Jenny* and Chris* have two kids under five and, like all busy couples, sometimes struggle to find the time to have sex. So they fit it in when they can: sometimes that equals a quickie at three in the morning; sometimes it’s a romp at 10 at night. Finding it hard to connect, they recently hired a nanny so they could focus on their sex life — and close the bedroom door without scarring their kids. Here, Jenny and Chris talk to about raising their children, how pregnancy has helped Jenny’s confidence, and why, for the time being, they’re focused on quality — not quantity — of sex.
The Couple: Jenny and ChrisAges: 38 (her) 45 (him)Years Married: 5Years Together: 9Number of Kids: Two: A four-year-old son, and a one-year-old daughterLocation: ChicagoOccupations: Stay-at-home-mom, postpartum health coach (her); HR (him)
So let’s get into it. You have two kids under five. How are you guys doing in the bedroom? Has having kids affected your sex life and to what extent is that true?
Jenny: Uh, yes. [laughs.] We definitely do not have sex as much as we used to. We got married and pregnant within a month, so, between pregnancy, postpartum, and then we had about a year and a half of trying to get pregnant with our second, and now I’m postpartum again, sex has not been as enjoyable or as spontaneous as it used to be.
That makes sense.
Chris: We’ve noticed that we don’t like living by schedules, necessarily. Scheduling sex doesn’t really bring the romance to us. Now we don’t have the choice of not having some type of schedule that we have to live by. It’s harder. There are very limited opportunities to have sex now, based on what we were used to before we had our kids.
J: We talk about how we should be having sex more. [laughs] The hard part for us is because we really enjoy the spontaneity of sex. And now that’s kind of disappeared. It’s been really hard for us, as a couple, to get back into that groove, because we don’t want to have to schedule it. We’re both pretty resistant to that, as we learned when we were trying to get pregnant. We were like: Okay! We gotta do it now or never! That just wasn’t as enjoyable. But —
C: I like to be romanced a little bit more.
J: We both need some cuddling, so. [laughs]
How often do you guy have sex?
J: Once every two weeks? Right?
C: Well, maybe once a week.
J: Once a week or once every two weeks.
C: It’s usually at like three in the morning.
J: Isn’t that sad? That’s so pathetic.
C: We’re usually really tired by the end of the day. So then —
J: And then somebody wakes up at like, 5 a.m., and we know the kids wake up at 5:30 and there’s going to be a four-year-old in our bed. We usually have about a half hour window between 4:30 and 5 a.m.
That’s not sad! You guys make it work!
C: The silver lining, in my mind, is that when we do have sex, it’s really good. It may not last very long — but at least the limited sex we have is really good, at least to me.
J: More bang for our buck.
When was the last time you had totally awesome sex?
What made it so great?
J: When was it? Was it in the morning? I don’t even remember —
C: Yeah, I can’t remember, but the fact that it doesn’t happen as much… when it does happen, it makes it pretty great. To the point of, before, we had sex all the time. It was fun but it was commonplace. And now it’s like, whoa. This happened. It’s great. It usually ends up being more intense for me because of that.
J: For me, dealing with postpartum stuff still, my hormones are still wacky. I’m never really interested in having sex. But once we do, I’m like. Oh. Why don’t I do that more? That’s where I’m coming from because I’m not really the initiator anymore.
Are you guys into experimenting? Or are you more straightforward in the bedroom?
J: We never really experimented before we had kids. Everything was really great.
C: I’m probably a little more assertive. But in terms of craziness in the bedroom…
J: …there’s been no third parties.
J: Pregnancy causes, just by itself, the need to try different positions. And also, when you’re pregnant and postpartum, I just had to be a little bit more forgiving of myself. I’m less insecure than I was before with my body. At this point, with two kids, I had a C-section the first time and a vaginal birth the second. He has seen it all. I’m a bit less inhibited.
What’s your favorite part about having sex with each other?
J: For me, it’s just about connecting with him. We never get time alone. Even if it’s five minutes that we are grabbing — or one minute — it reminds me of who we were before we had kids. It’s so important for me to hold on to that. We actually just had an au pair join our family — we had never really verbalized this verbatim, but a part of having someone join our family as a nanny is that we want to be able to have more sex. We’re now invested in having help here, because we need to make sure we make more time for each other.
C: Trying to deal with two kids even when we’re around the house together, there’s not really opportunities for us to have a connection. When you’re woken by your crying baby — or one of us falls asleep before the other — it’s hard. It’s hard to be on the same page when there isn’t even a good opportunity to talk about it. We’re hopeful with this au pair, we can have some more of our spontaneity back. Just having dates! Or having sex! Or being able to do things together, which will help us stay more connected than we’ve been in the past year.
That seems to be something to look forward to.
J: Yes! I just want to be able to have sex and shut the door to my room and not risk hurting someone’s future — like them having the experience of witnessing their parents having sex.
C: She’s very paranoid about that.
J: I am very paranoid about that!
C: I’m not all that worried. I think we could have a story for our kid if he came into our room — but she has anxiety about that.