As parents sex can become bottom priority. It’s difficult with work and kids to find some time together. So I’m posing the question: Is it time to bring back the quickie?
Sign up for our free Newsletter stuffed full of ideas, competitions and offers. PS Did we mention it’s free?
Isn’t it natural to find sexual desire wanes after a few years together? Put a penny in a jar each time you have sex during the first two years of being together. See how full it gets. Then change over and start removing a penny each time you do it. Invariably, that ol’ jar never gets emptied.
I’ve often wondered why it has to be this way. If I had a penny for every time a client smiles ruefully, explaining how hard it is with work and kids or when trying to conceive, I’d have a fat bank account.
Love Eat Pray
How do you keep lust alive in a longterm relationship? Firstly, remember how it was in the early days being in love? What did you find irresistible about your other half? Sex seems to get relegated to a bedtime routine somewhere between teeth brushing and a last pee, or worse dwindles to Saturday nights or chillingly, gets reserved for fertile window times each month.
If that’s a bit too “Handmaid’s Tale” for you, let me explain a bit about the science of sex.
There’s a chemistry of attraction, desire and sexual libido closely linked to fertility. Based on a fine-tuned feedback loop, the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal axis connects emotions, hormones and sex organs. The three are interlined, one triggering the other.
So if you’re feeling grumpy or resentful, this limits the flow of hormones to where they need to be. Conversely, a skilled seduction can make you forget all your woes. Familiar names in the hormone department include oxytocin, dopamine, progesterone and oestrogen.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter – often dubbed the ‘cuddle’ hormone. Touching and kissing each other triggers it, to flood you with feelings of trust, generosity, and compassion, while easing anxiety and fear chemicals, adrenaline and cortisol.
To get it coursing through your veins revert to holding hands, hugging, massage, eye contact, and smiles and ehm, making sensual noises! Closeness breeds a calm and loving connection – a prelude to more good sexual seduction and intimacy. Stoke it up to get your womb super receptive to a healthy pregnancy.
Libido is a passion app, fuelled by hormones that you can fire up to feel good and enhance fertility. Oxytocin makes us nicer to be around. Scientists call it the ‘tend and befriend’ hormone, making us less fearful and selfish, being friendlier, looking out for others and the whole nine yards of bonding.
You were probably everything but the art of seduction at school. Quick audit. How much time do you actually spend on learning about sex for pleasure and planning for sex? Compared to, say, time spent editing social media pics and liking cute cat vids online? Compared to work, diet and exercise?
Maybe not quite as much as you did in the first flush of lust. Nature gives you a head start of being in love and now it’s your turn to fly. Don’t get me wrong – all those things are important. Imagine your day as a pie chart of activities and things to do and see where you can carve out a niche for something so good, and calorie-free.
Sex is not just for Saturday night
Weekends are busy, but for most of us they don’t feature the dreaded early commutes. Research shows it’s healthier to get up at the usual time, even on a weekend, so why not plan a lie-in as playtime? Kids get to watch some TV while mom and dad do some fun stuff together. Sleepovers with granny and grandpa are a great way for parents to get some time together.
Get back to basics and keep seduction alive. Sex is way too good to be the dumping ground for any unresolved anger and resentment, or used as a tool of punishment or reward.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Imagine your other half, booted and suited on a night out. Check him/her out, exactly as you would a stranger. Is there any interest from attractive others? Do you feel any frisson of jealousy, even imagining this scenario? Good! Sometimes, letting go of the myriad of irritations that beset any normal relationship and focusing on having great sex brings you into a better space to iron things out.
I treat men who encounter temporary erectile dysfunction while trying to conceive first time around or after a first child. Under pressure to perform, sidelined about treatment, locked in a minor support role and lacking any guidelines or support for themselves: “I become a sperm delivery system,” reveals Aidan, 38, an IT engineer and client of mine. “I joked, quite seriously, that she just wanted me for getting pregnant”.
Sex for health
Couples who have sex regularly look 7-10 years younger as they age than peers who don’t, enjoy better physical and mental health and live longer. Imagine sex as the ultimate walk-in wardrobe – sporty, formal, casual, and slutty – something for every occasion.
So, you’ve got romantic rose-petals and champagne-fuelled honeymoon sex, lazy Sunday morning sex, quickie in the bathroom, all-about-me sex, solo sex, and after work sex before going out again, sex out-of-doors, filthy sex, playful sex, let’s-pamper-you sex and did I say quickies? Quickies may be as good as it gets during the busy years of parenting and that’s not a bad thing.
Happy moms and dads make happy kids. If you’re worried about small people needing years of therapy because they heard mom and dad playing forget it. If you’re doing it right from the get-go it becomes background white noise. How else do kids learn about normal long-term physical relationships if their own folks aren’t kissing, hugging and taking time out together?