When Married Sex Becomes a Chore
There are, in my opinion, two major shifts in mentality when you get married. Firstly. You rejoice at the idea you can finally stop worrying about those awful first dates! The butt clenching awkward silences and the stupid mind games caused by the ‘who will call or text first’ dance that follows.
Secondly. You don’t have to worry about when the next time you are going to ‘get some’ is going to be!
Yes, I said it! Some of us women do have a sex drive – don’t be so shocked! But yes, it means that when you are married, you know that you have that gorgeous man in your life, in your bed, each and every night if and when you want him.
BUT – BOOM, then something happens. Something amazing and fuzzy and something that makes you and your man smile and sing and get all excited… That little blue line appears and you get to announce to the world that you have “made a life!”
Suddenly your amazing life where you can have your man whenever you want, wherever you want, however many times a day you want, changes. Pregnancy means big fat bloating belly, heartburn, sleepless nights and restless days. If you were anything like me, sex was the first thing to go out the window! However, at least for me, the sickness was the main reason. Even rocking myself backwards and forwards to gain momentum to get my ass off the couch was enough to make me feel sea sick and throw up the glass of water that I was so chuffed with myself for keeping down for the last half an hour.
So you finally get over the pregnancy thing, you have this gorgeous bundle of joy in your arms, your husband thinks you have never looked more beautiful than you do now that you have your child in your arms… but the sex thing… yeah that still hasn’t come back yet!
YOU ARE NOT ABNORMAL! Just because the doctors say that you can have sex six weeks after giving birth does NOT mean that you will be ready. It does however mean that your other half will be counting down the days on a tick chart in the kitchen to that ‘special day’.
Finally, a few weeks after that (or a few months, depending on how you are feeling – remember, everyone is different) you may finally feel you are getting your old body back. Your other half starts to feel like things are getting back to normal, and you sneak away while the baby is napping for a quiet little tumble in the sheets before you hear the screams from the cot in the nursery.
Skip forward a few years. That is where you will find me now. I have two, TWO of those bundles of joy! A three year old and a five year old. Neither of them are screaming babies or napping toddlers. They are both now fully walking, talking, attitude filled little mini people. They have their own schedules, and despite my best attempts to tame them, they seem to have the run of my house. My day is dictated by them.
Life has moved on for me and my husband. We both work very hard. He works in an office, so gets to walk away from the mad house for at least 8 hours a day. Me, not so much. My day starts at 6 am (if you discount the fact that I really work 24 hours a day and am on call for all the midnight screams and nightmares.)
I love my husband very much, but quality time is hard to come by when you have two mini beasts and jobs to contend with. My husband is also a geek. Which adds an extra dynamic. It means that I share my husband with the amazing Steve Jobs. In fact sometimes I am not so sure if I married a man or an Apple logo. I am pretty sure I see that damn Apple more than I see my husband’s face.
This is where the problem begins. When we were dating, my other half would spend hours wooing me. Talking to me and listening to my responses. This in turn would lead to romantic nights and candlelit love making.
These days, I creep up to bed early, so as not to wake the mini beasts, leaving my husband and our third companion on the couch tapping away sweet nothings to each other.
At roughly 2 am, my amazing other half will sneak into the bedroom, and a few moments later I will get a soft tap tap tap on my shoulder. Inevitably there is no response. A second, and slightly harder tap tap tap will follow, with the added “are you awake?” At this stage I will decide if I have had a good enough day to be nice, or in some cases he will get a swift sharp “NO. FUCK OFF.”
I do not enjoy The 2am Tap Tap Tap dance. The fact of the matter is, that back when we were dating, he wooed me. Now he spends his time with a laptop and comes to bed expecting me to jump to his every whim. Don’t get me wrong, I love sex and I love my husband, but putting a ring on my finger does not mean that you can ignore me for the whole night and once I have finally slipped into a dream filled sleep, you can wake me for a swift rumble and tumble before you fall into a deep sleep, leaving me angrily looking at the clock thinking “great, I have to be up in 4 hours with the kids.”
Keeping a sexual relationship going when you have kids is hard. The expectations we put on each other are often unrealistic. As a mum you feel tired and over worked and dream of a full night’s sleep. As a father (so I am told, at least) you suddenly have the expectations and pressures of providing a stable life for an ever growing family.
Putting that aside, you have to find time as a couple to sit down and work out boundaries. Be strong and strict and say – “A 2am tap tap tap just won’t cut it for me”, but be aware that your husband probably misses the days when waking you up at 2am was a romantic gesture.
As for me, I found a compromise.
Take me to bed once the kids are settled. Give me an hour of your time, some love and affection, then if you really want to carry on working into the wee small hours you can do it with a smile on your face, and I can sleep happy knowing that I won’t be woken up three or four hours before my job starts again.