Tiffany and Marcus are newly engaged, but have been together for 11 years and have an 18-month-old. Work (they both work full-time jobs) and life are very busy for them but, as we learned, they keep their relationship on pace by being honest about the changes in their sex life (far less frequent, but far better) and understanding that, at some point, things will normalize. Fatherly spoke to Tiffany and Marcus about how their sex life as parents and the steps they take to make it work.
The Couple: Marcus (30) and Tiffany (28)
Years Married: 0 (“We’re engaged!”)
Years Together: 11
Kids: One daughter, 18 months old
Occupations: Manager for a restaurant chain, small business owner (him); manager at a sign installation company (her)
So, you’re both full-time working parents of an 18-month-old. Life must be busy.
Tiffany: Yeah, she certainly keeps us busy. Right now, her teeth are coming in, but we’re managing it. We’re finding different things out every day about her and what works and what doesn’t work. It’s a growing and learning experience the whole time.
Marcus: We do have a good support system. I think we’re very lucky with that. My mother-in-law is very close by; she’s literally 10 minutes away from us, so it’s very convenient for us. She’s always there to help us out, and assist us, if we need someone to look after her or help us out in any way.
T: And not even that, with money and daycare nowadays, it’s just so expensive. To have someone to watch her is unbelievable, knowing how much we make, and how much it actually costs to be able to finance something like that. So having that care is amazing.
How has your sex life really changed after having your baby?
M: The truth is, having a child does in fact change your sex life. Obviously, the frequency of intimacy is a lot less often. But when we do have time to be intimate, I personally find it a lot more enjoyable. The way I look at it is, you can’t have dessert or pizza every day. But when you do, you appreciate it. I know that kind of sounds weird, but it’s quality, we definitely look forward to it, and it’s something that we very much enjoy when it does happen.
T: That makes sense. I feel like our couple time was replaced with learning how to balance and help each other in our day to day lives. So, when we do get to be alone, it sometimes just feels better to make it a moment together that doesn’t have to be sexual.
M: Yeah, that’s true.
T; Like, laying on the couch just watching our shows, the physical affection kind of builds on top of that. It’s little things that have changed, but it’s working for us, I think.
M: There’s definitely more holding hands, more hugging, more kissing, more touching. Things like that. That’s definitely increased. But actual sex has definitely decreased.
T: [laughs] It’s hard. It’s exhausting! It’s just like, a lot of strain is put on our relationship, especially at the beginning but still, right now, just being new parents and trying to function sometimes on autopilot. So emotionally and physically, you’re just drained. You don’t necessarily think of sex as the first thing you want. Especially when you don’t get enough sleep. If you don’t have sleep, you certainly do not want to have sex.
M: When she doesn’t have sleep, oh — you’re so cranky —
T: I know!
These little things keep the fire going, though. You’ve got to adapt.
T: And I feel like Marcus understands that, like, before having a baby I was only sharing myself with Marcus. Now I share myself with our daughter, too, and she basically needs me 24/7. Marcus understands and he’s very supportive. He’s never rushed me into having sex —
M: Thank you, baby!
So how often are you two having sex?
M: For the first three or four months, we did not have intercourse. And then after that, we did start. Right now, we’re maybe at once a week?
T: With our schedules, we have to really find the right time. But we have gotten back on track in a sense just by communicating, listening to each other’s needs, and picking up on subtle hints that one another might do.
M: But yeah, once a week.
T: Sex, in the beginning, even just thinking about it, it scared me. I was embarrassed about my body, I was feeling insecure, I knew I looked different, but on top of that, I was scared because I thought it was going to be a lot different for him. That obviously took a toll on my emotions, just thinking, like, it wasn’t going to feel or be the same or he wasn’t going to think of me the same way. Of course, I got stitches so I did tear, so I was in pain for a while, and that just added to the thought of, oh my god, what if there’s a lot more pain after we have sex? What if I get back to feeling that constant pain? That worried me, as well.
But then we had sex for the first time and it wasn’t necessarily as bad, painful or as terrible as I thought it was going to be, but we just took it slow. And of course, lube definitely helped. He never rushed me. He was very supportive and appreciative. He was able to calm me down from all the crazy scenarios I played in my head or my worries about what might happen or how it might be.
M: Honestly, it’s all about listening to your partner. People can take things the wrong way or feel rejected. But communication goes a long way.
T: It’s completely changed from how it used to be, but not in a bad way. It’s good, it’s different, and we’re learning different aspects of each other that we didn’t even know before.
What is your favorite part of your sex life, today?
M: We’ve definitely grown, from when we first met, to what we are now. We’ve grown a lot. Having a child definitely helps you grow further. I understand Tiffany better. When certain events happen in life, such as having a kid, you get to really see a different side of our partner. I definitely got to know her on a different level, for sure, and because of that, I think our intimacy is more…
M: Yeah. It is better, because of having a kid. We have a better emotional connection. It brought us —
T: Closer, yeah.
M Closer, much closer. Our intimacy is more passionate. There’s definitely a level of passion now.
T: We understand each other more, and know what to do, and what not to do. We know each other.