“Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.” –Albert Einstein
If you’re a parent, see if this scenario sounds vaguely familiar:
Prior to having kids you and your spouse were carefree. Weekend trips, spontaneous vacations and a whole bunch of sex. When you found out you were having kids, you knew some things would change. Namely things like the spontaneity and the vacations. But the sex? If you’re a guy, I’m willing to bet you didn’t think the frequency of sex would be much of a factor. But in the weeks, months (and even years) after a child is born it does change. Big time. Actually strike that. It changes for her, but not usually for him. Men still find their wives as attractive as ever. Men still crave physical intimacy. Men still need sex. But women often don’t.
I thought of old Albert’s quote recently after an in-depth online discussion that encompassed marriage, sex, kids and specifically what to do when your marriage is strained because you’re not having any sex after having kids. It was actually very eye-opening and I discovered that in my extremely unscientific extrapolations, a lack of sex after kids arrives on the scene and is prevalent in 95 percent of couples.
So the question is what, if anything, can/should be done about this?
First of all, men understand that in the immediate aftermath of child birth sex isn’t a possibility. And we also understand there can be postpartum depression and other factors that play into a woman’s decreased sex drive. We know that if we pressure you for sex at these times, it’s our own fault.
But what if it carries on? What if it’s no longer a medical malady, but just a case of her simply not wanting sex?
I guess I can understand to a point. Maybe she’s a stay at home mom and has one or two kids clinging to her all day. She does housework all day and by the time hubby gets home she’s understandably at the end of her rope. And after having a toddler scream and stick to you all day, the last thing you want is for your husband to be all over you. Or she works all day and then comes home to the myriad of household chores and childcare duties awaiting her. By the time everything is all done it’s inevitably time for bed and passing out from exhaustion sounds a whole lot more appealing than getting your freak on.
But here’s the thing: that just doesn’t fly.
A man needs to pull his weight in the marriage and family. If his job is to work full time and make money, he has to do that during the day. If it’s to stay at home with the kids, he needs to do that too. If he is working outside of the home, he needs to realize he’s not off the clock when he comes home. The work continues. He needs to do dishes, laundry, help clean up, change diapers, etc. I honestly think most men fall into this category, I know I do.
But if this is the case and the husband and wife share a 50-50 partnership, the woman (or however unusual the circumstances, the man) should not be able to use “I’m tired” as a valid excuse to go weeks or months without any physical intimacy!
You know what? All parents are tired. It’s the nature of the game. But you cannot be so tired that you avoid keeping your marriage fresh. And whether anyone wants to admit it or not, having sex is a CRUCIAL part of a successful marriage. Traditionally men show their feelings in a more physical way than women. In most cases it was fine before kids, and most couples say they had a healthy sex life. So if a guy is getting some 3-4 times a week prior to kids and then that number drops to 1-2 times a month afterwards, that is a genuine problem.
Yet all too often men are made to feel like we’re the insensitive ones when/if we bring this up. But we’re not the ones who changed a major component of our relationship. Why shouldn’t we be concerned?
So in an effort to try to get our wives back to the bedroom, we try different methods. Maybe we bring home some flowers, send her sweet e-mails and texts during the day or write a poem. But more than likely, we do things like increase our share of the household chores in order to give her a break. Take the kids out for an afternoon so she can go to the spa or get her nails done. Are we doing this because we’re thoughtful and we love our wives and want them to be happy? Yes. Are we doing it in order to increase our chances at some romance later on? You bet your ass!
But in my discussion online with a group of mothers, I found that even that doesn’t work. These women were reporting loving, supportive husbands who take care of the kids, the house, the bills, etc. But even though these women claim to be happy with the distribution of parental responsibility and still very much attracted to their husbands, they say things like “I’m just too damn tired for sex.”
I guarantee if a guy is doing his damndest to make a woman happy yet it’s been months since they slept together, trouble will begin brewing. Maybe he starts wondering why she doesn’t find him attractive anymore. Maybe he wonders if she’s interested in someone else. Maybe he starts to look around at other women. Whatever happens, the potential outcomes are overwhelmingly negative.
I think it is the obligation of the person in the marriage not wanting sex, to suck it up and get it on.
I know I’m going to catch shit for this, but I don’t care. I’ve been honest with all you guys up to this point and I’m not going to stop now.
Many of the moms in my discussion said this is the route they take. And they admit they’re not always in the mood at first, but most report that when things start getting hot and heavy, so do they. Yes, they’re making a sacrifice (if you can really call sex a sacrifice) but that’s what marriage is all about. You don’t think guys make sacrifices? You think he really wanted to go to that art museum or watch the latest crappy Sandra Bullock movie? Hell no! He did it to make you happy. And if you’re on the verge of finding yourself in a sexless marriage, you need to make one too.
Personally, I’m attracted to my wife like you read about. Ideally we’d make love every single day of the week. MJ had some PPD and other medical issues after Will was born, so I understood the lapse. Are we back at what I call a “sustainable level” of 2-3 times a week? Nope. Am I frustrated with that? Well, I’m writing this post aren’t I?
But in talking to moms and dads with kids around the same age as Will, I’ve found I’m far from alone. And that’s too bad. Because if men are being good dads and husbands and moms don’t have any medical conditions holding them back, then there’s no excuse for not knockin’ the boots. Physical attraction is a huge part of what brought you together in the first place for God’s sake. So that aspect of the relationship, along with all the others, should be nurtured just like everything else.
It is the obligation of both people in the marriage to make sure of that.