It is still dark and the birds have not yet begun their morning chorus. He quietly slips out of bed, trying hard not to wake me. It doesn’t matter, I am up and I smile. I turn to his side of the bed and inhale his smell. After a few minutes, he quietly enters the room, barely preceded by the smell of coffee.
He deposits my coffee with a kiss on my forehead and heads to the bathroom, carelessly tossing his tee shirt on the floor. The sight of his broad shoulders and muscled back draws a sigh of appreciation.
I wonder if we have time to frolic before he heads off.
Back track five years ago and the scene would involve frantic coffee gulping, getting our three kids (aged 3, 5 and 7) up and ready for the day and post-its on post-its (we were slow to jump onto the smartphone bandwagon). Co-sleeping with three kids via two double beds in our bedroom meant opportunities for sex were limited.
Go back another five years and the picture is even bleaker. Child number two was newly born and I was plagued by nightmares of a difficult birth and having my placenta manually extracted. I hated my husband for reasons both logical yet unreasonable. The idea of his touch made me furious.
After sharing a bed for almost 18 years, we’ve gone from fresh and insatiable passion to boredom and routine and full circle again. Trying for children gave our lovemaking purpose, getting pregnant by accident taught us breastfeeding was no reliable method of contraception. With the youngest now eight, we have more privacy and time for seduction and games that we were too immature and impatient to indulge in before.
To my fellow mothers who wonder if they will ever want to have sex with the same fervour and lust as they once did, rest assured that the as the seasons of our lives unfurl, so do our potential for passion.
While it is a good thing to try and keep the flame going, don’t beat yourself up if you really are too tired or just don’t feel the urge. Connect intellectually with your partner and understand that this might not be your great sex year but it could be your great baby-raising year.
It is possible to exist in parallel with your only mutual interest being your children for a time and then gradually converge again as a couple. This expansion and contraction of focus strengthens couples and family and in many ways is better than a constant and unchanging situation (which frankly, would be impossible to sustain, whether or not kids become part of the equation.)
Sex with someone you love and trust, someone who’s had your back while you’re holding on to a feverish child, someone who has seen you with baby spit down your back and can still be there at the end of the day, that’s the someone that sex will grow better with over time.