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making time for intimacy after kids

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As has been shared on more than one occasion, the pandemic has been rough on just about every facet of life, including romantic relationships. Everything has been relegated to the four corners of our homes these days. Children are being taught in the house. A mass majority of people are working from home. Those quarantined are trying to find something interesting to do at home all of the time now. If anything, people want to get out of the house more than they want to be in it at this point.

In the midst of all this time being spent working, parenting, and existing at home, it can be hard to find a moment for romance. Some people are making it happen. We all know someone expecting a quarantine baby. But there are many people who have found their sex lives changed for the worse. Researchers from Indiana University found through a cross-sectional survey of 1,010 U.S. adults that nearly half said their “sexual behavior” had decreased when the survey was sent back in April.

“Having elementary aged children at home, past month depressive symptoms and loneliness and enacting more COVID-19 protective behaviors were associated with both reduced partnered bonding behaviors, such as hugging, cuddling, holding hands and kissing, as well as reduced partnered sexual behaviors, such as oral sex, partnered genital touching and vaginal sex,” the results found.

As someone married with a young child trying to plan sex with my partner when that child is visiting with relatives, I found myself asking my husband, “How do people do this?” I wanted to know, how do people even with multiple children of varying ages, manage to eek out time to have a healthy sex life, and find some privacy to make it happen? So much focus has been put on our baby when we aren’t working long hours behind computers in the kitchen that before we knew it, the day would be over. Another day without intimacy would pass. So what’s the secret?

Early in this worldwide health crisis, marriage and family therapist Michele Weiner-Davis told The New York Times that if people who made their children the center of everything didn’t begin to prioritize their relationships, too, it could prove detrimental.

“It seems to have been the norm for so many couples to say to themselves, ‘Now that the kids are here, we’ll focus on the kids. Our day will come,’” she said this past spring. “But here’s the bad news from someone who’s been on the front lines with couples for decades. Unless you treat your relationship, your marriage, like it’s a living thing — which requires nurturing on a regular basis — you won’t have a marriage after the kids leave home.”

So how do you do it? Do you schedule a day in the midst of weekly chaos? There’s no shame in it. Even actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict admitted she and husband Cory have to do that to find time to enjoy each other with their two kids, Cree and Cairo, at home.

“And when I was younger and when I would hear that, I’d be like, ‘Why do you have to do that?'” she said during a podcast with Heidi Murkoff this past October.

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