Being a parent is hard. Here are 10 rules of engagement that will kick your marriage into high gear!
If there's one thing that all parents can agree on, it's that having a child changes everything. Sleeping, eating, socializing and even showering take on all new hues post-baby. Sex changes, too. The good news is that pleasure is still a priority, with 40 percent of parents saying that if they had an extra hour in their day they would spend it having sex with their partner, topping extra sleep and more time with the kids.
YourTango surveyed over one thousand readers all about sex after kids. And while some of the results were expected — 78 percent of parents have sex less often than they did before having kids — despite the dip in frequency, 73 percent of parents have positive things to say about their post-kids sex lives.
Overall, it seems that the key to keeping a happy, healthy postpartum sex life is all about getting more creative, communicating openly and being efficient. Funny, because these tips sound an awful lot like the keys to happy, healthy parenthood, too.
Looking to keep your sex life hot after having kids? Check out these 10 crowd-sourced Rules of Engagement for Sexually Active Parents:
1. Embrace change.
Life gets a little weird for a while after having a kid, and that weirdness can certainly extend into the bedroom. Things can feel different "down there" after giving birth; libidos can shift as quickly as you can say "burp cloth"; and more often than not, the days of languid lovemaking feel over. Indeed, according to the YourTango/Trojan™ survey, three-fourths of couples said that before having kids their typical sex session would last at least 30 minutes. Post-kids? Nearly fifty percent get the deed done in 10-20 minutes. But, another dose of good news? Faster doesn’t mean worse, as evidenced in the next rule…
2. Be efficient.
Despite nearly all parents having less time for sex than their pre-kid selves, only about a quarter of parents called their post-kids sex life "boring and uneventful," or worse “non-existent." This means that less is more—or at least enough— for 73 percent of parents.
3. Get creative.
Seventy-one percent of parents say they are interested in using pleasure products such as vibrators and lubricants to help them better enjoy sex and achieve orgasm faster. Fortunately there is a full line of Trojan™ lubricants and vibrators available at your local retailer to help parents up the pleasure.
4. Think beyond bedtime.
Eighty-one percent of parents say the #1 time of day that they get it on is at night after the kids are asleep. But, as one wise parent advised: "Make sure to make time for sex before bedtime. If you are near the bed in the evening, sleep will win." Likewise, experiment with getting jiggy at different times of the day. Crafty parents know that naptime on weekend afternoons can be a prime time for some cozy coupling. Or set your alarm for 20 minutes before the kids usually wake up in the morning and see what happens. Groggy sex can be good sex, right?
5. Start sexting!
More than half of parents have sent steamy photos or texts to each other. Creating a sense of excitement and anticipation throughout the day can be a great way to start foreplay hours before you make it to the bedroom.
6. Enjoy being spontaneous.
Among parents who say they have sex almost every day, very few of them schedule their sexy time. Instead 75 percent say that they seize the opportunity as it, ahem, arises. Those parents who agreed with the statement "we've had to be more spontaneous and flexible" after having kids were also more likely to feel pleased with their postpartum sex lives.
7. Explore locales outside of the bedroom.
Being spontaneous means making the most of those rare kid-free moments wherever a parent can find them. The bathroom, the laundry room, and the car on the way to pick up the kids at grandma's (parked somewhere safe and discreet, of course) were just a few of the respondents' favorite non-bedroom locales.
8. Indulge your senses with lubricant!
Sixty-eight percent of parents use it. Not only can it help with the dryness or discomfort that can happen after having a child, but a 2013 Trojan™/Indiana University study showed that half of lubricant users believe using it makes achieving orgasm easier. And, hey, shouldn't something be easier after having kids?
Feeling unsatisfied? Eager to try something new? Talk about it! The survey showed a direct correlation between the level of open, honest communication and the level of sexual satisfaction that parents experience. Of those reporting that their sex lives have "never been better," 71 percent say that after having kids they are better communicating about their wants and needs.
10. Pat yourself on the back.
Everyone talks about what a miracle having a child is, and for good reason. It's easy to forget that surviving sleepless nights and all the other hurdles that having a child brings to a relationship is pretty miraculous, too! Remember to stop and congratulate yourselves for this time to time. Among parents who report the most sexual satisfaction, 70 percent say they feel more confident in their relationship and more connected after having had a child. While it's unrealistic to expect parents to feel this way all the time, it's a good reminder to take time to reflect on and feel proud of what you have achieved together.