If you and your spouse currently have children, or are working toward having children, you are likely aware of the ways babies change the dynamic of your marriage—including the dynamic of your sex life.
Sex is an important aspect of marriage, where couples come to know each other on a deeper level and can physically express their love for one another. In the early pre-children stages of marriage, sex can be new, exciting, and special for both parties. With no other “obligations,” sex typically happens simply because you love each other and have a desire to be intimate. Unfortunately, however, much of this seems to change once children come into the picture.
When your family of two grows into a family of three or more, sex can become altered or “spoiled” for many reasons. Below, we discuss several of the many common reasons babies negatively change couples’ sex lives:
The reality of children becomes clearer
In our society, it seems many couples often forget a simple truth: babies are a result of sex. Sometimes, the reality of this fact does not truly set in until after conception. An unexpected pregnancy can seriously shake the foundation of a marriage, particularly for couples that are still getting to know each other, in the early phases of their new relationship. The possibility of sex leading to more children can change the mentality of partners in a marriage—thus negatively affecting the attitude toward sex.
Lack of time and opportunity
If you and your partner are new parents, or even parents dealing with child #2 or #3, you are likely busier than you have ever been. As you learn to cope with babies who won’t sleep through the night and ever-changing routines, you may feel like there is simply no time for “luxuries” like sex. If your relationship already feels strained and exhausted from the amount of work on your plates, it is unlikely that intimacy will feel like a priority—or that it will even sound appealing in the first place.
Changes in body image and self-esteem
The gift of life is wonderful, and many couples find beauty in pregnancy and in childbirth. Many others, however, struggle with body image and self-esteem as they (or their spouse) begin to look and feel different as a result of childbearing. If, as a husband or a wife, you feel differently about your spouse during the pregnancy or in the months following childbirth, your sex life is almost guaranteed to suffer. Partners who do not feel good about their physical appearance, or who feel that the “sexiness” has left sex after having children, may struggle to revamp their intimacy and their marriage for a period of time.
Feelings of obligation or duty
If you and your spouse are actively trying to have another child, sex can quickly start to feel like a chore or an item on a to-do list. Trying to become pregnant can be an exhausting task, and the more you find yourself “penciling sex in,” the faster sex will lose its magic and appeal. Although a main, intended purpose of sex is to create new life, the prospect of more babies can spoil sex significantly, if both parties make love simply out of feelings of obligation or duty.
Guilt and competing priorities
Once children become part of a marriage, priorities tend to shift. With one or more new people to take care of and provide for, parents can feel overwhelmed and burdened by the responsibilities of life. With busy days and few minutes to spare, it is easy to feel guilty if you spend your time taking care of yourself rather than your children.
Even though a healthy sex life can be crucial to your marriage and the success of your family, it can be easy for you and your partner to feel guilty taking time for yourselves. When you feel overwhelmed by competing priorities, remember that your relationship with your spouse is equally as important as your relationship with your kids. Making time for intimacy is essential in securing the bonds of love and commitment between you and your partner.