Does Having Children Prevent an Active Sex Life

(This is a retread of a piece I wrote last March, but the conversation came up again at the gym this evening and I thought that I’d revisit it.)

This is a topic that the boys and I have had on a number of occasions. It is usually a night on which we have gathered for an evening without wife or children to just spend a little quiet time for ourselves.

We’ll drink a few beers, shoot the breeze and at some point in the night we’ll notice that there are attractive women walking by. They could be in groups of two or three or walking by themselves. They may or not be pushing strollers. It doesn’t matter, there will be something about them that catches our eye and we’ll try to be discreet about checking her out.

Since our significant others are not included in these affairs we may even spend a few moments talking about the eye candy we have been enjoying. And for a moment we might even quietly fantasize about her, what it would be like to be single and to be able to rejoin the hunt for a brief time. Of course we’ll have conveniently forgotten all of the things we didn’t like about being single, the fact that even if we were available she might still choose to ignore us. Just details and who likes details.

At some point someone will talk about what it was like before children. Spontaneous trips to Vegas or Hawaii, nights in which you walked in and took your wife in the kitchen or bathroom or some other random room in the house. Evenings in which you didn’t have to worry about fitting sex into a schedule etc.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the things I love about my friends is that they love being a father as much as I do. We get off on taking our sons to the park together and spending quality man time bonding with them. But every now and then you remember the past and wonder a little bit about the future.

So I have to say that I was pleased to read this article by Ayelet Waldman. It always made sense to me that our wives would have similar conversations to ours and that there would be at least one or more couples that were still very active in the bedroom.

“I HAVE been in many mothers’ groups – Mommy and Me, Gymboree, Second-Time Moms – and each time, within three minutes, the conversation invariably comes around to the topic of how often mommy feels compelled to put out. Everyone wants to be reassured that no one else is having sex either. These are women who, for the most part, are comfortable with their bodies, consider themselves sexual beings. These are women who love their husbands or partners. Still, almost none of them are having any sex.

There are agreed upon reasons for this bed death. They are exhausted. It still hurts. They are so physically available to their babies – nursing, carrying, stroking – how could they bear to be physically available to anyone else?

But the real reason for this lack of sex, or at least the most profound, is that the wife’s passion has been refocused. Instead of concentrating her ardor on her husband, she concentrates it on her babies. Where once her husband was the center of her passionate universe, there is now a new sun in whose orbit she revolves. Libido, as she once knew it, is gone, and in its place is all-consuming maternal desire. There is absolute unanimity on this topic, and instant reassurance.

Except, that is, from me.

I am the only woman in Mommy and Me who seems to be, well, getting any.”

I am sure that there are some people out there who see this post as a complaint about my life. It is not that at all. Just a brief observation and comment about people. I find people to be incredibly interesting, it is one of the reasons I went into sales.

We have so many similarities and yet we are so very different. Our thoughts and ideas on how we view the world, the way in which we approach life are just so interesting to me. I think that this is one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging and reading other blogs so much.

The boys and talk about many things along these lines and the general topic. It is kind of interesting to me. Before we got married there were a lot of things that might have gotten tossed out there. You definitely heard about the wild women and their ways in the bedroom. You heard tales of love and conquest.

And then after we hooked up the shades came down. We all got be a little bit more guarded in what we told each other. It wasn’t like we were all that detailed prior to this, but for many years we have been a little bit more circumspect. Now we circle around the topic two or three times before we are willing to broach it.

Billy wants to know if he has the only wife who received a ring and stopped offering oral sex. Ted wants to know if anyone else is told that once a week is as often as he should expect it because not one else has a wife who does better. Jim is strangely quiet, is he not sharing because he is living a dream life and doesn’t want to upset the others, or is he embarrassed.

Bob says that he overheard his wife complaining to her friends that men are only interested in their own pleasure and suggests that perhaps that is the problem. Of course no one in the room admits to this and that is not to say that any one of us is guilty or innocent. It is just part of the conversation.

Those of us who work as the sole provider grumble a bit about not being given enough respect for the load that we carrry. Murmurs abound about being more appreciated for that and comments like “I know that is hard to be a full time mom, but give me some credit” float through the room.

And at times I wonder if the women’s tales are all that different from ours. Slightly different complaints, but similar in nature. We all miss the time in which we were the focal point and now we have subjugated our own interests.

Returning to the story I cited earlier I wonder about a few things.

“And afterward my husband will say that we, he and I, are the core of what he cherishes, that the children are satellites, beloved but tangential.

He seems entirely unperturbed by loving me like this. Loving me more than his children does not bother him. It does not make him feel like a bad father. He does not feel that loving me more than he loves them is a kind of infidelity.”

I don’t think that you have to love your children the same way you love your spouse because it is a different kind of love. It is an all encompassing love for your children, but it doesn’t have the same kind of passion. You don’t make love to your children, but you make love to your spouse.

To me they are distinctly different and not something that you can judge as being right or wrong. I find it to be a very interesting topic and something that I want to mull over and consider in more detail.

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  1. PsychoToddler August 24, 2005 at 1:31 am

    It can be just as good as before, but as the kids get older, it gets trickier.

    With 3 teenagers in the house, I sometimes get the same feeling I did when I was a teenager and tried to make out with a girl in my parents’ house. Gotta make sure they don’t catch on.

  2. callieischatty August 24, 2005 at 1:25 am

    Well in my mind great sex can still happen but it takes some change in attitude.

    Things have to be more flexible.

    And once you have kids the emotional component for women changes.

    Alot of women just don’t feel pretty anymore, not in the same pristine perfect way they did before.

    For me, even tho I take care of myself and stay on top of things, I can’t get ‘my old body’ really back again.

    And accepting those changes can be harder for women than for men.

    Women are their own worst critics in that way, and haveing things not be perfect again no matter how many sit ups we do is a killer to feeling hot and sexy.

    I don’t have the answer, thats just my own two cents.

  3. Jack's Shack August 23, 2005 at 3:54 pm


    Very true.


    Don’t need to wait that long, I can answer the question now. Yes!. 😉


    There is nothing better than being a father.

  4. fsgsf August 23, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    The love parents have for children is the truest, purest form of love known to mankind, and no spouse can ever duplicate that no mater how much they are in love!!


    NJ from NJ

  5. Mirty August 23, 2005 at 12:16 pm

    Oh no, not the Ayelet Waldman “I adore my hubby” article again…. eek!

    Anyway, wait until your kids are teenagers. Then you start asking questions like, “Does Having Children Cause Insanity?” (I’ll have to blog about that one…)

  6. BarbaraFromCalifornia August 23, 2005 at 8:33 am

    The love for one’s children is clearly different from that for a spouse. Different does not mean better or worse, it just is.

    I have heard Waldman speak before. Did you know she is the wife of the author, Michael Charbon, was a very powerful attorney, and decided to chuck it all to become a novelist? Great speaker as well, as a point of fact.

    Looking, talking, smoosing and expressing desires are very different from acting upon them. Boys will be boys, and girls girls, and let us hope that husbands will stay focused on their wives and vice-versa. This works for me.

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