I’m always anxious to read the latest advice from sex columnists about how to have amazing sex. My problem is that they often fail to speak to the reality of life after children. Of course I’d love to languish in those Halcion days when we spent nights doing nothing but worshiping each other. Those were the days. But why doesn’t anyone talk about having amazing sex after children?
The sex advice people suggest spicing up your love life. I’d love to have a few hours to do yoni massage in a quiet room filled only with sitar music and the aroma of sandalwood wafting in my nostrils. Children present too many interruptions and distractions. We never had the money or the child care back-up to do weekend get-aways. Waiting until late at night usually means someone is sleeping. Lovemaking gets pushed to the back seat. It takes a toll.
I was involved with men’s spiritual development groups for years. We all took a pledge of silence like the Las Vegas code. On several occasions though my wife asked me if we talked about sex. I said married guys with children don’t want to talk about something that doesn’t exist—sex after children. I couldn’t tell them about my life or they’d kill me out of jealousy. I have had a great sex life after children. Actually it started before children as it does for most of us men, but for my wife and I it never stopped.
I’m in a second marriage. My first was a complete mulligan. Maybe some insights will be posted here down the line. Let me just say, to reinforce an observation about The Good Men Project, men are victims too. I was. Enough for now. Well, okay, a little more revelation.
I underwent a vasectomy in a desperate attempt to save my first marriage. My ex was so afraid of pregnancy that she would “forget” to take her pill. ( I know, it doesn’t make sense.) She contrived ever possible excuse to avoid sex. I really didn’t want children either, so it was no big deal for me at the time—anything to get more sex. However, when I had the procedure in the late 70’s, the folks at the family planning clinic wanted to be sure I knew it was highly unlikely I would ever be able to conceive naturally. I signed off willingly.
Turns out I was duped. Can’t go there now. My marriage dissolved soon after.
Some time later, I met the woman who would become my soulmate, the love of my life, all the magical things that a good relationship should be about. In our single days we were like mink. However, I knew when I proposed that I was committing to having children as our relationship wouldn’t work if we stayed childless. My wife was born to be a mother. I loved her enough to take the risk.
I underwent vasectomy reversal. In the aftermath I became her sex slave, as she rigidly followed the procedures for a thirty-five year old woman to get pregnant — sex every day she was at the proper basal temperature. We were told it could take a long time. The rabbit died before I was even out of my surgical recovery period.
We had sex all though the pregnancy. In the last days of a difficult and uncomfortable pregnancy, it became too painful for her. Thankfully, her gynecologist told her the way out was the same way she got in. Sex late in pregnancy will induce labor. I love that man. We had sex and she went into labor the next day.
Our first child was a crisis baby, born with a formerly fatal congenital heat defect. We took him back from the arms of the angels on several occasions. You’re never out of the woods with a heart baby, but that too is another story. I lost my job just before our second child was born. My father-in-law, my best scotch drinking buddy, died suddenly after the birth of #2. I think only a prison term is higher on the life stress levels. Still we held on to each other.
Okay, back to my opening point, the sex counsellors don’t acknowledge that sex after children comes in stolen moments. Foreplay becomes “Brace Yourself!” Children, for all their blessings, kill intimacy. It is the ruin of many marriages. Sexuality in marriage after children has to become a commitment and not an idle romantic indulgence.
Over the years my wife and I have stayed sexually engaged. Our sex life would not make a great XXX movie. A lot of it is under the covers, quietly in the dark, but still, a connection. Unable to have wild sexual fantasies played out, we have found our own means of fun. One of them involves me paying my wife for sex. It serves a dual purpose. Money has always been short in our situation—we have been a one income family—I’m the at-home dad. I have terrible money insecurities. My wife loves to shop and buy stuff—fortunately, she is frugal. Still, her spending has been a source of stress in our relationship. I think I own four pairs of shoes, she could supply a small nation with her collection. There is rarely a day when she doesn’t shop and buy herself something. The clutter has me tearing my hair out at times. But it’s the money fear that is most troubling for me, and I admit, irrational.
I do most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry, so lavishing those treats on her doesn’t open any romantic gateways. We needed something else.
Somehow we came up with the fun idea that I would pay her for sex. The money she “earns” she is free to spend without me nagging her. She has never denied me sex, but it has put a little naughty fun into a stressful situation that many couples face.
I don’t know if our little arrangement will work for you, I’m just saying don’t be discouraged by the sexologists, find a way to keep sex alive in your relationship, even if you have to “pay” for it.
Photo: Flickr/J.K. Califf