Q: How to keep a relationship alive, especially the intimacy part after children?
A: If there was ever a universal question amongst parents, it would be this one!
Without a doubt, stepping into parenthood changes almost all aspects of our life. As women, not only will we experience physical changes, which we have to adjust to, but we now have a little human being who needs us for everything. As much as we love them, their dependency can feel overwhelming at times and challenges us in ways we never could have imagined. Obviously fathers do not experience body changes (lucky them!), however, depending on their involvement they too can feel the shift in focus.
This redirection of attention for both of you towards your newborn will inevitably change how you relate with each other. Not only are your eyes drawn in another direction, but also your loving affection.
Hopefully you will have talked about this during pregnancy, but being aware of this happening and talking about it in the moment, will help not to lose sight of your connection with each other. This is so important in the early days because hormone fluctuations and coming to terms with a new body image can diminish libido. This is why understanding the feel-good effect of sensual touch such as cuddling, stroking and massage can provide a light relief, in the moment.
‘Start as you mean to go on’ is a very apt expression for establishing healthy relationship habits for your growing family. However, even for those with the best of intentions may find themselves slipping, because it is easier.
Have you guessed where I am heading with this?
Yes, the most common parental problem that affects a couple’s sexual intimacy is ‘The Family Bed’. Whether this is your chosen parenting style or a solution to pacify a crying child, it can become a barrier in your relationship. Having a sleeping child lying between you both can over time become an excuse for not touching or making love. New habits take root and almost unknowingly a shift has taken place and you have moved the most intimate area of your relationship aside for your child.
Do you recognize yourselves in this story? Sounds like you need to make some small adjustments.
When couples come to see me for advice, they are often surprised by some quick and easy to implement solutions. For example, a reminder that a sleeping child can be lifted to another location, to allow for some intimate time together, even if they need to return at a later time. Now this may seem common sense but it is proof of how easily we can forget the simple things. Another example is that sexual intimacy is not an exclusive nighttime activity, and can be worked into anyone’s daily routine.
Time passes and your family is growing. Hopefully your connection has sustained, even if there were some teething pains. Unfortunately some couples reach a point when one or both notice a disconnect has taken place. Things are not the same anymore between them and memories of passionate love making may seem distant.This is not usually intentional, but a sad result of not paying attention to the importance of ensuring the bond that ties you both is secure.
If any of these scenarios sound like you, then here are a few tips to get you started…
- Try opening the conversation — outside of the bedroom. Make sure it’s not a pointing-the-finger question but an opener born out of genuine curiosity and the desire for both of you to have your needs met.
- Ask your partner about their feelings regarding your sex life.
- Ask them what they want and need.
- Talk about your hopes and desires.
- And then LISTEN carefully.
- Discuss and find a light sense of humor for discussing sexual intimacy. How can you make it more fun and playful?
- Talk about the flirting, and the things that you did, or liked, at the beginning of your relationship. Then start doing some of those things again: eye gazing, brush of the hand, holding hands, sweet name calling, etc.
- Kiss. Kiss. Kiss some more. Deep passionate kissing is the gateway to all forms of eroticism, and it is the quickest way to increase arousal. Reintroduce or enhance the frequency, intensity, technique of your kissing.
- Flirt and take your time. Anticipation is important for heightening sexual desire. Have fun, creating, and planning!
Start rekindling the heat today!
Published Tribune242 9/5/23