Sex & Relationships

My Husband and I Don’t Have Sex That Often—Here’s Why I’m Not Worried About It

written by ANONYMOUS

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Source: Kenny Eliason | Unsplash
Source: Kenny Eliason | Unsplash

I’ve spent the better part of the last seven years worried about my sex life. Having two babies in two years, the stress of a global pandemic, maintaining a freelance writing career, and trying to recover some semblance of self have left little room for thinking about—or having—sex. 

That’s not to say I don’t prioritize my marriage. My husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this spring, and we have been successful at keeping quality couple time a priority. We have a standing monthly date night, stolen coffee dates while the kids are at school, and take one couples trip annually just us. 

But sex is another story. 

It’s understandable why having less sex after kids can happen. Most days, I’m too touched out, overstimulated, or tired to have sex. This often leaves me feeling like our marriage isn’t good enough or that I’m not a great wife or sexual partner. Here’s how I came to terms with the amount of sex we’re having… or not having. 

Realizing I’m not alone 

When I first started feeling like our sex life wasn’t up to par, I did what any good journalist does and started researching. I needed to know if this was normal or if there was something fundamentally missing in our marriage. 

One study found that the average married couple has sex 56 times a year—so about once a week. Then I spoke to my friends. They told a similar story.

One friend, who’s been married for 15 years with three kids, said, “We aim for every 7-10 days, but it doesn’t always work out. A child still sleeps in our room. Stress and health issues are primarily deterrents. Plus, the third-party human in our space.”

Another friend, married nine years with two kids, said they usually hit the once-a-month mark. “There are so many other factors than kids, ” she says. “Health, work schedules, mental health and confidence, the health of the marriage, life stress, if my husband ate onions that day. There are natural stages when you will have more or less. Kind of like weight. Sometimes you’re fitter, sometimes you’re not.” 

“We are a once-a-month kind of couple unless we go away on a trip,” said another mom who has been with her partner for years but was just recently married. “I have a really hard time separating from my role as a mother and can’t find it in me to be sexual unless I can completely disconnect from my tiny humans.”

Number of kids doesn’t seem to make a difference, either. Another mom I spoke to who’s been married 13 years with one child puts it simply. “Dating: multiple times a week. Married pre-kid: once a week or week-and-a-half. Post kid: once a month.”

My husband and I are more on the twice-a-month schedule. And yes, we do schedule sex and frequently set up “meetings” on our shared Google calendar. He has a demanding job with lots of travel, and we have two young kids who often end up in our bed at night, so if we didn’t plan it, sex would never happen. 

Focusing on quality, not quantity

Then, I ran across the writing of Emily Nagoski. Most of what she writes about centers on the quality of sex, not the frequency. Without going into the dirty details of our sex life, the sex we do have is always good and sometimes mind-blowing. It just doesn’t happen as often as we’d like. 

In her book Come As You Are, Nagoski explains that every woman’s sexuality is unique, from their anatomy to the frequency of sex they desire. That’s why we shouldn’t judge each other based on their experiences—or the amount of sex they’re having. 

having less sex after kids
Source: Emma Bauso | Pexels

Thinking about sex in context

Another lesson I learned from Nagoski? Sex happens in context. That means that the fight you had with your husband, missed deadline, or messy kitchen can affect your desire, your arousal, and ultimately, your orgasm

This one resonated with me. So much of my desire to have sex at the end of a long day hinges on the type of day I had. If my husband handled bedtime or I had time for work or self-care that day, the chances of having sex are much higher. But if I was with the kids all day, spent my time completing mundane chores, dealing with behavior issues, and non-stop messes, my drive was usually zero. 

“So much of my desire to have sex at the end of a long day hinges on the type of day I had.”

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with my sex drive. Maybe not wanting to have sex or having less sex after kids were due to the unrelenting demands of motherhood. 

Bonding in other ways 

My husband and I once had a marriage counselor who gave us two great pieces of advice. One, have sex before you go out on your date and indulge in a fancy meal or a cocktail. 

Second, there are more ways than sex to physically bond with your partner. 

The first goes without saying. Who wants to eat an indulgent meal and go home and have sex? Not me. 

The second has been a game-changer for us. I always thought sex was the only way to connect physically, but there are so many other ways to show affection. Cuddling on the couch, holding hands in public, good morning hugs, and mini makeout sessions are some of my favorite ways to show him I still love him in that way. 

The end game

Would I like to have more sex with my husband? Sure. But I do think that will come with time. Having less sex after kids likely holds true only to a point. As our kids get older, their sleeping improves, and their physical demands decrease, I’m sure I’ll have more left to give my husband at the end of a busy day. 

But for now, I’m going to take Nagoski’s advice and focus on quality, not quantity. 

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