Anyone bristle as they read the title? A few years ago I know I most certainly would have done. It was such a taboo subject in my household. In fact, it wasn’t even a subject. It was a silent problem. Silent because a) we didn’t talk about it and b) we didn’t do it.
What happens? What is it that changes when you make that all important decision to stay together long term, to build a life together, own a property, make small people and bring them up? And when does it happen? When do you go from matching sets to matching colours to whatever comes to hand first? And is everyone’s relationships like this or is it only mine? (rhetorical question asked on many occasion, this is not me asking this now of course).
I would guess that most relationships start similarly with passion at every corner, unplanned, unscheduled, unsolicited, potentially unlawful, in the kitchen, on the stairs, in the car, in the morning. Do you remember this stage? Do you remember that feeling of excitement driving home, rushing through the front door, clothes already coming off and ordering pizza at 11 o’clock at night as neither of you came up for air let alone for dinner.
It’s such an amazing feeling. To desire. And to be desired.
A mutual attraction really can put you on cloud nine. Maybe even higher sometimes. Taking that little bit of extra time to preen yourself for that special someone. Walking that little bit taller after receiving a sexy text message either reminding you of events from the night before or with promise for potential happenings this evening.
The secret smile. We’ve all done it. And we have all noticed someone else doing it. Sometimes reminiscing and feeling happy for the other, sometimes wanting to pull that “lucky you you’re still getting laid” face.
I was always curious as to the marital exercise people would be having. How often would they have it? Did they still find each other attractive? Did they still have spontaneous sex or was it always a planned or maybe even asked-for event? Having spent time talking to people in a more frank and upfront kinda way over the last few years, I have learnt a lot. I also entered into a very different kind of relationship to what I have been used to though it could be fair to argue I am at a different stage in my life, there is more compatibility in certain areas, etc etc.
When I had children, it was like my body all of a sudden became functional. It was a conscious decision to have them and I would not have traded them for the world but I think it was at that point that I changed. My body went from being desirable to indescribable and from what I remember it happened almost overnight.
I realise there are many who would argue tooth and nail but you do have to feel sorry for the guys. They play their part in the pregnancy don’t get me wrong, but as time goes on and then once the baby arrives, they can go from being top priority to bottom of the pile and that would be hard for any of us to handle. And don’t gasp in horror, if you look at it in the cold light of day, we would all struggle being sidelined.
Fathers love their children just as much as mothers, that I do not dispute. But for mothers, who have just pushed something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a kiwi, who have swollen and tender boobs, cracked nipples, and a small person hanging off whichever limb is free, sex is rarely (and I say this with no backing of formal research other than having had three children in quick succession and spoken to lots and lots of mums) top of the “to-do” list at the end of the day. Or the start of the day.. Or indeed any part of the day!
We all know boys are different to girls. They seem to be able to have/want/need sex whatever the time of day (or night) and in almost any situation or circumstance. I genuinely think it is a fundamental set up of a boys DNA. And who are we to complain? God knows we use it to our advantage as and when it suits us. But then the time of the month comes along and we instantly close off and become headless balls of PMT leaving these poor guys trying to work out if they should make their move or leave well alone tonight.
For many of the women I know, having small children and having sex are two subjects that are completely unrelated. How many of us have had a wonderful whim of “yay! let’s have sex like normal people do in the middle of the afternoon” and are fast interrupted by the cries of the small person from their baby bed next door as they have miraculously woken up an hour earlier than usual. Or thinking said small person is busy for at least the next five minutes, steal away for a moments passion only to be disturbed with the dulcet tones of “MUMMY…FINISHED DONE A POOOOH.”
I think you can actually get out of the habit of having sex. Tiredness is usually a fairly major passion killer whether you have children or not. Sometimes even the fact you had to buy the ingredients, cook the dinner and tidy away the entire thing can put you off putting out too.
So what is the secret to a good sex life?
Even if you have children, it is so important to keep up the excitement in the bedroom. No matter how tired you are, or fat you are feeling, or if you haven’t shaved your legs, or there is a huge pile of washing needing folding. From experience (and I am not suggesting I have done anything untoward in the name of research) boys do not care. Well, not so much do they not care, but they do not mind.
If you haven’t shaved your legs, no bother. If you have cellulite, they love you just the way you are. If you feel fat, they tried to tell you seven times already this week how gorgeous you look and it’s only Monday. If the washing is done they are grateful to have clean pants for the morning and really don’t mind whether they come out of a drawer neatly folded or from the floor.
Sometimes making the first move can actually help get you in the mood. And don’t rely on someone else to make you feel like you want to have sex. Do it yourself. Light your own candles, run your own bath, buy your own new nightie if you wish but make it happen for you. If you wait for someone to read your mind and do it for you, not only are you likely to be extremely disappointed and end up bitter and cross with the world, but you are even less likely to have sex. Or any kind of physical contact.
Don’t wait for your partner to cook you a nice dinner and make you feel special. If you want flowers, go and buy them and arrange them for yourself. Make yourself happy. You are much more likely to be nicer to others if you can be nice to yourself.
We all get so het up and stressed out with life. “Why doesn’t so and so help me out more,” “why doesn’t this happen,” “why doesn’t that happen?” Even if you are in a relationship, we are not programmed to read minds. The things you like and want from another person are not necessarily what they like and want to do for you. I think this is common with boys and girls. And as girls we often do not communicate well to our partner what exactly it is we want and what exactly it is we like.
I am lucky enough now to be in a relationship where I feel excited. Excited to be with someone I love, excited to see him even if it’s only been a couple of hours, excited to have him kiss me, and…I won’t continue as there are parental units reading this and that would just be downright inappropriate but you get the picture.
Eighteen months down the line I still want to look my best, I still feel I have to up my game to keep him interested, I still want to cook him dinner, make his packed lunch, we still go on dates, surprise each other and generally do nice things for one another. I look after myself better now than I have done in a long time, which in turn he benefits from as I feel better about myself. And he appreciates it.
I would hope that in the future we will still do all of these things. This one is different. We share the same likes and loves. We both find magic in the little things. The countryside, the city, fresh air, animals, socialising, peace and quiet. I support him in his endeavours and he in mine. Of course we get on each others nerves sometimes but I still adore him and hope this will always be the way.
Maybe with age comes wisdom. Maybe I am ready for a grown up relationship. Or maybe because we have not shared the stresses and strains of having children together, buying a home together, sharing the parental duties and splitting the bills, we are still in the throws of an extended honeymoon period. Long may it last that’s what I say.
Whether you have been together five minutes or five decades, keep it alive.
Make the effort.
Don’t wait for the other person.
Make it happen.
Be proactive, be loving, be caring, be affectionate, be thoughtful and expect nothing in return.
Stop living in the past, if you want to have a future. Don’t judge by what has gone. Move on.
If you love someone, show them.
And for goodness sake, have some good sex.