Barriers to intimacy after children and how to overcome them

Barriers to intimacy and how to overcome them
The baby has finally gone to sleep after fighting for two hours. It’s been a long day and you fear it will be an even longer night. You know you should at least have a chat to your husband but all you want to do is to fall into bed. You are dressed in pyjamas stained with baby food and you can’t be bothered changing them. Your boobs hurt. Your bones ache with fatigue. A cuddle, let alone something more, is the LAST thing on your mind.

Yet, it is important. Kids will grow up and as they do hopefully you and your partner will grow closer together. But that takes some work.

These are some common barriers to intimacy after children with some suggestions about how to overcome them.

Arrow 2Sleep! I just need sleep

The sight of an empty bed fills with you unbridled excitement about the prospect of some precious shut eye and nothing is getting between you and the sheets. Firstly, try whatever you can to get some sleep. Is there are chance you can rest when your baby rests? (I know, I know). Can your partner look after the children for a morning and let you sleep in?  If you are really struggling with your baby’s sleep, consider getting some help from a baby sleep expert – every parent I know that has done this wishes they had done so sooner. Okay, onto the sexy bit. Perhaps move intimacy outside of the bedroom and the night time hours. Schedule in some baby sitting for a lazy weekend afternoon and see where it takes you.  Sleep and sex don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

Opportunity would be a fine thing

Somehow the stars have aligned. The kids are in bed. You are feeling a bit minxy and your partner is up for it. That’s when the baby cries or the toddler appears at the foot of the bed. Even if you can somehow find a window of time, kids have amazing timing when it comes to these things.

We schedule so many things in our lives. We arrange baby-sitting and child care in order to exercise, to meet up with girlfriends, for events, date nights and to work. Why not do the same thing specifically for intimacy? It may not seem very sexy and spontaneous, but it’s the kind of thing that if you don’t schedule, it may not happen.

I have lost all my mojo – I am really not feeling it

It can be hard to feel minxy when you are in the early years of motherhood. Your body has changed. Your perceived value to society has changed. Your priorities have shifted.

Spend a bit of a time on yourself. Even if it’s just a quick mani or pedi, a bath or spending half an hour reading something a bit naughty. A set of matching underwear can do wonders. Sometimes you need to put yourself in the mood.

I am completely touched out – I don’t want another person near me

After spending a day breastfeeding, picking up your baby, cuddling them and attending to their every need, you can feel depleted. You can feel like you have nothing left to give. You just want your body back to yourself. You know what? You do need some time to yourself – let your partner know that you just need some space. But don’t view sex as as a one way street in terms of giving. It is an opportunity for you to feel nourished. For you to feel like you are getting something back. And it’s one of those things that the more you do it, the more you feel like doing it.

I feel more like shaking my partner than shagging them

Ah, parenthood – it brings out the best and the worst in all of us. Who should do the dishes, who hasn’t put away the clothes, who gets the most sleep, who should work, who should change that dirty nappy, who got up last to soothe a cry, who will dole out the punishment, who is being too lenient, who has had the harder day. It can be a minefield and it’s easy to go to a place of resentment. I think the key is to talk. Talk about expectations and what you think is fair. If your partner is driving you crazy, don’t let the steam build – talk it out. And a note to Dads: there is nothing sexier than a guy doing housework and phoo-ey to any surveys or studies that suggest something different.

I just don’t enjoy it any more

Have you had a chat to your partner? All relationships are different – and some couples have perfectly happy, sexless marriages. I personally think it’s worth trying to find the enjoyment again. There are some great resources out there that can help. Tracy Cox’s Hot Relationships and Hot Sex are both great books to reintroduce some magic.

Arrow 3

I don’t think anyone enjoys the sex of their lives whilst their kids are tiny. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your relationship. These days will pass. I just want to make sure that my relationship with the man I love remains healthy while I am living through them.

What are your ideas for overcoming barriers to intimacy when you have little kids?


17 thoughts on “Barriers to intimacy after children and how to overcome them

  1. Kara says:

    “And a note to Dads: there is nothing sexier than a guy doing housework and phoo-ey to any surveys or studies that suggest something different.” YES YES YES! Doing the dishes, getting AND putting away the groceries, vacuuming the whole house, and my favorite, hubby doing the toilets. Mm mm mmmmmmmmm, yes please! 😉

  2. Lauren Moore says:

    LOL Kara I have to agree with you there- how funny to see your familiar face pop up as I am browsing through! After putting two boisterous boys to bed and getting them to stay there and just go to sleep, I often prioritise housework or business emails instead of spending time with the hubby, or other times I am so exhausted I just want to sleep. Date nights help though- we are heading to the movies together this weekend then have a few wines and it is so nice to talk together as adults without being interrupted.

    • Robyna says:

      I think you need that – you need the space to make a connection before you can make a connection (if you get my drift!) So lovely to see people that know each other in RL having a chat here. Makes me smile!

  3. Karen says:

    I must admit I didn’t have any problems “getting back on the horse” after the birth of my three kids. We always found time for a quickie! The only no go zone was my boobs when I first started breast feeding and had sore nipples and fullness. There are few things lovelier than seeing a new dad feeding/burping/rocking a baby while you take time to have a shower/cup of tea x

  4. Lydia C. Lee says:

    I also agree with the comment above that if you can’t find the time, just go for a quickie. If you can’t shut the world out for 20 mins, you’ll go insane…(and it’s win/win – you both feel better AND connected)

  5. Lisa says:

    There is a reason there are locks on doors. I find even in those early baby weeks, sometimes it is better to meet in the middle not focus just on the sex. Holding hands, lovey dovey eyes, hugs, walking past each other and touching their arm or a quick kiss. If you end up having sex, great but if you don’t- you know each other still has the feelings. It is when you cut everything off that problems start. Someone once told me: Men are like microwaves, women are like slow cookers in the bedroom. So act accordingly to warm each other up hehe.

    • Robyna says:

      I think that’s true – and I think sometimes women would be quite happy to cuddle, but don’t because they don’t really want where that may lead – which is a bit of a sad state of affairs.

  6. Pingback: Ten Things that Help Keep Our Marriage On Track | mummalove

Comments are closed.