Keeping Your Sex Life Alive After Having Kids – How to Have A Great Sex Life After Marriage and Children

Summary: If you want a good sex life, and you are in a long-term relationship with children, you need to make having sex at least as high a priority as brushing your teeth.

So Joe bumps into Bob at the gym.

“How’s it going Bob?

“Not so good Joe. I almost got fired from my job yesterday.”

“Dude, why?”

“They said I haven’t  been coming to work over the last two weeks.”

“What? You mean you just don’t show up?”

“Well I’d like to but I don’t think you should force these things. Working should come naturally. It should be spontaneous or it ruins its specialness. Lately it just hasn’t been happening.”

“You’re shitting me right? Like you don’t even set an alarm clock?”

“No, of course not. I don’t want to force it. If I’m supposed to go to work it will just happen. It will feel right.”

“Ok, I’m not going to argue with you on that one because you are either whacked in the head or you’re fucking with me. Either way, I’m done. But what’s up with your teeth? They’ll all yellow and crusty and your breath stinks like a sewer!”

“Well I haven’t brushed in like a month or so…”

“Huh? Are you crazy. Your teeth are going to rot out!”

“Well I’d like to have clean teeth but I just haven’t been in the mood. It’s not natural to force yourself to brush your teeth. It’s not like I don’t try. I’ll get out the toothbrush and even put it on the counter. Sometime I’ll even put some toothpaste on it.  But then something else just comes up, the kids distract me, or I get too tired and just go to bed instead.”

“Look, if you want to have healthy teeth you need to brush them. That’s it. You can’t wait around for it to happen. You need to make a schedule.”

“I just don’t believe that. My body will tell me when the time is right. God didn’t put me on earth to act like some robot that just brushes their teeth on command or forces themselves to go to work. These things are intimate and special. If it was meant to be, it will be.”

“Dude. I’m outta here.”

If you had a friend like Bob you’d be rightfully worried. His behavior in nonsensical, self defeating,  and a guarantee that he will never achieve his goals of full employment and fresh breath.Yet, I see busy, stressed out couples who think somehow they can achieve a healthy fulfilling sex life using Bob’s failed techniques.

They have no problem scheduling after school activities for their children or getting to work on time. If they want clean clothes they have no issues about setting some time aside to do the laundry. If they want to eat, somehow they make sure there is food in the refrigerator and they have an hour or so to cook. If they want to watch their favorite show they Tivo it and set aside time to watch it. Yet when it comes to sex, these same organized, and completely sane, reasonable people will act like airy fairy hippies waiting in the parking lot for a free ticket to a sold out Dead show. Somehow the “magic” will just happen.

Well magic doesn’t just happen. You make it happen. This is real life and there is no reason to think sex will be any different.

Now planning a sex life doesn’t have to be tedious or dispassionate. These are myths. You’re simply acknowledging the importance of a healthy sex life and doing something to make it happen. You can plan to the minute and cover the tiniest detail or it can very loose. For example, my partner and I have settled on the “every second or third day” plan. It keeps us on schedule but also allows for illness, stress, and fluctuation of desires. But either way you must plan and prioritize.

Myth #1: Planning for Sex Hurts Spontaneity

Many are convinced that planning hurts spontaneity. But what is spontaneity and why do we place such value on it? What in life is truly spontaneous? Even things that seem spontaneous at first, often had a series of events that lead to making the event a possibility. Plus when the time came to take advantage of the spontaneous opportunity, didn’t you make a series of mental calculations to see if it was in your best interest anyway? Of course you did. Very few things in life are truly spontaneous and most of them are tragic. Getting hit by a drunk driver is spontaneous. So is experiencing an earthquake or catching a bullet in a drive by. However, your wedding, if you’re married, was most likely planned. Having children was probably planned, at least generally. Landing that great job or buying a new car was most likely planned as well. Even winning the lottery is planned because you consciously made a decision to purchase a ticket. Just about anything good in your life was planned.

But being overrated is only one part of the spontaneity myth. The other part is denying the fact that anything spontaneous in your life already disappeared long ago. Being spontaneous is a holdover fantasy of a lifestyle that has long ceased to exist. It’s gone. It evaporated the day your first child was born. The sooner you accept this the better.

Sure, when you were young, childless, and drunk on lust, sex was spontaneous. My partner and I had it on the beach, in the forest, in the car, on the floor, the couch, and in the shower. Pretty much anytime and anywhere was good if we were in the mood. But sex wasn’t the only thing that was spontaneous. Our whole life was kind of like that. That’s the way it is when your young and have little responsibilities.

But once the initial honeymoon fades, you put on a few years, and children enter the picture, you no longer have a spontaneous life. Every minute is accounted for. Someone has to be watching the kids. There’s routines for getting ready for school and going to bed. There are doctors appointments, dentist appointments, and shopping for clothes. There’s planning for the holidays and birthday parties. Not to mention tantrums, illness, discipline, and making sure there are regular meals. And this is just the kid stuff. For you and your partner there’s work, cleaning the house, home repairs, paying bills, exercising, shopping, eating, sleeping and hopefully an hour or so of downtime after the kids are asleep. If you’re lucky you have perhaps two hours a day to yourself.

Yet many couples expect sex to spontaneously happen during this time. How exactly is this is supposed to happen? Your whole life is scheduled from morning till night. To think somehow your sex life will buck the trend and defy the odds is a pipe dream.

The third component of the spontaneity myth is defining spontaneity as the act itself. Just because you planned to have sex every Thursday doesn’t mean the sex you have during that time can’t be wildly passionate and spontaneous. You can have unplanned, yet hum drum, vanilla sex on an exotic beach just as easily as in the bedroom. It’s not the planning that takes away the creativity, the exuberance and spontaneity, it’s the attitudes of the participants. Boring dispassionate people have boring dispassionate sex. Your scheduled sexual encounters can be just a spontaneous and fee flowing as that great time on the kitchen table after breakfast when you were 23. Planning just reserves time so it’s guaranteed to happen. What you do with that time is up to you.

Myth #2: Planning for Sex Kills the Passion. Everyone Knows You Can’t Make Yourself Be in the Mood

There’s an old Hebrew expression that says “with the food comes the appetite”. Thinking about sex, anticipating sex, and preparing for sex increases desire, not mitigates it. It’s like planning for a great dinner. You’ve picked the restaurant and you’ve been looking forward to it all day. Just you, your partner and some great food. Any chance you won’t be hungry when the food comes? Not likely.

How about a fishing trip or a night out on the town. Does knowing when these activities will happen, and then preparing for them, increase or decrease your excitement? Do we even need to ask?

Sex is the same. Just fantasizing about sex for a minute or two produces sexual arousal. You don’t  sit around waiting to magically be in the mood, you put yourself in the mood by thinking about it, preparing for it and talking about it.


Now I know from talking to other couples and reading many studies on sexual attitudes that many people simple cannot shed themselves of their sexual preconceptions. In their mind they’ve placed sex in a special category and have romanticized it to the point of oblivion. For them, this advice is just too creepy. Talking about sex so frankly, making it a priority, and planning for and pursuing sexual fulfilment takes a back seat to preserving their fantasies about how sex should be.

If this is you, then enjoy your infrequent yet spontaneous sex. Hope you get lucky enough to keep yourself sane. However, if you want to take the plunge and give your sex life the same priority that you give brushing your teeth, then I guarantee you will have a more fulfilling sex life. It’s simple mathematics.

File Under: Sex Life After Having Children – Successful Sex after Children – Keeping a Great Sex After Having Kids – How to Have A Great Sex Life After Marriage and Kids – Sex and Marriage Challenges

9 Responses to “Keeping Your Sex Life Alive After Having Kids – How to Have A Great Sex Life After Marriage and Children”

  • Momma Imp Says:

    Geez, again with the sex. Lol. My husband and I have been together for almost 9 years and married for almost 5. By the time we got married the honeymoon phase was already over. Ha, I remember on our wedding night we were so tired from all the visiting of family and friends leaving the next day that we almost didn’t have sex, but we did. While we tend not to “plan” sex we both tend to keep a mental track of when the last time was. If it has been more than a week than we will check with the other to find out hows it going and if any lovin’ is needed. Sometimes it is me, sometimes him. Planning sex is actually difficult for us to do because of his work schedule. So it tends to be a thing of if we happen to have a spare hour and one or the other is in the mood.

    Funny enough since I got off a hormonal birth control my sex drive has been higher. Also I have learned how to switch over to the man brain thinking. When my husband gets bitchy and stressed I just put the kids in the rooms and get him some attention. Switching over to man thinking helps to put me in the mood without having to be romanced. (which is what you were talking about)

    But I agree with you. Just as one nurtures their children they must also nurture their sex life.
    .-= Momma Imp´s lastest blog ..Children = No sleep =-.


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    Yeah, I was inspired by all the chatter on my “get more sex” post as well as what I see around me. I really don’t get it. How does anyone expect their relationship to survive without addressing the sex issue seriously?

    There’s two things that rule our lives both covertly and overtly and that’s money and sex. Yet these two topics are for the most part off limits. People just don’t talk about it. But statistically money and sex problems cause the most stress on a relationships. It’s all backwards.

    I agree that what you and your husband are doing is, while not tehnically as schedule, is most definitely a “plan”.

    My next sex post is going to be about romance. As a society i think we get that one all wrong as well. If I have to read another piece of advice about “bubble baths by candlight” I think I’m going to puke.

    Thanks again for writing.


  • Barnerom Says:

    I just about probably found a new favourite blog 🙂 I really think you write very good and entertaining blog posts! Hats off!!… nice to have a place to vent things 🙂


  • Mich Says:

    I’m a working mom from Singapore, a small Asian city that houses one of the least sexually active ppl in the world (it’s true). Sex life after having 2 kids is almost non existent, except on vacation, which does not happen often enough. Your article has inspired me enough to wake up my hubby from his sleep to offer some lovin, which of cos took him by surprise but was very much welcome. Thank you for putting this issue in such a refreshing perspective.


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    Your welcome and keep at it. Sexual desire is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it it just gets smaller and weaker until it disappears.


  • Melbri Says:

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years in November last year (2011).
    I am 28 and there is 24 years between us.
    We have two children under 3.5.
    My husband had a Vasectomy on the 27th April last year – the reason for me remembering it? it was the lat time we had sex 🙁
    I never feel like it and then my hubby never feels like it – we never seem to have any time as I start early in the mornings and hubby drives intrastate trucks 2-3 times a week – the boys go to bed by 8pm and I turn in at 8.30pm, and if hubby isnt asleep by then on the lounge when he is home, it is a rarety – I just cant seem to get the time, let alone the libido to go along with it… any ideas anyone?


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    My suggestion is you need to schedule sex and stick too it even if the two of you aren’t in the mood. Once you get into, almost anyone eventually gets in the mood. Also you must start schedule date nights if you aren’t already. A lot of couples with young children start relating to each other only through the children. The problem with this is it keeps you in parent mode which is not helpful for couple bonding. When you relate to your partner primarily through the children it prevents you from courting and flirting and experiencing emotional and intellectual intimacy with your partner. So you need to put the kids away somewhere at least once a week so you can remind yourselves why you are together. With your schedule this is an absolute must. That would also be a good time to schedule sex.

    Also, if you and your partner aren’t exercising regularly or eating a primarily whole food diet (no fast food and very little processed food… preferable no sugar either) it would really help your sex life. This one of the first things that parents lose as our focus shifts from ourselves to our children.

    Whole plant based foods (loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients) nurture you body on the cellular level while processed foods just dump nutrient free calories into your system.

    You will feel more frisky, sleep better (and need less of it to feel refreshed), and have more energy with regular exercise and whole foods. (I know that’s harder said than done, but it’s more important on what you DO eat rather than what you DON’T eat. Just focus on eating good stuff and you won’t have to worry about avoiding the bad because you’ll be too full with the good stuff.)

    I’ve been experimenting with diet my whole life and the effects are profound.


  • sooze Says:

    Wow amazing advice, we have a 2 and 3 year old and a non existent sex life which is mainly my fault as I have no sex drive since child birth, but my 2 year old now sleeps through the night (only been 2 weeks)and I am on a major exercise programme, which I hope will help, #
    going to take the plunge tonight and try to discuss a schedule for some loving, wish me well = nervous


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    Good luck. I understand the nervous part because we have so little practice on how to have discussions about sex. We’re told to keep quite about it when we’re kids, then when we are an adult it’s hardly discussed either. My experience has been that the more you talk about the easier it gets and it’s also a really big relief to have these types of conversations after the problem builds up. Once it’s over you’ll wonder what all the anxiety and fuss was all about.


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