Julie (name changed for privacy) came to me feeling like she and her partner were platonic roommates. They had one child, a beautiful daughter who was now 3 years old, and they’d barely had sex during the entire three years of their child’s life. Julie felt like the sexual part of her had “died,” and didn’t know what could bring it back to life.
She said she felt anxious, and always had things she had to get done. She had to make sure her daughter was taken care of and her business was running smoothly. Her to-do list was endless and she was exhausted. The thought of having sex felt exhausting, and she viewed it as a chore she preferred to avoid. With a baby, a busy, stressful job and life, she was overwhelmed and exhausted.
She did, however, want to want sex with her partner. She was attracted to him and didn’t understand why she felt zero interest. Sound familiar?
Many people find themselves in this situation when they have kids. There are many reasons you might find yourself there, from body changes, hormonal changes, stress, anxiety, fatigue, etc. It makes sense that your sex life stops being a priority. It makes sense that what used to feel easily accessible, starts to feel very far away. Stress, fatigue, changes, etc., take up a lot of space, leaving very little room for desire for sex to emerge.
However, sex, intimacy, and connection are like food that keeps your relationship alive. If you’re not feeding your relationship, before you know it, your once sexually satisfying and deeply connected partnership becomes a beautiful roommate situation. You’re friends, you talk, you help each other, maybe you cuddle, but the spark that was once lit and nurtured has dimmed.
Don’t worry. It’s dimmed, but it can come back burning as bright as ever. Take the following steps to keep your relationship going strong after kids:
1. The first step is to start prioritizing your connection and your intimacy.If it continues to be last on your list of important tasks, you’ll likely continue to avoid putting in the effort that is needed to strengthen these areas of your relationship.
2. Next, it’s important to identify why you want to have sex. Your reason can’t be because your partner wants sex or because you’re reading this blog post and you think you should do it. Having sex needs to be important to you. Your pleasure matters. Couples who maintain their sex lives are couples who prioritize sex. They prioritize it because they value it for themselves and their relationship. Write down a few reasons that having sex matters to you.
3. Then, make a list of what you want to prioritize in your life. Include your relationship and sex life among the various areas of importance.
4. Finally, make a list of what you currently prioritize, and compare the lists. Start making adjustments in your priorities so your current life aligns with what you want to prioritize going forward.
As for Julie, she came to realize that the sexual part of her was not dead at all. In fact, that part of her was just waiting for some space so it could come out again. Julie had been running on empty, her mind was constantly in motion, and she was literally tight inside her body. She had been prioritizing her work, her to-do list, and productivity. She wasn’t prioritizing her connection with her partner or her mental health. She learned how to slow down, and create a life with balance. She started to prioritize her wellness and the parts of her relationship she had previously let fall behind. She created work/life balance and a strong relationship with her partner. Creating her life on purpose, the way she wanted it to be was empowering for her, and you can do the same for yourself.