Yet, I think if I can pull it off, it will give me twice as much energy as I have now.
Maybe I need to cancel my Netflix account. Maybe I need to erase me Facebook profile, and dedicate my limited time to increasing intimacy in my partnership. Maybe I need to take it easier on myself, give us more time to adjust as a family, and understand my passion is directed towards small children during this time period.
I am really not sure. Please, tell me about your sex life post-kids, or post several years of marriage, after the shine has worn off. Let’s have a frank discussion, people, let’s talk about sex!