A few months ago, I read somewhere that one in four couples stops having sex after having a baby ... forever. As
in, never again. Not "take a few months
off." Not "have it 70 percent less than
before." Forever. As in they will not be having sex anymore.
Oh, come on!
But, as I was musing about how long "forever" really meant
to these couples, about what kind of sad relationship these sexless couples
were having, I started to think about the last time I had sex. And here's the thing—I couldn't effing remember.
I tried to make myself feel better by focusing on the fact
that I don't remember most things anymore. I tried to quiz my recall: When did I last
speak to my mother? When did I last
shave my legs? When was the last time I
ate at Taco Bell? I spoke to my mom last
week. I don't remember the shaving. And I ate Taco Bell two weeks ago. But the point is this: Even if my crap memory only goes back a few
weeks, it has no recollection of me having sex with my husband in at least the last few weeks.
"OMG, is that me?! Am
I the one in four? Do I have that sad, sexless relationship? Is this the
beginning of forever?"
I consider myself a very sexual person. Having sex is important to me. Before the birth of my daughter a little over
a year ago, I used to have it—used to need it—daily. It was a requirement for me to be in a good
mood. I used to skip the section of the
What to Expect books about "sex after baby" and dismiss the articles about
"how to spice it up" as a mommy. I
already had one child, and it hadn't changed a thing in that department. I didn't need to read that stuff. They weren't talking to me. No. I
was borderline nympho.
Of course I took a break from the nookie after my daughter
was born. But after six weeks and some
healing, I was good to go again. No, it
wasn't daily, but in the 2nd through the 12th month post-baby,
my husband and I were having sex regularly. And then there was the slump, which just kind of happened without me
Cut to commercial where the woman looks at herself in the
mirror and sees herself in a short, hot, cleavage-baring dress, then turns
around to look again and she's wearing a Baby Bjorn and palazzo pants. And she's cut her own bangs.
I took back my inner nympho.
Though I want to pretend that I'm not, I'm even more tired than I ever was when my baby was just a few months old. She walks and climbs and needs constant chasing. Combine that with my failed efforts at sleep-training her, and working all day, and it's a terrible setup for spry, energetic sex. The endorphins and new baby adrenaline—which carried me through and kept me knockin' the boots for the first year after birth—have tanked, leaving me more exhausted than ever.
Right after the baby, I wasn't so worried about what my body
looked like. I had an excuse for it
all—I JUST HAD A DAMN BABY! And my boobs
were HUGE, so who cared what else was happening. It's been over a year now, and I'm aware of
my post-baby body. It's difficult not to
feel gross even when he says I'm beautiful.
But as legitimate as these excuses were, they were still
excuses. I realized I needed to do
something. I needed to take back my
big-breasted nurse! I was not going to
"not have sex forever!"
I realized my sexuality is a big part of who I am, that a healthy sex life is important to my
well-being. I'd been feeling rather
depressed in recent months, and I just pinned it on being run-down. I'd been feeling gross, and old. And gross. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in neglecting
my sex life, I was neglecting me. Expressing
myself in that way brings me happiness, a sense of self, confidence. But it's a bit of a vicious cycle. When you are tired and don't feel sexy, you
don't feel like having sex. And when you
don't have sex, you don't feel sexy. Well, the cycle just had to be broken.
So that week, I took back my inner nympho. I would NOT be the one in four. Not this tigress. I made a decision to make my sex life a
priority. I started planning my days to
make time for nookie. I began getting my daughter
to sleep early enough so that I wouldn't crash and lose the opportunity to be
close to my husband (acting out my ringmaster/lion fantasy). To
really embrace myself, every extra pound, every jiggle, every mark. To proudly pull out my crystal-embellished
whip! And, since then, it's not only brought
me out of my funk, but it has also made me a better wife (mmm, hmmm) and mother
because I'm being true to me, again, feeding my needs so I can more happily
feed my children's.
It's easy when
you're a mom to feel guilty, especially about prioritizing something so
un-mom-like as sex. But whatever it is—be it your love of gardening, love of Mod Podge, your love of watching House
of Cards—if it is part of who you are and a means of expressing yourself, you
cannot neglect it.
So thank God for that article, and its one-in-four statistic. Its "stupid" headline saved
me from becoming part of that (probably bogus) statistic, but more importantly,
helped me get back to myself.