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It’s no secret that parenthood is hard on a couple’s sex life. There has been extensive research on how becoming parents affects relationship satisfaction and intimacy. One study found that there can be a slow and steady decline in relationship satisfaction that happens in the first eight years of marriage for childless couples. However, that same dip in satisfaction drops rapidly for parents with kids, happening much earlier in the first eight years of the marriage. Another study found that women with partners who either have traditional views on parenthood (i.e., the mother should be more involved) or partners with different views than their own report more dissatisfaction in intimacy than women whose partners share their views on parenthood.

One study came out confirmed some stereotypical ideas we may have had about the male sex drive. It says a mother’s level of parenthood stress correlates with her sexual satisfaction. The more stressed she feels, the less sexually satisfied she is. Meanwhile, a father’s parenthood stress does not seem to negatively impact his sexual satisfaction. Translation: it’s easier for men to enjoy sex under stress than women. Perhaps that surprised nobody.

Whether these studies defy expectations or not, they all point to one thing: parenthood wreaks havoc on a couple’s sex life. It simply isn’t the same as it was before having kids. But that doesn’t mean that parents must subject themselves to little, no, or bad sex. Here are tips on maintaining your sex life, after having kids. You may even have better sex.



Communicate about obstacles

There are many boundaries standing in the way of your sex life after you have kids. There’s exhaustion, lack of time, body issues, resentment over a lack of support, and more. All of the more practical tips to having better sex after having kids can’t get a couple anywhere if they don’t communicate. Wendy Talley, licensed couples psychotherapist and cofounder of KW Essential Services, in Los Angeles told a story to about a couple who wasn’t having sex. The wife reported it was because she felt insecure about her body, and feared her partner didn’t find her attractive because he didn’t initiate sex.

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