True Tales of Sex After Kids

True Tales of Sex After Kids

True Tales of Sex After Kids

Thumbnail: 
True Tales of Sex After Kids
Dek: 
Sex after kids explored in a Q&A with author Kimberly Ford.

Kimberly Ford is an author with a Ph.D. in Spanish and French Literature. After writing about sex and parenting for various publications, she realized these were hot topics for a book ("sex sells!"). The result, Hump: True Tales of Sex After Kids, hit bookshelves last month. The mother of three lives with her husband and kids (ages 6, 8 and 10) in Menlo Park, Calif., but she recently stopped by our NYC office to share some stories about erotic dancing, Brazilian waxing, vibrators, communication, Private Time and how these all contribute to having a healthy sex life after having kids.

From all the stories that you collected in your book, would you say that across the board sex lives get better after kids?

I actually think it's the opposite. I think the jury is still out as to whether or not kids are good for marriages, period. There is a psychological study that says that 83% of couples suffer some sort of moderate to severe crisis after kids come into the picture. So I think the answer, at least initially, is that no, in fact kids are not at all good for your sex life. One of the most important things about the book though, and the final chapter goes into this in some depth, is that the experience of going through pregnancy, childbirth, and later child-rearing with someone else allows for a whole new level of trust and familiarity when your husband is seeing your body going through all sorts of changes and all sort of trauma.

 

You mentioned that having a child is the official transition from girl to woman. Can you expand on that?

It's just such an enormous experience in terms of what your body is actually physically doing, but also in terms of recognizing that your body really has a purpose. Your body is not there to look attractive; it's not there to be seen; it's not there to be worked out at the gym. In fact, one of its main purposes is to procreate. This sense of knowing your body's worth, and all these amazing things your body can do, I think can enhance women's own self-respect, in terms of "Wow, this is what my body is capable of doing." Certainly bodies take a toll during the course of pregnancy and childbirth, and child-rearing.

I think for a lot of women too there is a maturity that comes with motherhood—that is another transition. So there's the physical transition from girlhood to womanhood, and then there's also this sense of having a larger purpose. Whatever your work-life may be, the fact is, you're responsible for someone else's wellbeing, and that's a very big thing. And it's super rewarding. I think most people would tell you, what our parents would say, that that's the most rewarding thing that they do, also the most challenging.

How do husbands either help or hinder the path that women take after kids to get back to feeling sexy?

That's a very good question. I think that probably husbands hinder more than they help. But I think it's entirely subconscious. Everyone is under a lot of stress. I remember missing my husband all day long, and I couldn't wait for him to get home. But then he'd walk through the door and I'd think, "Oh my God, what an asshole!" just because he wasn't in the trenches with me all day long. And I think there is a lot of that sort of tension.

Then of course, there's the tension from the father's side, which is that, you know, this is a person you're supposed to be physically intimate with—especially if you're in a monogamous marriage—and if that person is not feeling like she's wanting to be physically intimate then that's frustrating for everyone. So there's tension there. One of the most important things about the book is that the inspiration and the motivation needs to come from the woman. Her body has been the site of the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth and her body, in most cases, is the one that's being tugged on all day long and sat on and burped up on. So really, the woman needs to find a way so that she's the one who's feeling good about any sort of sexual interaction.

One of the problems is that women feel like "My husband is just always wanting to have sex and I'm not." And again, there are psychological studies that prove that three years after the baby's born men are having three or four sexual urges a day and women have one every three days, or something. So there's that natural disparity, but I think if a woman can find a way, whether that's through better communication with her spouse or whether that's a girl's night out, whatever it is that makes her feel more in touch with the sensual part of who she is. If a woman can find that, then in fact there are lots and lots of benefits to be had from the physical intimacy that you can maintain with your spouse.

What are some activities that mothers can do on their own, fathers can do on their own and then what can couples do together to help maintain a relationship?

There's a lot of practical information in the book although it's mostly full of anecdotes. I think one of the important things and one of the basic messages is just to prioritize things differently. If you can find a way, as a mom, to let the dishes pile up or let the dust bunnies accumulate— if you can let go of some of that stuff in the name of some physical intimacy then I think that's a huge step in the right direction. The fact is, your husband would rather have take-out than a home-cooked meal if it means you're going to get to bed 20 minutes early and have your needs met.

I also think that luckily we're

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.