My partner and I have kids. A lot of kids—five of them to be exact. But obviously we are still having sex. Because we are still making people. So how do you keep making room for sexy time? Here are some practical tips to keep things spicy in the bedroom.
1. Make time
This seems simple, but it's true: You need to keep the pump primed. Have sex when you can, where you can, how you can. This might mean in the shower while the kids are asleep. This might mean a quickie in the car on date night—if you can manage to find a sitter for date night. This might mean oral sex. Or this might just mean getting busy on the kitchen table. Sometimes pushing the centerpiece aside while the kids build a lego tower in the playroom is just what the doctor ordered. Just do it. Maybe you just have five minutes. Stop looking at Instagram and get busy.
2. Start with a kiss
Greet each other with a hug and a little makeout sesh. Make it more than 10 seconds. Shoot for 30. Thirty seconds is a lot longer than you think. It takes about this long to get the love hormones flowing. Embrace while doing it. Physical touch gets right to the core of human nature. And it sets the tone for the rest of the time you'll be together. If you're heading out the door for the day, it leaves you feeling . . . tingly. And eagerly anticipating the next time you'll be together. The oxytocin that flows during birth and breastfeeding, that stuff that makes us love our babies, makes us love our partners too. Luckily, you don't have to breastfeed your partner to get the same warm fuzzy result.
3. Take it easy on yourselves
Sex isn't always going to be an earth-shattering experience. Sometimes it's purely utilitarian, getting the job done. That's OK. If it's not as mind-blowing as it was before kids, that's OK. It will be at times. And at times, many times, you will be interrupted. Someone will cry. Your three-year-old will barge in and ask why daddy is tickling mommy. Your newborn will decide that 30 seconds before your orgasm is the perfect time to poop her pants, or want to nurse. Someone will throw up.
Laugh. Move on. If it doesn't happen this time, then take a breath and try again later.
4. Don't be afraid to get a little naughty
Send some sexy pictures. Ask him to do the same. This might feel silly—you're a grown-up parent now, after all—but vulnerability fosters connection. Do something out of your comfort zone. Keep your partner guessing. If you just can't manage to get out of your yoga pants and nursing tank long enough to send a sexy picture, then just send a sexy text. A little "I can wait to kiss you/take your clothes off/watch you do dishes while I sit on the couch with a glass of cabernet" goes a long way. (OK, maybe not that last one so much, but that's when I find my husband the most attractive.)
5. Skip the lingerie
I'm going to go against the grain here and say forget the sexy underthings. Lingerie is nice, yes. But when you've got a baby hanging off your body approximately half the day, and a toddler yanking at your skirt, and cookies to make for back-to-school night, and 16 loads of laundry to be washed AND folded (who are we kidding, you're not folding that pile), maybe you don't have time to get to Victoria's Secret. Most likely you're going to put on lingerie and then take it right back off anyway, so just strip off your slobber-covered shirt and your spit up-crusted yoga pants and show your partner what's underneath. They like you best naked anyway*.
*About being naked: Let's quickly address the "post baby" body thing. Maybe you don't possess the same confidence in your "post baby" physique as your "pre baby" physique. That's fine, but don't let it stop you. Fake it til you make it. Let me assure you that your partner doesn't care about your stretch marks and milky breasts. They love you. Arguably even more now that you're the mother of their children. From the mouth of my sweet husband, "I don't even notice the things you consider 'flaws' until you start pointing them out." Noted. So toss that nursing bra aside. Throw the spanx in the back of the drawer. Show off those sexy curves, stripes and even lumps. They'll love you for it.
6. Find out what your partner likes
Let's talk about what your partner likes. Not sure? Find out. Maybe role playing is up their alley. Or maybe they want slow seduction. People change and interests change. So keep up a constant dialogue. Check in. Tell them what you like, too. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the day I squeezed my body like a stuffed sausage into a full-on boned corset—only to hear my husband basically say, "Take that off. I like the slinky slip you sewed yourself better"—was the day I decided to never do that again. Ever. Turns out he prefers the softer, smoother, smooshier sides of me. Which is perfect . . . because that's pretty much all the sides of me.
Does this help? I hope so. I think you'll find intimacy after babies can be even more fulfilling than before babies. You're in this ride together. Don't let parenting stop you from partnering. Go forth and get to it!