Everyone knows that as wonderful as having children is – it changes everything. In particular, the marriage or relationship from which the kids are born can take a significant hit. According to a study by the University of Denver, a whopping 90% of parents report a drop in relationship satisfaction after a baby lands on the radar. It makes sense after all, if all of the focus that was once spent on the couple gets turned towards the little one. But what other factors lead to the continuing disconnect in the parental relationship?
In the article Sex and the Baby Years on CNN.com, Dr. Ian Kerner, PhD adds some interesting insight to the question of the limited if not absent sexual life for many couples with small children. Many parents can fully relate to many of the things that douse water on the one time flame of intimacy. For one, sex can very easily land on the “to-do” list rather than be a spontaneous act. Another fascinating point that struck a chord was the one made by Heidi Raykeil, author of Confessions of a Naughty Mommy who said,
“No one warned me that having a baby was like the excitement of falling in love all over again, except with someone much younger and better smelling than my husband. No one told me that for all intents and purposes, having a baby was dangerously similar to having an affair.”
What a great description of how husbands can feel shut out emotionally and physically from their wives. This connection must be restored. It’s as simple as that. Let’s look at a few ways to start to shift the focus back to the foundation of the family back to the top.
Here is Dr. Kerner’s list of ways to keep the sex alive in the relationship – and get reconnected:
- Get out and enjoy a regular date-night as soon as possible! I know many couples who have toddlers that are walking and talking, and even reading, and the parents still haven’t gone out together for an evening on their own.
- Re-channel non-sexual intimacy outside the bedroominto your relationship with your spouse. Children are intimacy-sponges, but you have to save some for your partners. For example, studies show that a 30-second hug raises oxytocin levels in both men and women. Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle-hormone” and facilitates a sense of trust, so get thee to a huggery!
- Don’t let your child sleep in your bed. Not only does it make it difficult logistically to have sex, it’s an intrusion into the much needed intimacy and separation from their kids that parents need.
- Ladies, make an effort to rediscover your sense of sexual self-esteem. I know it’s hard to feel like your sexiest self when you’re a mom, but let the guy in your life know what he can do to support you.
- Have sex. Seems obvious. But sometimes you just have to put yourself through the motions, and let your mind follow your body. Many new moms say they want to want sex, but they don’t. So try it, you’ll like it. Sex begets sex and if you don’t use it, you could lose it.
Mommies and daddies deserve to have each other back in the way they once did. It’s critical for their relationship – and for the family as a whole.