Having a child is one of the most incredible experiences life has to offer, and nothing in the world can compare to the feeling that you have when you hold your little one in your arms for the first time, hear her speak her first words, and take her first steps. But if you’ve got kids, you also know that your little bundle of joy can put a bit of a damper on your sex life. And you can’t help but wonder: is it just me, or does this happen to everyone?
Recently, the company Leesa surveyed 977 parents who were still living with the biological parent of their firstborn child (who had to be 18 or younger) to see how their sex lives changed after they had kids. As with any study about sex, there are certain limitations since the results were self-reported rather than observed. But it provides real insight on how the sex lives of other parents compare with your own, and provide some helpful tips if you’re looking to heat things back up in the bedroom. So read on, and be educated. And for more of the stats on secret sexual behavior, check out How Many People Have Actually Had Sex on an Airplane.
Yes, You Have Way Less Sex
On average, parents experienced a 47 percent decrease in sexual frequency. Evolutionary psychologists would argue that there’s a biological reason for our drop in libido. In some ways, sexual desire is basically our brains tricking us into wanting to have sex so that we can reproduce. Once we fulfill this biological duty, our brains are not bothered about getting some anymore, thereby enabling us to really focus on taking care of our newborns.
But It’s Not Too Bad
On average, respondents went from having sex 19 times a month to only 10. I don’t know who these people are who are having sex 19 times a month but that’s way above the average. In fact, a recent study about the ways in which Netflix is killing your sex life says that most couples are down to a measly three times per month.
The Quality of Sex Gets Worse
Overall, 46 percent of respondents said that, when they did have sex, it was worse than before having kids. If it makes you feel any better, though, there was a fairly small margin between those who said it got worse and those who reported no change, and 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women thought it got even better!
Women Experience a Major Drop In Sexual Desire
About half of the men surveyed said that having a baby put a dent in sexual desire, and only around 30 percent reported less of an interest in sex, as opposed to 61 percent of women. It’s a bit of a tricky situation, since lack of sex is the number one reason why men cheat.
You Stop Making Out
Kissing, once such an exciting activity, scored as the “most decreased act of intimacy” in the study. This is also a problem, since a lack of intimacy is the number one reason that women cheat.
You Cuddle More
On the bright side, you get more snuggles, which can boost your emotional intimacy. Hard as it may be to find the time, it’s crucial to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night, especially since a recent study found that sleep makes you a better parent.
You’re Not Happy With Your Sex Life
One plot hole in the argument that we’re biologically predisposed to want to have sex less post-baby is the fact that most of us aren’t too jazzed about closing up shop. Only 22% of responded said they were fine with the decrease of sexual frequency, versus 57% who said they were really unhappy about it.
Most of the Sex Takes Place When Kids Are Asleep
Of the parents who do manage to find the time to be intimate, 67 percent do it when the kids are asleep, which is probably why 54 percent of them also try putting the kids to bed early when they want to get it on (this is where NyQuil comes in handy). Another 39 percent try to distract their kids with technology long enough to squeeze in a quickie, but that might not be the most advisable option, given that a recent study found our tendency to use technology to solve our problems is making us terrible parents.
If you’re looking for tips on how to get in a little more mommy-and-daddy time, here are some other techniques respondents said that they used: booking a hotel during the day (7 percent), getting a babysitter (14 percent), meeting at home during a work break (17 percent), taking the kids to a friend’s house (18 percent), going on vacation without them (26 percent), showering together (43 percent), or just being really, really quiet (64 percent). Of these options, the vacation idea might be the best one, since the fact that Americans are wasting so many of their vacation days a year is also making us sad.
You Lock Your Door
67 percent of parents said that they lock their doors if they decide to have sex while the kids are awake, which is a good thing, because 15 percent of them said they’ve had kids walk in on them while in the throes of passion. While your natural response might be to scream at them to get out, experts say this can be a little psychologically scarring, so it’s best to gather yourself and calmly explain what they saw in an age-appropriate way.
You Find It Harder to Make Time When They’re Awake
63 percent of respondents said they found it “difficult or very difficult” to have sex when the kids are awake, which is probably why 40 percent of them said they never do it when they’re awake and 36 percent said they do it very rarely.
You Have More Shower Sex
If you do have sex while the kids are awake, you’re most likely to go for the shower (47 percent) or the bathroom (38 percent). Shower sex can be fun, but tricky, so you might want to check out our handy guide to getting it on in there.
You Might Get a Bit Kinky
While the obvious choice, master bedroom, was the next most popular venue for intimacy, 15 percent said their top location was a bed that doesn’t belong to them, another 15 percent opt for the car, and 15 percent go for the kitchen or kitchen pantry. So the challenge presented by kids can lead you to expand your boundaries a bit!
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