Til Sex Do Us Part
We love sex. On the hood of the car in the pouring rain; at my writing desk under the threat of deadlines; or in the shower just before breakfast – we cannot keep our hands off of each other (or our lips). We. Love. Sex.
Marriage did not prove to be the proverbial nail in the coffin for our libidos as it did for some of our friends. In fact, marriage made us more adventurous and open. He could now trust me to handcuff him without worrying that I might make off with his wallet. I could now wear the stiff, sticky barely edible lingerie and laugh with him at the absurdity of the moment.
It was birth control at its best.
Our ability to communicate openly about sex became invaluable. Only now, the discussions were not about what we wanted to try next. Our conversations were centered on what we needed in order to reconnect physically. We soon hit the keyboard to meet with Dr. World Wide Web. We found that we were not alone. Estrogen levels are low following childbirth and this normally causes dryness. The decrease in hormone levels can also cause your vaginal tissue to become very thin and easily irritated or lacerated.
According to whattoexpect.com, K-Y Jelly and a little extra foreplay was all we needed. Armed with a cache of lubricant and a post-partum Gregory Isaacs playlist we were ready! But just as we finally reach the rhythm of our mutual satisfaction – it came. The pitter patter of terror on two tiny feet echoed across the tile.
“Keep goin’ nah. Hurry up ‘fore she reach,” my husband commanded.
And tell her what? We’re playing peek-a-boo? Steups!
It would be the first of many vexing interruptions. It was birth control at its best. She soon took to sleeping in our bed, between us and sideways. Any attempts to slip away were met with cries of aching gums, runny diapers, and cries just for the sake of crying. There was little time to breathe, let alone to feel sexy.
We were frustrated and took any opportunity to vent. I wrote, painted, and baked. And when I say baked, I mean glorious three-tiered, dark chocolate confections from scratch. The pregnancy weight returned, only this time we both looked pregnant! And that ‘open communication’— well… we still communicated. LOUDLY! He would yell, I would scream back. Everything became an argument, from who squeezed the toothpaste in the center (it really wasn’t me) to whose turn it was to change a diaper (it really was his…sort of). “You need to go back home to your mother,” we’d each roar.
We were losing more than the sex battle. We were losing each other.
That’s when we read “Is There Sex After Kids” by Dr. Ellen Kriedman. Dr. Kriedman believes that parents should be lovers, as well as partners in child rearing. She suggests regular date nights, calling each other by anything other than ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’, and having an affair (with your spouse). Her advice was open ended enough that we could tailor it to fit our needs.
Instead of trying to find sitters, we scheduled movie nights once a week. We would put the children to bed and watch a movie that didn’t involve wizards, princesses, or singing squirrels. Our affair included naughty text messages that would make Mr. Brazzers blush. Household maintenance became our best friend. A mysterious missing washer in the kitchen sink, or a leaky showerhead proved to be the perfect cover for a ten-minute quickie. Sexy was finally back!
Of course we couldn’t have done it without the best resource of all – time. As our children mature, we find that our ideas of sexy also mature. They emanate less from Kama Sutra diagrams or rose petals in shared bubble baths, and more from a place that can only be defined as ‘us’.
There is nothing sexier than watching my husband comfort a tiny person with snat dangling from her chin. Or the sight of his puzzled face, as he wrestles with ponytail holders that are too small for his thick man hands to manipulate. The new sexy for him is coming home to a flour-covered family attempting to make roti. Or the sight of his exhausted wife passed out on the couch, with sweetly sleeping toddlers in her arms.
Our marriage is defined by so much more than just the quantity, quality, or the mere act of sex. Children aren’t the only ones who grow up. Sometimes parents grow up too.
And so at dinner we pass macaroni pie, innuendo and Oreo cheesecake. We make the meal last for eternity. I slurp mauby through a straw with pouty duck lips, until my cheeks cave in. He licks fresh, juicy pineapple from the corners of his full lips. We lip smack dessert spoons clean with sexual promises that will most likely never be fulfilled. We eye bang each other from across the table hard enough to nail one another against the vegetable splattered wall. And then we laugh at the absurdity of the moment. We. Love. Us.