Prioritising sex when you’re a parent

Prioritising sex when you’re a parent

Being a parent can feel like an endless juggling act.

Between working, keeping the house presentable, grocery shopping, trying to maintain a social life, and attempting to sneak out to the gym or a yoga class every now and then, it’s no wonder that many parents say their sex life becomes virtually nonexistent after having kids.

And while it might be unlikely your sex life will ever return to exactly what it was pre-baby (at least not until the kids are off at school camp), we’re big believers that even as a parent, you can have an active and fulfilling sex life.

It’s totally possible—there are just a couple of things you need to do.



Don’t get stuck on ideas of what your sex life ‘should’ look like.

Comparison is the thief of joy, after all. If you’ve read on social media that four out of five new parents are having sex every other day, and all of your friends are bragging about their date nights and romantic getaways, it’s natural that you might start to feel like your sex life is lacking. Instead of getting hung up on what you feel like intimacy ‘should’ look like for you, think about what you and your partner actually want. If you’re satisfied with a quickie once a week, focus on that—and if you feel like you really need those weekly date nights and getaways, see if there’s a way you can make it happen. In life, as in parenthood, there’s no singular ‘right’ way of doing things—there’s just what’s right for you.

Talk to your partner about your wants and needs.

Communication, communication, communication. If you’d like to be having more, better, or different sex, tell your partner—and hold space to hear their desires as well. Navigating a relationship post-baby can be tricky, especially if you and your partner are first-time parents. This is totally unchartered territory for the both of you, and it’s natural that you might be feeling a bit adrift. Let your partner know how you’re feeling and what you’re craving, and see if they’re open to working together to get your intimacy back where you both want it to be. 

Get specific about what you want.

It’s one thing to say that you’d like to start having more sex, but another to say, “I think we should try to have sex every week when the kids are at their swimming lessons with Auntie Kerry”. With your partner, brainstorm ways you can invite intimacy back into your life, and be specific. Do you want to try nightly massages? Sex-texting? Mutual masturbation every second Tuesday while the kids have lasagna at grandma and grandpa’s house? (Seriously!) Once you’ve got an idea of what you’d like, recruit all of those well-meaning friends and family members who’ve offered to babysit. Grandparents usually love any excuse to have the kids over, and your friends who already have children might not mind taking an extra little one to the park on Sunday afternoon. You don’t necessarily have to share why you suddenly need some babysitting help, of course!

Remember that sex may be different now.

We talk about this in our article about sex after childbirth, but it’s worth repeating here, especially if you’re a new parent. Childbirth can put a huge strain on the body, and it can take months for parents to feel recovered enough to approach intimacy. You might not be having that intense, flexible sex you were having pre-baby—so give yourself the grace to acknowledge that sex might be a bit different now. You might need to take things slower, use more lube, and try different forms of pleasure if penetration is off the table for now. Your body, too, may look different—but that’s because it’s carried a real human inside it for nine months. Be gentle with yourself, in all ways.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for support.

Along with keeping in touch with your medical team for postpartum support, consider engaging a couples counsellor or sex therapist if you need some extra guidance. Counsellors and sex therapists are professionals who speak to couples like you every day, and we’ve got no doubt that they’d be able to help you think of some enjoyable and new ways to integrate intimacy into your lives as parents. 

We know that being a parent can sometimes feel isolating, no matter how old your child is or how large your family might be. But by speaking openly and honestly about your desires and asking for some support from those who love you, we believe that you can invite intimacy back into your life.

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