An introduction to sex and romance
Do you want sex when your partner wants sex? Are you arguing because there's no time for a good sexual relationship anymore? The chances are your sex life now isn't what it used to be during the first throws of romance.
Sex can be the glue that holds your relationship together or the wedge that drives you apart. Research shows that, in general, men attach greater importance to sex in the relationship than women. But couples often have difficulty communicating about sex and attitudes towards sex change for both men and women after having a baby.
While it's accepted that most couples have less sex over time, this doesn't necessarily mean that they're less happy with their sexual relationship.
According to the Lancet in 2001 most heterosexual adults between the ages of 16 and 44 have sex on average 1.5 times a week(1) - however emotional and physical problems would drive that number significantly down. Studies have also found that couples in happier marriages have sex more often. But arguing about how often to have sex is nearly always about feeling loved and cared for in the relationship and deeper needs for connection and affection. Leading hectic lives can mean sex often gets put on the backburner.
Sex after a baby
A disrupted sex life is common. Some mothers simply feel too exhausted or too sore from the birth – whilst their partners want to quickly get back to how it was. Balancing what each of you needs sexually from the relationship isn't easy, but often couples find that by being flexible and creative, they can be open to unexpected opportunities for sex when they crop up!
Just being close and cuddling is important even when sex is not on the cards. Some women find it really difficult to come to terms with changes in their bodies when they are pregnant and after the birth – they feel unattractive or worried about their shape, affecting their confidence for sex. Men may also find it difficult to cope with their partners’s physical and emotional changes. So they both worry that things ‘will always be like this’. This is hardly ever the case, and talking together honestly about how you feel, and making time to give each other a bit of support can be a great help to getting your sex life back on track!
- Johnson, AM. et al., (2001) Sexual behaviour in Britain: partnerships, practices and HIV risk behaviours.The Lancet 358. Pp1835-1842.