Between feedings, messy diapers and seemingly never-ending crying campaigns, it isn’t easy to find the time or energy for sex as new parents. (Shutterstock)
Sexy Typewriter, Special to QMI Agency
, Last Updated: 4:41 PM ET
In the new movie “Friends with Kids,” a young father confesses to his unfettered bachelor friend that he and his wife only have “relations” once or twice a month. The friend — who enjoys an extremely satisfying physical relationship with his scary hot girlfriend (played by Megan Fox, of course) — is appropriately horrified.
Between feedings, messy diapers and seemingly never-ending crying campaigns, it isn’t easy to find the time or energy for sex as new parents.
“Having a child is a very heavy stress on a couple,” says Vancouver-based therapist and couples counsellor, Dr. David McKenzie. “It throws their lives upside down. Their eating habits, their sleeping habits, everything changes. That’s bound to have an impact on their sex life.”
Jennifer, 36, is an academic and a recent second-time mom. Although run ragged by two small children, Jennifer and her husband still manage to have sex once or twice a week.
“Seize whatever chance you have to get it on, no matter how rushed and imperfect-seeming it may be,” she advises. “If you wait until you’re both showered, rested and not caked in milky-puke, it will never happen.”
But aside from the usual suspects of stress and fatigue, other factors can come into play after the birth of a child that can strangle the sex lives of new parents.
Shortly after Elizabeth and John became first-time parents, Elizabeth’s mother passed away suddenly, exacerbating the new mom’s postpartum depression. The couple’s sex life all but disappeared.
“We were very overwhelmed,” says Elizabeth. “I really feel like depression invaded our entire family.”
Body image concerns are also an issue for many new moms.
“Breastfeeding…makes you feel like a cow,” Elizabeth says. “Not a sexy wife.”
Physical, emotional and mental changes after the birth of a child can have a devastating impact on a couple’s sex life. Couples counselling or therapy can help, but most new parents can barely find the time to shower or nap, let alone seek out the services of a professional.
According to McKenzie, couples need to be each other’s strongest support system and ally in order to maintain the strength of their relationship and continue to feel desire for one another.
“A study was done about two years ago that found that men got way more sex in marriage if they helped with the domestic duties,” says McKenzie. “It’s the same (when it comes to helping out with) the children. The mother needs to know that she’s got the support of her partner. Couples need to (communicate a lot) and carve out time every day for mom to have mental health time. She needs at least an hour a day of flat brain waves while he looks after the children. Or if he’s the stay-at-home dad, he needs the same thing from her. They also need to have some alone time every evening and once every two weeks, try to have a date.”
Sometimes it’s about making the challenge work for you.
“Parents need to choose to use the new degree of difficulty in their sex lives as an asset rather than a liability,” says Jennifer. “You have to be creative and determined, which can add an air of almost-illicit excitement things.”
If the kids are sleeping and Jennifer and her husband are both conscious, they grab that opportunity to hit the sheets. Or the couch. Or the kitchen counter.
“We really found this to be the case with kiddo No. 1,” she says. “Now that kiddo No. 2 has arrived, we basically have to be sex ninjas.”
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise- at Sexytypewriter.com.