Remember when you were newlyweds and you couldn’t get enough of each other?
You’d dress up for dates so that you looked and felt sexy and then eagerly anticipate returning home together? And other evenings when you weren’t going anywhere, you’d slip something sexy on to spice things up in the bedroom? But now you are parents, and things have changed dramatically. Where did the excitement, passion, and anticipation go? How do we, as parents, maintain our sexual selves?
In our culture, good parents are presented as nurturing, self-sacrificing, and asexual. There is a disconnect between being a parent and being a sexual being. Many parents pass down this sense of detachment from their own sexuality in several ways:
- disapproving of a child’s first sexual exploration (masturbation)
- not speaking of sex
- avoiding direct and factual discussions of the body
If you are like many couples, you probably enjoyed being sexual together early in your relationship. You could plan elaborate dates and spend time on foreplay. You took time to relax and explore one another during sex. It was hot. You felt sexy; you needed and wanted sex. Then you became parents and your sex life took a backseat.
It can be all too easy to put sex on the backburner, but in a world full of career, childrearing, running a household, and giving to others, sex can be a respite from the demands of everyday life. Both the mundane and the stress of daily living are transcended during sex play between married partners. It’s a way to close the door on the world and explore oneself and one’s partner with the only purpose being to experience pleasure and express love. It is a means for couples to connect in a way that they don’t with anyone else.
Most couples counseling emphasizes talking as the primary way to communicate. While talking is important, our bodies can communicate as much or more than our words. Sexual touch is a powerful communicator. It reminds us that ‘We really are connected. We DO love one another. It is safe to let go in front of my partner. He still desires me. She still gets excited at my touch.’ After an argument or disconnect, sex can feel like hitting the reset button for the marriage. It lets us know that, ‘We hit a rough patch, but now we’re connected once again.’
How do we bring good sex back into marriage? Finding new ways to think about sex can help.
- Value your partner as a person who is different from you – think of him/her as a mystery to be rediscovered.
- Think of foreplay as beginning hours or days before you plan to be together; flirt, enjoy each other’s company and let the anticipation build.
- Value sex as a way to reconnect after an argument or rupture.
- Remember that as a human, you are a sexual being and this is a gift.
- Remember that having a strong marriage is an essential part of being a good parent; make sure you focus on your partner too, rather than just your children.
- Talk to your physician about any physical issues that may be interfering with sex.
- Talk to your therapist about any emotions that may be interfering.
To learn more about how to pump up the passion after you’ve had children, schedule an appointment here at Couples Therapy Center. Call 908-246-3074, email firstname.lastname@example.org