Remember when you and your partner first got together and it was all you could do to resist having steamy sessions, like, three times a day? (Yeah, it was hard not to.) But once you start a family, keeping the lust alive is a real challenge. Pros say that kids are one of the quickest intimacy-killers because you're both busy, exhausted and getting some action before you pass out often falls wayyy to the bottom of the to-do list.
But we don't need to tell you that pushing sex back to the top — or at least not the bottom — of your priorities is necessary if you want your relationship to stay happy and healthy long after your kids graduate from diapers (or college). For real, actionable ideas, we asked 15 moms how they managed to keep their sex lives from cooling off after they had kids — here are their top strategies.
Cut down on stress
“It wasn't the easiest or most natural thing to get back to being intimate after having our baby, especially with breastfeeding and co-sleeping. I had to look into my own emotional and mental health and why I just wasn't ever in the mood. I started making stress relief and self-care a part of my every day. We started a meditation practice of synchronized breathing and would also use stimulating massage oils on each other, and it helped a ton” — December, 35, Anchorage, Alaska
Get rid of the guilt
“Having kids can overwhelm any relationship! Once we both opened up about our need for space, support and connection, the pressure to have sex and the guilt about not having it fell away. As we continued to become more connected as partners and parents, we became even more intimate, even if the intimacy wasn't always physical.” — Gaby, 38, New York City
Interrupt each other at work
“My husband owns a construction business and he has a nice, private office… with a lovely couch. We don’t make it a habit, but if we’re really craving each other, I’ll go visit him at work for some one-on-one time in his office. Sometimes, I’ll bring him lunch too.” — Samantha, 40, Summit, New Jersey
Designate a playroom that’s far from your bedroom
“We built an amazing playroom for our kids… in the basement. Now when our kids are busy downstairs playing, my husband and I can run upstairs to our room for a quickie if we get a sudden urge for some action.” — Kimberly, 39, Boston
Disconnect from the day
“Sometimes the best thing I can do is take a shower — change out of my work clothes, wash off the day and put on something else, even if it's not a cute chemise. Naked works! I feel fresher, more awake and like I've disconnected from the day. Also, my bathroom is conveniently connected to my bedroom, so you get the picture.” — Jennifer, 43, Raleigh, North Carolina
Lean on your friends
“Since my other mom friends and I know it can be hard to get that private time when the kids are around, we take turns babysitting each other’s kids for the night so we each get alone time with our spouse or significant other. That’s what friends are for, after all.” — Jody, 41, Lincoln, Nebraska
Take a sexual health day
“Some call it a 'mental health day' when you call out of work but aren’t really sick. We call it a 'sexual health day.' Usually, when we’re requesting time off from work, it’s for a family vacation. So every now and then, my partner and I will both call out sick from work — when the kids have school — to get some much-needed alone time.” — Pam, 33, Tampa, Florida
Create and stick to boundaries
“Teach your kids to knock before opening your bedroom door in the morning unless it's an emergency —explain to them what an emergency is. That way, if you're trying to get in a morning quickie, you don't have to worry about kids busting through the door.” — Ashley, 40, San Francisco
Sleep-train your kids ASAP
“When the kids are in bed by a certain time each night — for us, it's no later than 8:30 p.m. — that frees up time for the parents to have some alone time. When it's routine, the kids are less likely to interfere, because they are trained to be asleep during certain hours.” — Amy, 36, Austin, Texas
Plan a sexy dinner date night
“Dinner date nights are big for me. If you're a foodie, explore different restaurants with your spouse and have a quickie in your car. Or [with the kids at grandma’s] if budget is a problem, you can cook dinner for your spouse and can have good sex after dinner on your dining table.” — Jessica, 36, Waterville, Maine
“Intimacy after kids is all about creativity and spontaneity! You have to be willing to let go of the 'perfect' lovemaking scene you see on TV. New places, new times, new positions, same great feeling in record time! The bonus, it keeps your intimate life fresh and your partner attractive. When you don't know what's coming, fantasies are endless!” — Tara, 42, Dallas, Texas
Make use of every private moment
“I was just days away from having my baby girl and everyone told me to say goodbye to privacy. While that's true to a degree, I make use of the time she gives me. Generally, she'll not go to bed without both my husband and me in the same bed with her, but she sleeps soundly, so each night without fail, we relocate her to her room. Of course, she wakes up in the middle of the night and rejoins us, but that's more than enough time." — Diane, 34, Tampa, Florida
Lie if you have to
“The go-to reason we give our children is that 'Mommy and Daddy are going to take a nap.' It works like a charm, except when later one will ask why you're always so tired." — Maureen, 35, Boston
Don’t hide all your romantic moments
“Your children need to see that you two are still loving and playful with and towards each other. When my husband and I kiss and hug each other spontaneously passing through the house, our daughter does the 'awww;' and it makes her happy that she sees us this way! We can’t help but act like two teenagers on the nights when it's our date night.” — Wanda, 29, Atlanta, Georgia
Take advantage of every chance to be alone
“My kids are a little older, so whether they’re playing at the neighbors, at soccer practice or at school, my husband and I use that time — even if just an hour — to get as frisky as we can. Just make sure you’re minds are both on each other and not your to-do list.” — Maria, 40, Brooklyn, New York
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