Our sex lives can change drastically after having kids. This is not surprising, considering that we have less time for our husbands with a little one in the mix. But that doesn’t mean you have to bid your sex life goodbye.

We speak to Tammy M. Fontana, MS NCC CTRT, Clinical Sex Therapist (USA) from All in The Family Counselling Centre PTE LTD, and Dr. Martha Tara Lee, H.S., M.A., M.A., B.A., Relationship Counselor and Clinical Sexologist from Eros Coaching to find out how to navigate this change in your relationship.

Why is my sex life compromised after having kids?

There are various reasons why your sex life may be declining after having kids. According to Dr. Martha, some contributing factors could be fatigue, stress, and lack of time that comes with looking after children. Your priorities also change once a little one is in the mix, causing sex to be put on the back burner.

This is not even taking into account the drastic changes your body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth. Dr. Martha says, “Women may experience physical changes such as vaginal dryness, pain during sex, and fatigue after childbirth, which can affect their sexual desire and function.”

Another contributing factor is the fact that you and your partner may neglect to anticipate the inevitable changes to your relationship. With your attention focused on your child, it’s easy to forget to put in the work required for your relationship to thrive.

Tammy stresses, “The idea that sex happens is a common myth. After children, couples fail to prioritise their couple time and sex. They treat sex as an afterthought at the end of the day, resulting in poor quality sex.”

You and your husband are both adjusting to parenthood – so why is his sex drive so much higher than yours?

This is a common problem that mums seem to face. First of all, it’s important to note that having different sex drives is totally normal in any relationship and that it is a situation many couples have to navigate. Dr. Martha notes that sexual desire can change over the course of a relationship and requires open communication to work through.

In this specific scenario, Tammy brings up an important point: a lack of sex drive can stem from frustration and disappointment in your partner for how they have failed to step up when it comes to looking after the kids or having a hand in the household chores.

“What is often called a low sex drive is actually the lack of attraction to their partner; they have no desire to have sex with their partner because they are not holding up their half of the relationship in parenting and running the household, which is not sexy or attractive.”

So you have a different sex drive from your partner. What does that mean for your relationship?

Understandably, a difference in sex drives can cause friction between a couple. When one desires sex less than the other, it can cause them to feel guilt and shame for being unable to provide for their partner, says Dr. Martha.

On top of that, the individual with a higher sex drive can start to feel insecure and undesirable. This could lead to them starting to doubt the relationship.

She adds on, “When one partner wants sex more frequently than the other, it can create frustration and tension in the relationship. This can lead to arguments and resentment, which can further damage the relationship.”

How can you bring the “spark” back into your sex life?

First and foremost, Tammy emphasises that you have to accept the reality of your lives with kids.

“Before having children, couples were younger, had greater freedom, were more rested, and had more time. But after having kids, if they want to have sex, they have to decide that it’s important to their relationship. They must plan for sex to happen.”

On top of that, both specialists share the opinion that in order for a couple’s sex lives to blossom, the emotional intimacy between husband and wife has to be addressed. If you and your partner are not emotionally connected, there may be less of a desire to have physical intimacy.

Another point both specialists agree on is that your physical health plays a big part in your sex life as well. If you are unfit, sex becomes more difficult. Tammy encourages couples to exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep (though this may be hard with a crying baby at night).

Dr. Martha also urges couples to get creative with their sex lives. “Trying new things in the bedroom can help couples break out of their routine and find new ways to connect sexually. This can include trying new positions, exploring fantasies, or using sex toys,” she says.

Difficulties you may face along the way

Surprisingly enough, there are some downsides to trying to improve sexual intimacy between you and your partner. According to Dr. Martha, pressure from one party to another to improve intimacy can cause stress and anxiety in the individual with a lower sex drive. Inversely, the one with the higher sex drive may feel disappointed when their expectations are not met.

On top of that, working on your relationship takes time, which can prove to be an issue for parents who are strapped for time as it is.

At the end of the day

There is definitely a slew of benefits to improving your sexual intimacy with your husband. This includes an increase in overall relationship satisfaction, increased emotional connection, improved trust, and increased physical affection. All these will help you feel connected with your partner and strengthen your relationship.

If you and your husband are struggling to kick-start your sex lives after having kids, open communication from both parties is paramount. It’s also important to understand that there is no overnight fix to your issues. It will take time and patience before things start looking up. Try not to compare your relationship with other couples as well – focus on your relationship and work towards the goal you set for yourselves.