This is a guest post by Allon Khakshouri of Business-dad.com
Enjoying a healthy sex life is a key ingredient to a thriving marriage. At the same time it is the one topic very few parents dare talk about, often leading to lots of frustration and anger to already challenged relationships.
Sex is so important because it is what makes you and your spouse more than just roommates. It requires you both to speak about the kind of intimate and emotional things that create a deeper sense of connection than you have with anyone else and helps strengthen trust between partners.
But lets face it: Becoming a dad triggers so many changes it can feel overwhelming: sleepless nights, endless fights and new responsibilities are just some of the challenges we all face and that can make sex quite unappealing. I remember how relieved I was knowing that my wife would need a few weeks to fully recover before she would request me to demonstrate my love making skills. I was sure that this would allow me to get adjusted to being a dad so that by the time my wife would be ready, I would feel revitalised and hungry for sex.
However, something strange happened: The more time that passed without having sex, the less I craved for it. Suddenly I felt concerned and unmanly: Was something wrong with me and our relationship?
I guess I was not the first to have such thoughts
According to studies conducted by the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, two thirds of marriages suffer a serious decline in their relationship satisfaction within the first three years of becoming parents. And the biggest victims of unhappy couples are the babies– two decades of research have shown that marital conflict is bad for babies and can affect their social and academic skills later on in life.
As John Gottman says:
“When there is a precipitous decline in relationship satisfaction and an increase in hostility, it transfers to the baby and affects the baby.”
And definitely the combination of having an unsatisfactory sex life and not speaking openly about it, is a big warning sign that the relationship is in trouble. So if you love your baby and you are committed to improving your relationship, addressing your sex life is a great place to start.
But let’s be honest: Feeling uncomfortable about becoming too physical after welcoming your baby is normal and especially common in the first few months after a mom gives birth. Since nobody dares to speak about their lack of sex, both husbands and wives start doubting themselves: Men lose confidence and feel rejected, while their spouses feel unattractive, unwanted and unsexy. As a result, sex becomes another trigger for more conflicts and disputes, often enhancing arguments that are already evolving from role changes, lifestyle adjustments and even financial tensions.
YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY MAN WHO DIDN’T HAVE MUCH SEX LATELY!
What most of us don’t realize is that almost every couple struggles with intimacy after having their first baby. There are all sorts of reasons for this:
Initially, we need to give our partner time to physically recover. But when we stop hooking up with our partner, testosterone levels drop, which is why many men tend to crave less for sex. Women on the other hand feel touched out by their babies–and let’s face it– they suddenly transform from sexy studs into a supermoms. Add the fact that couples feel tired and exhausted, and it becomes apparent why so many of us experience longer periods of sexual abstinence.
Unfortunately, when we stop having sex for longer periods of time, we become lazy. We care less about how we look, ignore seduction attempts by our partner and over time even withdraw from her altogether. This is how so many dads end up feeling isolated and rejected when witnessing their wives spending so much time with their little one.
I remember how right after the birth of our son, it was extremely difficult for me to become intimate again. We were both feeling quite irritable and tired so it just didn’t seem right. Luckily I had the courage to speak to other couples about their relationships and realized that we are all in the same boat! Just because we argue more often, feel more exhausted and less sexy, does not mean something is wrong with our marriage. We sometimes forget we have just added a new person into our lives, and that takes some adjustments.
And if you haven’t had sex for a while, you are not alone. I met couples who needed weeks, others months and some even years to get back into their normal lovemaking routines. Don’t get me wrong– I am not advocating to accept having a poor sex life. To the contrary, what I am saying is that it is your responsibility to get out of your comfort zone and spice up your marriage, and in a minute I will tell you how. My point is that too many couples give up on their relationship way too quickly, whether they get divorced or simply live together feeling disillusioned and unhappy.
WARM UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP IMMEDIATELY
Let me tell you what I did when I realized that we needed to prioritize intimacy. Instead of panicking, I decided to work on our relationship and use the birth of our boy as an opportunity to upgrade our relationship, deepen our communication and reviving our sex life.
We started by integrating these simple practices into our life so that having regular sex would become much easier:
- 7-8 hours Sleep You may think it is impossible. I did too. However, I made a few adjustments that made all the difference. I now go to sleep by latest 10pm on normal weekdays, and have a nighttime ritual that includes a soothing shower, no TV-and phone time at least an hour before going to sleep, that spending at least 30 minutes of quality time with my wife. These steps have made all the difference because it is hard to jumpstart your libido when you feel tired.
- Speaking Time. As I mentioned above, my wife and I spend some time together before going to sleep. But even just 10 minutes of talking time will give you both have the opportunity to express feelings, needs and desires. Once you both reconnect again emotionally, good sex will follow.
- Becoming More Physical. We have always been quite a physical couple. However, as parents we needed to redefine sex to include more than just penetration. My wife and I now use every opportunity to hug, kiss and cuddle together, and it triggers instant pleasure every time.
- Flirting: This is something we forgot in the first 1-2 weeks after the birth of our son. But it’s amazing how just a few words can make such a difference. I try and surprise my wife every few days with a very thoughtful text message, a hidden note that she may find at a random moment, or by sending her flowers with a handwritten card, and every single time these little surprises make her glow from joy.
- Asking Questions. I wanted to find out how it felt for my wife to be a mom, what her biggest struggles were, what she was dreaming about for the future, and what her deepest desires looked like. She reciprocated by asking me about how this change of becoming a dad felt like. These moments of sharing were extremely bonding,
- Listening. Sometimes women just want to be heard, so I really made an effort to become more patient and try and relive the words that my wife was sharing. By learning to empathize with your partner and all she goes through, you will instantly become her superhero again.
RITUALIZE INTIMATE TIME TOGETHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Of course, some things will work better for you than others. And it is up to you to fine tune the details. But they will definitely help you rekindle our relationship. I see these actions as a kind of foreplay that needs to be in place before addressing our sex lives.
However, if you are serious about spicing up your love life, you need to have regular sex. So how can you do that, now that you are busier than ever with a whole family to take care of?
Well, here is the thing. Like with other areas in your life, it all comes down to creating habits that help you live the lifestyle you want. This doesn’t need to be too difficult, but it takes consistency. Like going to the gym, starting a new hobby, or waking up earlier, every beginning or new start is a bit more difficult. However, once we overcome the initial resistance, we start finding joy in our new behavior.
In the same way, it is essential to create routines of spending intimate moments together. The trick that really made all the difference to us was scheduling our time together in the same way we schedule anything else. Initially that meant planning the day, time and place that we would spend some quality time together in advance.
Yes, I know this sounds premeditated and unromantic. However, it works wonders, because only by ritualizing time for ourselves, do we build up the kind of stamina that allows us to overcome all the obstacles that can make intimacy so difficult for new parents. Even an hour per week can make all the difference. I remember how my wife and I used to find excuses all the time why not to have sex, until we made sex become an integral part of our lifestyle again that we both crave for.
By scheduling your time together, you can address any obstacles that could distract you both from enjoying your time together. For example, you may want to leave your baby with your parents and create the kind of romantic setting that will allow your wife and yourself to switch off from everything else that is going on in your life.
HOW TO HAVE AMAZING SEX LIFE
So now that you know about the importance to intimate time together, let me share with you 6 tips that will help you regain a vibrant sex life without any further delay:
- Avoid feeling pressurized: During your time together, be romantic and have fun, without experiencing the need to have full-blown sex. Teasing and taunting each other with kisses, massages and anything else that pleases both of you qualifies as intimate time.
- Have date nights together: If you can, add weekly date nights for the two of you to enjoy quality moments together. This is your time alone together, to experience a romantic ambience and to become real lovers again. The quicker you start with this, the easier it will be to revive your sex life.
- Create a romantic atmosphere: Small details like candle lights and clean sheets can make your time together more bonding and fun. Stimulate the senses by using aroma sticks for a pleasant smell, and playing sensual music.
- Be flexible: Scheduling intimate time in advance may sound premeditated. But there is room for some creativity as to when, where and how you both engage with each other. For example, I often feel exhausted in the evenings, my wife and I enjoy planning our time together on weekends that our son is with my parents, so we have time for ourselves in the afternoon. Also be open minded and experiment what gives you both joy and pleasure.
- Be a giver: Focus on making your wife feel desired and attractive, and giving her the kind of joy that will make her want to reciprocate. By treating her like your queen, you will soon become a true king.
- Clear your head: It can be hard to switch off from distractions like thinking about your business, your kids, or anything else that is circulating your mind. However, try to make this your “us time”, and commit to being fully present, playful and open with your partner. The more you can do this, the better and more fun your sex life will become.
You will discover that spending time together in this kind of intimate setting will help you both communicate more openly, share both vulnerabilities and desires and create a deeper more trusting connection between each other. You will find out that this kind of intimacy is the bread and butter for better sex.
The best part is that once you have rekindled your sex life, other areas of your relationship will improve as well. You will feel more confident, happy and energized. All of a sudden, being a dad will become the most enjoyable time of your life!
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