I’ve read enough magazine articles and blog posts — and watched enough sitcoms — to know that, for a lot of couples, sex just isn’t the same after becoming parents. I completely agree. For my husband and me, our sex life now looks nothing like it did pre-babies. I would argue, though, that it’s even better now than it was before.
1. Any time can be sexy time. Before kids, having sex was an event. Between the massage and the foreplay and the always trying to look good, it was exhausting. It was the most enjoyable type of tiring, but tiring nonetheless.
Now, all it takes is seven free minutes and an Ed Sheeran song on repeat. We know how to take care of business so that neither one of us is so fatigued after that we require a nap. It’s a good thing, too, because when Bubble Guppies is over, we’ve got to be parents again.
2. You’re more comfortable with your body (or you just don’t care). It’s ironic that I’m more comfortable now, with my floppy, stretch-marked body, than I was before having kids, when I was thinner and in shape and lacking a sexy c-section scar. Pre-kids, I preferred to make love after dark with the lights off and, despite the dim lighting, I made sure to shave my legs often.
These days, I could care less about how light the room is. If both kids are napping at 1 p.m., you can bet we’re going to take advantage. And either my husband doesn’t notice the two-week-old stubble on my legs, or he’s willing to take what he can get.
3. You don’t care who knows. Years ago, when my husband and I were first married, we were out one night with some friends and some friends of friends. We got up to leave and, since it was fairly early in the evening, one of the guys I didn’t know said, “Y’all are going home to do it, aren’t you?”
I’m sure my face turned all kinds of red — mostly because he was right — but I just replied, “I’m not entirely sure who you are.” I was horrified that all of the people at the table knew — or would even think — that we were headed home to have sex.
Fast forward to the year after our first child was born. We were on a cruise with my husband’s entire extended family. Our in-laws volunteered to watch our son, so we didn’t waste time getting naked and under the covers. Things were heating up when the door to our cabin popped open. My father-in-law stood there, realization surely dawning, before quickly closing the door behind him.
It was an incident that, only a couple years before, would have ruined the mood and made it difficult for me to make eye contact with my husband’s dad ever again. Since we have kids, though, my husband and I just shared a horrified laugh and got back to business.
4. You’re no longer scared. For childless newlyweds, a pregnancy scare was pretty much the epitome of worst-case scenario. We were hanging out with friends once and the wife casually mentioned antibiotics and birth control. My heart immediately began to beat double-time because I was, at that very moment, taking antibiotics. And birth control pills. It was a tense several days before I got my period and we knew we were “safe.”
After three pregnancies and two kids, we aren’t scared anymore. That’s thanks, in part, to being older and wiser when it comes to knowing my our way around birth control. But mostly it’s due to the fact that we’ve had babies. Back in the newlywed days, we both knew we were wholly unprepared for parenthood. Now that we are parents, we know we don’t suck at it, so pregnancy is no longer a terrifying prospect.
5. It’s cheaper. Pre-kid supplies: lingerie, candles, flavored body chocolates and oils. Post-baby necessities: … it turns out that both partners can be fully satisfied without all the extras. Before, we “needed” lingerie; now, I just flash a boob and my husband’s good to go. Before, we had music to set the mood; now, we just try to block out the sound of our daughter singing the alphabet as she falls asleep in her bed.
Our current routine might not win any awards for romance, but it’s definitely easier on our bank account. Plus, on the rare occasion that I do squeeze back into my pre-pregnancy lingerie, my husband practically licks his lips like a starving animal.
Sure, sex is different now that we have kids. There are definitely days when we long for the spontaneity we had before. But the years and the pregnancies and the kids have brought us together, to a new level of intimacy, that we never would have reached otherwise.