Sex And Relationship Advice For Parents
Helpful & practical sex and relationship advice for parents struggling to reignite the passion
It’s incredibly difficult to find any time for yourself when you’re a parent, never mind putting thought, effort and time into a sexy relationship with a partner. With a full-time job, two kids and sharing the house with a limited mobility relative who needs constant care, I personally find it extremely challenging.
With the big celebration of romance, relationships and coupledom coming up this weekend for Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at relationships when you’re parents too. How are you meant to celebrate love and romance when having even a fleeting kiss and cuddle on any normal day feels like a huge achievement? Is the picture perfect image of two adults in love with each other ever really possible when even a regular (non-sleepy, non-muffled, non-interrupted) sex life feels like an unreachable dream?
Well, it is pretty tough, sorry to say. I can’t offer any quick fixes or magical solutions here – as I’ve said, I find it as difficult as the next mum to get time alone with my partner and to have an ongoing conversation about something other than nappies and school lunches.
I am a bit tired of reading relationship advice articles which seem to be directed towards 20-something couples who have no children and seemingly unlimited funds despite no job or other obligations (why yes, we really should go on a champagne hot air balloon ride together one weekday afternoon) so I thought I’d gather together my own sex and relationship advice for parents who may be struggling to reclaim their intimate time together as adults.
Here’s a list of what we try and do – both for a special date like Valentine’s Day and to keep the spark going on an everyday basis. I definitely don’t remember to do all of these, I’m not perfect – but it’s an ongoing goal to strive towards.
Keep talking sexy
It doesn’t have to be out loud, let’s face it sexy chat isn’t something you want to be doing round the kids. Most people have access to the internet and a smart phone these days, so why not use them for more than Candy Crush or updating Facebook?
We like the naughty feeling of sending sexy messages on What’s App, but we also use Skype whether through the phone or on laptop. Even if you don’t have a web-enabled smart phone, there’s still good old SMS. Remember those early days when you sent flirty messages or perhaps even saucier sexts? It’s time to get that excitement and flirtation back.
If you never know what to say when it comes to dirty talk and sexy messages, Cameryn Moore has written several articles on the topic of sexy chat and roleplay which you may find helpful.
Set strict bedtimes for the kids
If at all possible (I know it’s difficult with babies and toddlers, I have a stubborn 3 year old myself) try to set and stick to strict bedtimes for the children. It might feel daunting but once a routine is established there should be a part of the evening which is just yours to share as adults, while the kids are safely tucked up in bed.
You might be too tired to experiment your way through the Kama Sutra on the coffee table, but an early(ish) night together now and then will do wonders for your sex life and intimacy as a couple.
Arrange regular date nights
Time is always rushing past, the days turn into another week gone and suddenly it’s the next month – and oh, is it almost Christmas already? This is especially true for parents who have the added obligations and responsibilities of raising a family.
It’s important to not only schedule valuable time with your children, but also prioritise precious time with your partner too. Just you two, not the children this time. Organise one night a month (or heck, even every few months is better than not at all) when you can leave the house with your partner and do something fun together, as adults. Arrange a babysitter for the evening – or even overnight, finances allowing, so you can really reconnect on all levels during a hotel stay.
I know this could all get rather expensive so it does depend on your household budget. There are babysitters fees, transport, the cost of whatever activity it is you’re doing (cinema, meal, drinks, theatre tickets etc) as well as the overnight stay if you’re thinking along those lines. If you simply can’t afford to get out of the house for the evening, then why not…
Enjoy a couples’ date at home
Now, depending on your personal circumstances you might still have some babysitters fees to consider here. Hopefully you have some absolutely wonderful and supportive family and friends who perhaps understand (and can see) how stressed and frazzled you get being parents 24/7.
If said family or friends could possibly babysit the children at their house, whether for an evening or ideally overnight, you could make all sorts of plans with your partner in your very own home. Top tip: pack all the kids toys out of sight once they’re gone, so it really feels like ‘grown-ups time’.
You could start the evening by cooking a romantic meal for your partner, or ordering in a fancy takeout if you don’t feel like cooking (again, depends on your budget). Then, run a romantic bubbly bath to share together. Make sure your bedroom (or lounge!) is child-reminder free, lock the doors and rediscover what it is about your partner that turns you on.
If a couples’ date at home is on the cards for you, you could even consider buying some sex toys in advance to surprise your partner with to enjoy together when the special night comes around. I’m thinking a new bullet vibrator or a sexy romance kit – perhaps don’t spring an XXXL butt plug on them (unless you’re sure that’s their thing, of course!).
Stop with the electronics
I’m so guilty here. We live in the modern age of internet and electronics which are connected to this exciting worldwide web 24/7, and it’s so hard to detach from all the excitement. Smart phone, laptop, desktop – even the TV is a constant source of entertainment and fascination. However, all this electronics fun could be stopping you from enjoying a closer relationship with your partner.
It might be unrealistic to say you should stop all phone and laptop use in the bedroom, or never watch anything on TV together in bed. After all this is fun and normal – whatever normal is. What could be a better plan is to set one night a week where you both switch your phones and laptops off and put them to the side, keep the TV off when you’re able to get to bed together, and concentrate on entertaining each other instead.
Don’t neglect physical contact
Rush, rush, rush. All day long us parents are rushing from one task to the next. My partner and I work from home, so our minds are constantly dizzy with work projects intermingled with school events, nursery visits, healthcare and mealtimes. The day passes in a blur and before we know it we might have only said a few words to each other in the whole day – and those would have been about work or the kids at that.
What I do love about my partner is that he’s a very physically affectionate guy, and we’re both people who need that physical aspect in a relationship. He’ll often pop into the kitchen when I’m making my 11th cup of coffee before midday and pull me into a hug or quick kiss. It makes me feel loved and makes me remember that although there’s work, and the kids, and the house, and dinner to prepare – there’s also our relationship and that’s just as important to focus on.
Kissing is hugely underrated and can often be forgotten about in relationships, sadly – but even if you feel uncomfortable kissing in front of the kids (if you’re thinking full on snog) there’s no reason you can’t give your partner a quick cuddle in the day. Physical contact with your partner encourages happy endorphins too, giving you more energy to carry on with your usual family and work tasks.
When it comes to telly time why sit apart? Enjoy cosying up together on the sofa in front of the soaps or a film – and if you’re feeling particularly generous you could indulge your partner with a shoulder and neck massage.
Remember to compliment each other
Compliments are too often just used as a method of seduction, then when you’re in a relationship with your partner they can be thought of as unnecessary or ‘obvious, I shouldn’t have to say it.’ Well actually yes, you do have to say it.
We’ve all got our own insecurities and sensitivities, and a way to make your relationship stronger and feel closer is to compliment your partner’s strengths. Not just physical flattery – although that’s great too, it’s always nice to hear that my bum does not in fact look big in this – but genuine praise about achievements or character traits.
If they worked especially hard today, tell them – and say how much you appreciate them for it. If they cooked a lovely dinner for you and the kids, say thank you – and perhaps add on that you know they were tired so it was especially good of them. If they dealt well with a challenge in the day, point it out. If they didn’t cope that well, remind them how well they dealt with x, y or z – and support and comfort them if they need a listening ear or shoulder to cry into. Say thanks for them watching the kids while you go and grab that much needed shower. Tell them what they mean to you, what it means to you to wake up with them every day.
Maintain eye contact while you compliment your partner and their reaction will remind you just how important this positive reinforcement is. Eye contact is also important when stirring feelings of arousal and desire. Connecting through looks over a shared joke or memory will further enhance your intimacy and strengthen your bond as a couple.
Remembering what it’s like to be two adults in love with one another and working on your relationship together – not just as parents to your children – will go a long way towards keeping you both happy and satisfied for years to come. As much of the sex and relationship advice for parents above reminds you to keep the lines of communication open, you should both feel able to discuss any times you feel unhappy or dissatisfied in your relationship.
Being a parent, whether a single parent or as part of a couple, is an incredibly difficult job but of course, it’s very rewarding. Make sure that your adult needs are as well catered to as the needs of your little ones, not least because the happiest children are those cared for by the happiest parents.
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