Parental myths linked to sex are easily spread and internalized. The popular wisdom suggests that once they’ve made a kid, parents will rarely bang, or possibly stop playing hide the salami altogether. And those lucky enough to find time for coitus will experience constant interruptus, leading to resentment, tears, and generally sad times. But, while some wisdom might be popular, it commonly lacks veracity. These are the myths about parental sex that should be put on the shelf for good.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Sex After Kids
Sex is Necessary for Parents
While it is objectively awesome to get it on with a partner, research shows that the joining of the respective sexual organs is not actually what’s responsible for feelings of closeness and togetherness. In fact, those feelings of connection are less about sex and more about eroticism.
But what’s the difference? Psychotherapist Esther Perel, one of the foremost experts on the dynamics of human relationships, notes that eroticism is about novelty, curiosity, touch, and playfulness. It’s not about the bump and grind. She notes that when couples begin to address each other with the same thoughtfulness, interest, and novelty they typically direct to their kids, attitudes begin to change. Once that interest is sparked, sex is often the result. And better quality sex too. That’s merely a bonus.
Having Kids Kills Desire
While it can be tough to get turned on in the months following the birth of a kid, parents need to know it’s not forever. Yes, having a kid will change sex. But different does not always mean worse.
For instance, one study suggests that better sex for dads isn’t about getting away from their kid as much as it is hanging out with them. Researchers from Georgia State University found that parents reported greater sexual satisfaction and felt happier in their relationships when they shared parenting duties equally. Which would suggest that a dad who is busy with childcare is probably going to feel things are going better between the sheets.
It’s Impossible to Find Time for Sex After Kids
Kids cause the rhythms of a couple’s life to become, well, arrhythmic. That’s a fact. And if parents think about finding time to get busy the same way they thought about it before the kid, they will be at a loss to find the holes — in the schedule.
However, this can be easily overcome with some simple planning. Yes, it might seem unsexy to pen sex into a planner, but sometimes that’s what it takes. But, like most things in life, the key is in the perception of the schedule. Parents that equate it with chores will be lost. But parents who see the run-up as a time for teasing and preparation will probably wind up having some super hot sexy times.
More is Better
This myth truly depends on the definition of “more.” If parents are having no sex, or only finding time to take the train to pound town once a month, then absolutely, more would be better. But research suggests that the benefit of more has a quantifiable limit.
Researchers from the University Of Toronto Mississauga conducted a study of married couples with children to attempt to understand how sex was connected with happiness. The came to the completely expected conclusion that those who had sex were happier than those who didn’t. What was surprising, however, was the finding that couples who had sex four times a week were no happier than those who got it on just once a week. More chafed? Sure. But not happier.
Kids Who Walk In On Sex Will Be Traumatized
One of the barriers to parents having sex is the belief that a child’s mind will be shattered if they happen to wander in during some good-natured sexy tussling. While this could be true if the parental reaction is one of pure panic and emotion, it doesn’t have to be the case.
Parenting and sex expert Deborah Roffman has some pretty simple steps for those who’ve refused to lock their door and find a kid surprised by a mythical beast with two backs. First, stop everything and calmly cover up without drama. Second, parents should know the kid has zero context for what’s happening, so it’s best to respond based on the reaction they’re seeing on their kid’s face. It may be as simple as addressing their need for a glass of water. If their kid is showing some kind of fear or confusion about what they’ve seen, Roffman notes it’s totally appropriate to call them close and give hugs and comfort. Finally, she suggests that parents not lie if they are asked what was going on. They should talk on their kid’s level, but also understand this could be the beginning of an ongoing conversation about sex.