Even as moms—or should we say, especially as moms?!—who isn’t even just the teeniest bit curious about the scoop on other moms’ sex lives? We could even be having the most satisfying sex of our lives and still wonder every now and then… Am I doing it ‘enough’? Are there ‘better’ ways to do it? Is my partner ‘really’ satisfied? You get the idea. Sex is just one of those topics we’re all naturally curious about. And when it comes to sex and motherhood, while we tend to be hailed for headlines tied to topics like ‘fitting in sex,’ ‘keeping sex steamy,’ ‘sex after kids,’ that doesn’t begin to capture the full spectrum of what we might be wondering about regarding our relationship to sex.
If you’ve had questions simmering about things like frequency, orgasms, desire, postpartum, and spiciness as they relate to sex and motherhood, wonder no more! We’ve polled hundreds of our readers, and they’ve generously shared their feedback with us in these areas of curiosity. More than simply about determining if we’re ‘keeping up’ with everybody else (let’s face it, that’s a hopelessly immeasurable standard anyway!), our hope is to shine a light on these helpful insights to support every mom’s access to sexual connection. We know that at its best, sex is pleasurable, it deepens our relationship with ourselves and our partners, and perhaps most obviously, it’s fun!
We’re beyond grateful to have an audience of strong women willing to share some of the more intimate details of their lives with us. Read on to discover the 20+ questions about sex and motherhood we loved learning the answers to from our mom friends.
Frequency of Sex
It’s totally normal to wonder if you’re having ‘enough’ sex. It’s also totally normal to wonder if you’re having as much sex as ‘everybody’ else is. Other activities—eating, sleeping, exercising, shopping, taking care of kids, or working—have a lot more transparency around what each looks like and the extent to which they happen. There’s either a certain assurance of frequency (most of us are eating or sleeping every day) or ubiquity (even if we can’t see them, we know others are taking care of their kids or working just like us). Meanwhile, sex is private. We don’t have the same degree of certainty that it’s happening or how much it’s happening.
Except just like we don’t eat, sleep, or engage in hobbies in the exact same way as everybody else, remember that sex is no different. Just because we see or hear it happening often in our favorite shows, movies, or songs doesn’t mean that’s the norm. It’s just what looks good, sounds good, and ultimately, sells. The ‘right’ amount of time to spend having sex during motherhood is what feels right for you and your partner. It’s really as simple as that.
When we asked our readers about how much they were having sex, here’s what they had to say:
1. How often are you engaging in sex (on average)?
- Four or more times a week – 3 percent
- Two to three times a week – 8 percent
- At least once a week – 36 percent
- One to two times a month or less – 53 percent
2. Do you wish you were having more sex?
- Yes – 31 percent
- Yes and no – 57 percent
- No – 12 percent
How much you’re having sex and how much you would like to be having sex isn’t always aligned. We get it. It’s not always possible to squeeze in everything you’d love to do on a given day, but it’s still nice to imagine.
At the very least, it’s going to be more refreshing for your sexual wellness to focus on hoping for more sex rather than questioning if the sex you’re having is enough. It is enough because it’s what is true for you, while your hope for more can be a seed that makes more sex happen!
3. What interferes with having sex the most?
- Exhaustion – 60 percent
- Not being in the mood – 30 percent
- Stress – 4 percent
- Something else – 6 percent
It’s probably not a shocker that being worn out tops the list. When you’re exhausted, it’s understandable that the motivation to have sex isn’t your first instinct. For moms, it’s carrying the heavy weight of the mental load and being the default parent that can be particularly draining. The less burdened partner might be ready to get frisky, but before even being able to think about joining in, a mom’s mind could be wrapped up in the volume of her pending household and childcare tasks. Having to explain to a partner how they can help balance the load so that they can find the space to be intimate piles on yet another stressor.
That being said, a valuable point Esther Perel, renowned relationship expert, couples therapist, and author of Mating in Captivity, makes is that when her “patients cite the all-too-real stresses of modern life to explain why romance went south, I suggest that there may be more to it. After all, [it] was a reliable feature of their lives long before they met, and it didn’t stop them from leaping into one another’s arms.”
Only you and your partner know when it feels essential to honor when you’re both totally depleted. If it’s the overwhelm of what’s on your to-do list as a mom that’s getting the best of you, having an honest conversation about the imbalance and finding a fair way to redistribute household responsibilities could make all the difference for your sex life together. On the other hand, if each partner’s to-dos feel aligned and you’re just wiped out, it’s worth remembering that sometimes when we go within ourselves to find that extra burst in our energy reserve to do something we know we’ll ultimately enjoy, we’re usually glad we did. Especially if it nourishes ourselves, our partner, and the bond we share with them.
4. Do you schedule sex?
- Yes – 11 percent
- No – 60 percent
- Sometimes – 29 percent
Scheduling sex is only unsexy if you say it is. There are tons of couples scheduling what proves to be their steamiest sexual encounters. After all, anticipation is an ingredient of desire. As Perel points out, “The idea that sex must be spontaneous keeps us one step removed from having to will sex, to own our desire, and to express it with intent.” If you’re silently craving a bit more sexy time, you might be surprised what a turn-on presenting your partner with an invitation to your next body party is!
5. Ultimately, how satisfied are you with your sex life currently?
- Happily satisfied – 17 percent
- Pretty satisfied – 36 percent
- Sort of satisfied – 29 percent
- Not too satisfied – 17 percent
The good news is that over half of our readers are more satisfied than not with how their sex lives are playing out. Still, everybody deserves sexual fulfillment! We hope that any mom feeling like they’re only sort of or not too satisfied with their sex life at the moment remembers that there is plenty of inspiration for improving your sex life to encounter.
Quality over quantity could never be more accurate than it is for sexual enjoyment. You could be having sex every day of the week, but if you’re not having a good time, then it completely defeats the purpose. While there are a variety of motivators for sex, it’s pretty safe to say that one of the biggest ones is pleasure. When we give and receive true pleasure, our senses come alive in all the best ways, and we’re left with no choice but to embrace it.
Given that parents lend so much of themselves to satisfy their children’s well-being, it’s vital that they experience pleasure themselves to recharge. Though it’s easy to prioritize ‘simpler’ pleasures, staying open to sex can offer an equally gratifying outlet of deeper pleasure with a more enduring impact.
When we polled our readers about indicators of their sexual pleasure, it only further reminded us that when you keep the prospect of your own pleasure on the table, you’re rewarded:
6. Do you feel your partner *knows* your body and how to optimize your pleasure?
- Yes – 46 percent
- Kind of – 41 percent
- Not really – 12 percent
Ideally, when you head into a sexual encounter with your partner, it’s nice to count on receiving the kind of pleasure you know you like. A surprisingly large percentage of readers responded that their partners only kind of know their bodies—while this suggests there’s room for improvement, it could also indicate there’s enough of a know-how to get things going and see what kind of magic can happen. In fact, perhaps (and hopefully!) that even leaves a layer of mystery to keep things exploratory and creative.
Rest assured for anyone in the ‘not really’ camp because it’s never too late to take control of your sex life and rekindle a body connection with your partner.
7. The sex has gotten…
- Better over time! – 25 percent
- Sadly downhill – 12 percent
- Ebbs and flows – 52 percent
- Want to see answers – 10 percent
Yes, better is ideal—but it’s also important to remember that sex is allowed to ebb and flow. From sexual exploration and waves of desire to sexual shame and postpartum changes, so many factors come into play that can enhance or detract from the quality of your sex life during motherhood. It’s helpful to keep the perspective that highs and lows have a dynamic relationship. There will (nearly) always be that next high to ride, and when it arrives, savor it for all it’s worth! For some reader-approved suggestions about trying to redirect negative sexual momentum, scroll down to the ‘Keeping Things Spicy’ section to get started.
When they happen, orgasms are delightful. There’s no denying that. What’s evident from readers’ responses, however, is that they’re not necessarily a reliable outcome during sex.
8. How often do you orgasm when having sex?
Orgasms—they’re that high point of pleasure and often what we’re aiming for as our sexual encounters unfold. Of our readers:
- Every time – 19 percent
- Most of the time – 38 percent
- Sometimes – 25 percent
- Rarely, if at all – 18 percent
9. How important to you is having an orgasm during sex?
In terms of the importance of reaching orgasm, readers said that they’re…
- Very important – 28 percent
- Pretty important – 31 percent
- Great if it happens—but totally fine if it doesn’t – 36 percent
- Not important – 6 percent
10. How important to you is it that your partner has an orgasm during sex?
The perception of how important orgasm is shifted pretty dramatically when readers considered the value they place on their partner’s orgasm:
- Very important – 46 percent
- Pretty important – 36 percent
- Great if it happens—but totally fine if it doesn’t – 15 percent
- Not important – 3 percent
A clear majority said that having orgasms is either very or pretty important. The question becomes, would sex be more inviting if more orgasms could be counted on? Or do we need to de-emphasize the role of orgasm a bit to make them more likely to pop up?
One thing countless sex educators have expressed is that to be single-mindedly focused on reaching orgasm places extra pressure on it, which might interfere with the relaxed likelihood of it happening. While they can feel absolutely phenomenal and benefit our health, there’s an entire constellation’s worth of enjoyment points during sex that can help you stay relaxed and in the moment. By immersing yourself in the deliciousness of the whole experience—like coming on to your partner, foreplay, closeness, and heightened sensory experiences—more becomes possible. No matter your stance on them, everyone should have access to orgasms at the very least!
Our bodies are not static—though it’s certainly easy to wish you could stay young forever or maintain that certain look or shape where you felt your ‘best.’ The reality is that we have a life to live, and that means an evolving body. In some cases, it’s for the most exciting reasons in the world, like pregnancy. In others, it’s for more daunting ones, like noticing age-related differences.
Naturally, moms’ sex lives are affected by body changes, and it can take some time to align your desire with where your body is at. We asked our readers about body confidence, aging, and their pregnancy process as it relates to the sex they’re having, and here’s what they told us.
11. How much has your confidence with your body affected your sex life?
Sexual confidence can have a close-knit relationship with body confidence. At some point in their lives, most moms in our audience have felt that body confidence has impacted their sexual selves to a certain extent:
- Quite a bit – 37 percent
- Ebbs and flows – 47 percent
- Not much – 14 percent
- Not much, except in connection to pregnancy, postpartum, etc. – 2 percent
12. Do you worry that aging will affect your desire/desirability?
As far as aging goes, at least half of moms noted it’s a factor that could be relevant to feeling sexy or in the mood for sex down the line:
- Yes! – 32 percent
- Kind of… – 18 percent
- It crosses my mind, but I don’t stress over it – 38 percent
- Not worried—it’s a natural part of life! – 13 percent
Aging can easily trigger increased attention on unrealistic body and beauty standards—which social media only amplifies—and the awareness that perimenopause and menopause symptoms are on the horizon. It may help to remember that every woman who reaches a certain age will go through the same thing. We can celebrate the fact that thanks to the wealth of resources opening up to this crucial topic in women’s sexual health now more than ever, they are still finding ways to have stellar sex!
13. If you’ve tried/are trying to conceive, how did the process impact your sex life?
For cisgender couples, having sex is usually part of the process when you’re trying to conceive, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always bound to be a fulfilling experience. For some readers, it added a boost to their sex life, while for others it took the thrill out of it:
- Improved it—we had more sex/were more mindful of it! – 41 percent
- Sex was less fun/spontaneous, more like a chore – 35 percent
- Fertility treatments/other interventions affected things – 10 percent
- It wasn’t my favorite time in life for sex for other reasons – 13 percent
If you’re trying to conceive, finding a way to enjoy sex can support this milestone in your and your partner’s lives. Of course, there are stressors that can make this more challenging, but it also can’t hurt to find glimmers of pleasure in the process. You’re coming together to create your very own little miracle of life, after all!
14. If you’ve given birth, to what extent did childbirth impact your sex life?
Many women who have given birth can attest to the fact that their childbirth and postpartum experiences resulted in extraordinary physical, emotional, and mental changes. Though health professionals typically advise waiting four to six weeks before having intercourse, our readers indicated they needed—or still need—significantly more time to recalibrate their sex lives:
- It took more than a year to get back on track – 22 percent
- I needed 6 mo. – 1 yr to feel like it was ‘back’ – 40 percent
- Not much—was ready for sex after 6 weeks! – 13 percent
- Sex life still isn’t the same since pre-childbirth – 24 percent
Needing months to a year or more to feel comfortable or in the mood for sex again is 100 percent normal. Motherhood and caring for a newborn changes everything, and moms have an illuminating range of experiences to speak to regarding when they were ready for sex again after giving birth. Between questions about postpartum sex and how to know if you’re ready to have it in the first place, it’s a delicate transition to make.
Having sex is one thing—actually being in the mood to have sex as a busy or exhausted mom is another. Sometimes, the desire to sexually connect is spontaneous, but at least as often, some more obvious inspiration or stimulation is required to help spark desire. What creates desire is a unique formula for everybody, and discovering that formula can lead to better sex.
There can be similarities across what turns each of us on, but at the end of the day, not only are we each our own sexual being—what turns us on is also open to change each and every time! By appreciating the fluid nature of desire, it can keep us receptive to our own preferences for sex as well as our partner’s. Here’s what our readers shared about how desire plays a part in their sex lives:
15. Do you have to actually be ‘in the mood’ to have sex?
- Yes – 33 percent
- No, and I usually get in the mood if I start doing it anyway – 56 percent
- Yes, and if I do it anyway, it’s not satisfying – 11 percent
Who hasn’t felt what it’s like to have your mind tell you one thing while your body goes on to reveal something completely different? We have minds that might hesitate at jumpstarting something and bodies that can go through the motions of doing it anyway, only to prove it was in our best interest. This could not be more true than for sex during motherhood. While consent is always an obvious must, and genuinely being in the mood at the get-go is a plus, it can also be reassuring to remember that you can warm to desire rather than wait for it to dawn on you.
16. Not including any invitations from your partner, how often do you genuinely feel ‘in the mood’ to have sex?
- Most / a few days of the week – 3 percent
- A couple days of the week – 13 percent
- At least once a week – 38 percent
- A couple times a month – 45 percent
Just because you feel one way about how often you’re in the mood for sex as a mom doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Cultivating desire is a mindful practice the way optimistic thinking or stretching is. For example, meditation is a proven way to help you be more in touch with your libido and, in turn, increase your sexual pleasure. Reading romance novels, playing a steamy audiobook, or listening to any number of sexually empowered influencers could do the same. Whatever your approach to tuning into your desire is, you might surprise yourself with hidden reserves of it when you take an extra beat of reflection.
17. Does loving your partner / being emotionally attracted to them affect your sexual desire more than physical attraction?
For most readers, it’s the emotional connection with their partner that activates their desire first and foremost, while nearly the rest are pulled in by a balance of what’s visual and emotional:
- Yes—those feelings turn me on! – 68 percent
- Not really—it’s the blend of physical and emotional – 30 percent
- No—you can’t be turned on if the physical attraction ain’t there! – 2 percent
18. What is the first thing that drew you to your partner?
Similar to desire, establishing a real connection with somebody is most often a you-know-it-when-you-feel-it kind of thing:
- Physical attraction – 23 percent
- Chemistry (you clicked) – 49 percent
- Sense of humor – 22 percent
- Intellect – 6 percent
19. Do you wish you could talk more openly / deeply with your friends or someone else about sex and pleasure?
Despite the many insights we can suss out on the internet and social media about sex and motherhood, over half of readers are open to having honest conversations about it. And surely they’re not alone! As women, we often receive some of our best emotional nourishment by connecting more intimately with our friends:
- Yes, it would be so nice to share perspectives! – 24 percent
- Sometimes, a little more sharing would be helpful – 32 percent
- No, I’d be too self-conscious – 12 percent
- No, I appreciate the privacy between me and my partner – 33 percent
Keeping Things Spicy
Our kids get tons of playtime, why shouldn’t we? For adults, sex is a form of playtime. An exciting playtime—at any age—involves things like novelty, entertaining toys, and the imagination. And when you think of ‘keeping things spicy’ sexually speaking, your mind might go to something similar, like trying new things, sex toys, or fantasies. Indeed, spicy is entirely subjective.
For many couples, hot sex is about finding a harmony between what works and indulging in that while remembering to find ways of keeping those encounters feeling fresh and liberating. Our readers felt similarly and even included a few tricks up their sleeve for keeping your sexual flame burning bright!
20. How often are you and your partner trying new things sexually together? (i.e., positions, techniques, locations, using toys, role-playing, etc.)
- We’re happy keeping it ‘the usual’ – 40 percent
- Once in a blue moon, we’ll try new things – 45 percent
- Sometimes we get creative – 13 percent
- We like to change it up pretty often – 2 percent
Maintaining the status quo definitely has its merits. On the flip side, when the inspiration does strike to try something different, you don’t have to have a chest of toys to change up sex. Even alternating the location, time of day, or position counts!
- No / not really – 63 percent
- Yes, often – 4 percent
- Yes, once in a while – 20 percent
- We used to – 13 percent
22. Have you used a vibrator with your partner during sex?
It’s nearly a 50-50 split when it comes to vibrator use in the bedroom:
- Yes, they’re great for my pleasure – 19 percent
- Yes, sometimes – 24 percent
- Yes, not a fan – 5 percent
- No – 52 percent
23. Have you and your partner used sex toys *besides* a vibrator?
Like we said, spicy sex is all relative. From what we’ve seen so far, clearly, readers are finding ways to enjoy the sex they’re having—but apparently, it’s without toys:
- No – 76 percent
- Yes, love them! – 6 percent
- Yes, they’re ok – 14 percent
- Yes, didn’t enjoy it – 4 percent
24. Do you wish it was ‘spicier’ with your partner during sex?
It’s fantastic that nearly half of readers are satisfied with where their spark is at! At the same time, that means more than half of readers might be in desire of the refresh button.
- Yes—even though it feels pleasurable, we’re rather comfortable in our routine – 23 percent
- Yes, it ain’t quite what it used to be! – 32 percent
- No, we find our spark! – 46 percent
Having a child around the house can easily put a damper on spicy sex, but it doesn’t have to stop you! There are handfuls of wonderful products you can shop for or ideas you can initiate to keep sex during motherhood interesting while keeping privacy in mind.
25. What’s your best tip for keeping a sexy flame alive together?
Last but not least, we had an abundance of valuable suggestions to kindle your sex life that you can start trying today. Get ready to be warmed by the glow of the pleasure you’re so worthy of!
“Realize intimacy—kissing, touching, tickling, etc.—is just as important as sex.”
“Watch a show with steamy sex scenes.”
“Just say yes to sex! Even if you’re not in the mood at the moment, you rarely regret it, and it leaves everyone happier.”
“Read romance novels.”
“Make a conscious effort to do things together as just a couple, including focusing on non-sexual alone time.”
“Toys and communication.”
“Just telling your partner you want them lets them know you’re still interested.”
“Bring up ideas; take the initiative!”
“Focus on self-pleasure and fulfillment first—know what you need and when.”
“Flirting and foreplay—it doesn’t always have to lead to sex.”
“Share spicy stories or videos to offer your partner a visual of what you’d like.”
“Tell each other what you want.”
“Get out of the habit of rejecting your spouse’s advances—it can strengthen intimacy.”
“It can happen anytime throughout the day, not just at night.”
“Try to remember how it was when you first started dating.”
“Don’t try too hard.”
“Try texting what you want if you can’t say it in person.”
“Be open to trying new things even if it doesn’t sound exciting. You may end up loving it!”
Source link: https://theeverymom.com/sex-and-motherhood/ by Katherine Ballesta-Rosen at theeverymom.com