It’s evening and they get ready for bed. Quite the normal procedure as most nights: brushing teeth, quickly checking whether the children are asleep, then reading a few pages in a book and finally light off. A few minutes later his hand wanders over his wife’s belly and inch by inch going deeper. He pauses for a moment, to see whether she likes it. No response. He carries on and feels hormones rushing through his body doing the wild let’s-have-sex-dance. Gently he touches her and his hand even shivers of excitement. Yes, this is so awesome. His mind is already one step ahead and he imagines his wife touching him and them having hot, wild sex.
Abruptly everything comes to a full stop. His wife turns over and mumbles something of being tired and not in the mood. A few minutes later she is asleep and he feels frustrated, again.
Life can be so full of paradox. Wherever we go we’ll get flooded with all kind of images of naked, half-naked and photoshoped woman. Whether it’s getting a paper from the local shop where over dimensioned breasts on magazines are being displayed, or it’s waiting for the bus which will have big adverts for a dating agency on it sides, or when we quickly scan the online news and – again, so called sexy images invite us to click them for the ultimate adventure.
All these images and ads transport one message: Sex. And even more important: woman want sex – anytime and anywhere. Always ready for the man, just waiting for his call or his click. With this absurd message in mind, men wonder: is my wife normal? Why isn’t she doing an erotic dance performance to get me into the bed? Where is her lust and passion for hot and wild nights?
When speaking to other men and fathers, I was surprised how many confirm exactly that picture of the so called cold bed and frustrating attempts of trying to have sex. Sometimes these disappointments and frustrations end up in watching porn or looking for a lover. It is true: most relationships (whether childless or not) will go through phases of little or no sex. For some they last a few weeks, or months, for some even years.
So, this is quite complex. I’m not here to talk about all kinds of reasons which could be held responsible for having trouble with your or your partner’s libido. It depends on so many things (health issues, postnatal depression etc.) and I’m not claiming to be an expert. I’m just sharing some thoughts and experience when it comes to dads and couples with younger children.
Yes, sex changes a lot over time, pre- and after baby. Before having a child most couples enjoy their sex life. Then the baby comes along and for weeks or months (yes, it can feel even longer) almost nothing happens in bed.
So here we are: no sex + high frustrations = unwanted tensions and stress. Yes, some men consider looking for a lover. That might help in the short run but often will have a disturbing or even destroying impact on trust and the relationship. I think some of us accept the fact that it’s just a phase and are happy with having sex reside at the bottom of their priority list, however, others are not as content with how their love life is developing but equally unsure or simply too drained to do something about it. After all, what can you do?
One way to look at this is to question the general image of sex in our society. As I said earlier, we get overloaded with pictures of women, telling us: here, take me, I’m yours.
Really? Are all women just desperate and ready for a man’s call? It is just so bonkers.
Honestly, what media and money making corporates trying to sell us stinks. Women become objectified and sexualised for nearly everything. Whether its cars, sports, holidays, shavers – you name it. I could write another page just about that nonsense, but I’ll make it short: Could you imagine your wife or daughter doing such crap? How would you feel going around and seeing dicks and sexy men everywhere, just to tell you, you’re not man enough? Don’t believe it. Don’t buy it!
Next see how else you could enjoy sex and intimacy again. Since I discovered Tantra Sex, I was hooked by how much fun it can bring. Tantra originates in India. It means “woven together” or “connecting with inner self”. And it makes sense, especially for exhausted and tired parents this is an excellent way to enjoy intimacy again without the pressure that one can feel when it comes to making love.
The reading of Diana and Michael Richardson’s books (“Tantric Orgasm for Woman” and “Tantric Sex for Men: Making Love a Meditation”) brought me new ideas on how to celebrate sex. Not the ultimate goal – an orgasm – is the main focus anymore; the focus on each other becomes the centre.
What you might try, for example, is ‘soul gazing’: you find a comfy space, when all is quiet in the house, and sit face to face with your partner and look into each other’s eyes. It is such a simple, yet beautiful way to connect with another person. From here, once you made that deep connection, it is so much easier to feel what the other likes, caress and see where it takes you.
I also like Tom Hodgkinson’s (author of “The Idle Parent”) suggestion to just go to bed early! Well rested parents mean a more manageable day with the kids ahead as well as less irritated and snapping at each other parent. And of course that time can then be spent relaxing, if you feel like sex, great, if not great too! In bed you can cuddle up, read, write, give each other a massage, read to one another etc. You are much more likely to be in the mood for sex, when relaxed and emotionally close.
But don’t ever take any technical stuff into bed! (Or have a TV in your bedroom, you want to nourish your relationship, not kill it, right?)
Parents need to get creative and patient when it comes to sex. I certainly found that the less couples stress about it and accept what it is and are honest with each other, the more they enjoyed the intimacy they had.
Sometimes when we think we “need” sex, what we really need is some physical closeness and appreciation of our (new) roles as parents AND lovers.
See more at: dadstalk.wordpress.com
On Twitter @EmpathicFathers
photo: Flickr/Bryan Brenneman