Remember sex at that beginning of your relationship? How about before kids came along? Inviting people for dinner and getting distracted by each other’s bodies as you change into your nicer clothes and, instead of answering the doorbell, ignoring it to mess up the bed. Having a little squabble about which all-inclusive resort you would like to visit, and to make up, getting naked while the dog watches your contortions curiously from the doorway. While enjoying a movie, one of you throws popcorn at the other, and a food fight leads to squeals and (you guessed it) more nakedness on the living room floor. Sex showers. Car sex on the way home from a party. Sex, sex, sex.
Was some of that a little far-fetched? Even if the reality of your intimate life before you spent years together or having kids isn’t quite what I’ve described, it’s probably closer to this: sneaking in a quickie while the kids watch the end of a movie, or fumbling into bed, knowing it’s the big night, only to fall deeply and instantly asleep before your partner returns from brushing his teeth. It’s spending the entire day with a tiny human hanging off your body and touching you, leaving you over-stimulated and begging for some alone time (just to pee, please!) and hoping no one asks to even see you naked.
I’m here to tell you to relax.
In our silos of relationship, we often think that things are only happening to us, when really, they are happening to everyone else too.
It’s one of a coach’s magical powers: we get to tell you that the thing you are worrying about, the thing that is making your relationship “deviant and weird” and DOOMED TO FAIL, is actually totally common. That it happens all the time, and that it’s OHHH-KAY.
After speaking with many, many couples about their intimate lives together, I am here to tell you that:
- A) No one is having as much sex as you think.
If you are trying to measure up to childless couples or couples in movies who are all over each other and slipping off to restaurant bathrooms for quickies, stop. Your priorities, bodies, energy levels, and time have all shifted in the wake of growing your family. And they had to; keeping a tiny human alive is a big deal. Even with a regular “Date Night,” you can be so exhausted by the time you endeavour outside in grown-up clothes that you yawn through dinner, never mind summoning the super powers to swing from a chandelier.
It’s easy to see why sex slips down the ol’ priority list. Many couples would like to have more of it, but, let’s be honest, would also be pretty tempted by the lure of a great night of SLEEP.
My Invitation: have some conversations with friends you trust about their experiences; take a quick survey and ask how often they are really having sex. I am willing to bet it’s less than you think.
- B) You get to define what “enough” looks like.
All that said, if you are having the amount of sex that you are satisfied with, generally speaking, and if your partner feels the same, then you are having “enough.” It’s that simple. If one partner is feeling short-changed in this department or feels like they are falling short of their partner’s desires, then we have something to talk about—but it’s rarely the end of the world. There are a lot of media messages telling us we are wildly undersexed, but sometimes we just aren’t.
My invitation: talk about it with your partner to see if there are any gaps in your desires you want to address, then explore what could be different together.
- C) Sex waxes and wanes.
The beginning of any relationship is H-O-T and I’ll bet you can remember that clothes-tearing-off time in your own relationship, when you couldn’t wait to inhale your partner’s scent before devouring them. This can give way to a comfortable, deeply-familiar intimacy that supports you both as you grow. At one another’s side, there may be additions to the family to which you must adjust, or times of illness, or preoccupations with big life events that occur. These can take a toll on a sexual relationship.
My invitation: keep talking about it and check in with your partner to identify what’s happening and get on the same page.
I always tell my clients that sex is like money: it’s a problem when there isn’t enough or there’s a big debt. I advise people to prioritize close-to-you intimacy over sex, any day of the week, but to keep getting naked and creating time for play and touching—you never know where it may lead when there’s less pressure and the situation is relaxed and open. A huge part of my coaching practice is also steering well-meaning couples to use their time more consciously (ditch the Netflix, and grab each other) and assuring them that what they are experiencing is probably perfectly normal.
So where are you in this? Do you think you’re getting “enough”? If the goal is to design your relationship so that it works for you, then maybe it’s time for a conversation about what that means for you and your partner. I invite you to let me coach you for free to see what we can discover for you!
Love and Communication Expert, Tara Caffelle is known by many as the Relationship Fairy Godmother. Her artful coaching techniques help couples rekindle a deeper love and lasting commitment. If your relationship needs a little inspiration (or a lot!) follow Tara on Facebook or Instagram or get in touch with her here!