Episode 122 – Kids Don’t Have To Ruin Your Sex Life

One topic I hear often from my clients is that their kids are ruining their sex life.  They are so exhuasted from being a mom, that sex is the last thing they want or have time for.  Today I have good news – it doesn’t have to be this way.  I am going to tell you why putting that relationship first is critical. I will teach you how to show your kids that you love them – but also show them that your spouse comes first. It is the best thing you can do for your kiddos.  If you are married with children – this podcast is not to be missed.

Show Notes:

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References for this episode:

Staying Lovers While Raising Kids

Happy Parents

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel (affiliate link)

Show Summary:

Isn’t it ironic that sex makes babies and then those children ruin our sex lives? No really, sex is usually the first thing to go when those precious little ones are conceived.

First it’s “I’m nauseas,” and then “I’m too tired, then “I’m too big.”  Then the baby is born and it’s the episiotomy, the nursing, the sore nipples.  Then “I have to nurse the baby.” “I am nursing the baby.” “I just finished nursing the baby.”  We’re touched out.  Then we are too fat and out of shape.  You might get it together briefly while you try to conceive another one and then it starts all over again.  When does it end? 

Over the years, there’s this endless cycle; he initiates, you rebuff, he feels rejected and withdraws, you feels even more distrusting of his sexual motives.  You both hold each other accountable for your sexual unhappiness and you both hold each other responsible for making it better.  “If she would just quit rejecting me, it would be better.”  “If he would quit asking me, it would be better.”  But eventually he quits asking.   Sooner or later things come to a head.  You either find sex and fulfillment elsewhere.  Online, an affair.  Or one of you leaves, even if that means waiting until the kids are grown to do it.  Or you stay, but grow so bitter and resentful that you wish you’d left.  

Studies show that 92% of couples have a gradual increase in conflict after having their first baby.  And of course, not all of that is due to sex, but I’m guessing quite a bit of it is.  The same study showed that by the time their babies were 18 months old, 25% of couples said their marriage was in distress and that doesn’t include the 13% that announced their separation and divorce. 

This the story I hear time and time again.  This is the story that my clients say that they are living or that they fear.  This is why they come to me.  Because they’ve gotten into a bad cycle and they don’t know how to get out of it and they don’t want what might happen in the future.  And I don’t want that for you either.

We talk a lot on this podcast about adapting new mindsets around sex.  And for some of you, this is enough.  Listening to this podcast is enough to change your mindset around sex, which is fantastic!  That is why I do this podcast.  Because I know that there are many of you who will never pay me a dime.  And that’s ok!  It is my goal to change lives, marriages, and sexual relationships no matter how that happens.  Sometimes that means for free by listening to my podcast and sometimes that means paying me.  As long as it works for you, then that is what matters most for me.

But, if you are in the group that has been listening, and you know things need to change but can’t quite figure out how it will work for you and how to do it on your own, that is where coaching can be invaluable.  Where you can get one on one time with me, so that I can see the roadblocks you’ve got going and help you move them so you can get what you want.  Because as much as we want things to change, sometimes it’s easier said than done right? 

Reconnecting a woman with her body, her sexuality, and really herself is my greatest joy.  I wanted to share with you a couple of testimonials that have come in lately from clients who have worked with me.

The first one is from a woman who is a young mom.  She’s got 2 very little kids.  Here’s what she said:

“I started meeting with Amanda desperately needing help with my lack of desire for sex. Little did I know that the tools she would teach me would help in almost every aspect of my life. Not only has my desire for sex improved, but I have also become a better wife, mom, and just a better person in general. As someone who has struggled with anxiety almost my whole life, the tools Amanda taught me for dealing with my everyday anxiety has changed my life. I feel empowered, confident, and just really, really happy. I would meet with Amanda every week for the rest of forever if I could. I truly believe that Amanda and her coaching program could help you no matter what your struggles might be. I am forever grateful that I clicked on her ad.”

This one is a from a woman with grown children.  She said: 

“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Amanda. I had no idea that my sessions with her would literally change my life. I know this must sound too good to be true but if I hadn’t experienced it I wouldn’t believe it either. I was hoping for some relief from the negative feelings that have plagued me throughout all of my life, but what Amanda taught me gave me far more than I expected. I learned so much about myself and about my relationship with my husband and relationships over-all. I learned how to recognize and redirect my negative thoughts about myself and others. The tools that Amanda taught me have enabled me to overcome my worries, anxieties and feelings of unworthiness. My mind is clear of the negative chatter and if it starts to creep in I know how to catch it and stop it. My husband and I are closer than ever. We have been married for forty years and since working with Amanda I feel as though we are on our honeymoon again! I have finally learned how to be honest with myself and with my husband. I have a new found confidence in myself and have learned how to more easily communicate my feelings. I highly recommend Amanda as a Life Coach. She is extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful. I felt safe talking to her and was able to open up to her about subjects that I have never talked to anyone about. She has been such a blessing in my life and in my marriage!”

These results are not uncommon.  In fact, I haven’t had a single client who has gone through my 12 weeks who hasn’t come out a different person on the other side.  They get exactly what they came to me for.  

But, let’s get back to you.  Let’s get back to what is keeping you from being connected to yourself and your spouse…your kids.

As women, we get tremendous physical pleasure from our children.  I’m not talking about sexual pleasure…of course not.  But for women our sexuality is diffused throughout our body.  It isn’t centered on our genitals.  Pleasure comes from mind, body, and all of our senses.  It’s tactile and auditory.  It’s linked to smell, skin, and contact.  Arousal is more subjective that just physical.  And we get a lot of that pleasure from our kids.  

There is a multitude of sensual experiences when we care for our children.  We are touching their smooth skin and kissing their soft cheeks.  We bite their toes and nibble on their necks.  We stare at them for hours.  We literally fall in love with our children.  This is a good thing.  It’s biological.  It’s a powerful physiologically response that insures our infants survival.

But when we use all that energy on our children and then our husband comes home from work, it feels like we have nothing left to give.  And it might be…that at the end of the day, we feel like we don’t need anything else.  This is where the problem lies.

Now, I am not telling you to not be physical with your children.  Not to give them all the loves and kisses you want to.  But understanding this; understanding that our children is where we getting these needs met for ourself but then we are failing to nurture this part of our relationship ,is huge.  And when the kids are grown and gone, and we haven’t nurtured this realtionship, what’s left?  

So how do we fix this negative cycle?  We need to start by finding a new way of thinking about all of it.

When your husband approaches you for sex, the tendency will be to go to your normal, default thought.  “I’m too tired.”  “I’m touched out.”  “He doesn’t care about me, he just wants sex.”  “Already? Didn’t I just give him sex?” “Maybe if I ignore him, he’ll go away.”  You respond to him like you would a needy child.  One more thing you have to do.  You are in caretaking mode, because that’s what you’ve been doing all day, and you have a hard time switching that off.  So just notice that.  Then you get to decide what you want to do about it.

Validating your husband’s needs doesn’t mean denying yours.  I don’t want you to force yourself.  That’s not fun.  But, if you tap into your higher desires, most women realize that they actually do want a good sexual relationship.  They want it for them, their husband, and their kids.  You want to give everything to your kids.  Don’t you think one of those things should be two parents who love each other and have a good sexual relationship?  You want your children to have a good sexual relationship with their future spouse.  You’ve got to model it for them.

So…the next time your spouse comes on to you, I want you to think to yourself about opening up to the possibility.  We don’t even have to go all the way to a yes.  But just to a “maybe” or “cuddle with me” or even “talk me into it.”  Do you know what one of the things that drives desire…anticipation.  I wish more men understood this, so ladies, you might have to tell him.  Or even better,  tell him to listen to this episode.  We need anticipation of what is to come.  When we ask our husband to “help me get in the mood” then we start to exhibit a sexual assertiveness.  We take control of our sexuality instead of just being a passenger to our husbands.  And then when he responds with what we can anticipate…ooooh that’s when it gets good.

Back to kids… David Code, author of To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First said “Making your kids the center of your life may seem child-friendly, but it can create long term unhappiness for everyone in the family.”  When you put your marriage on the back burner, your kids can sense the lack of closeness between you.  Think of you relationship as the emotional environment in which your kids live.  You want them to grow up in a loving atmosphere.  You want to model for them a great relationship.  Kids can track it if their parents don’t have a good sexual relationship.  Just by the way you touch each other (or don’t touch each other) they may not be able to express it, but they definitely track it.

So my dad’s parents are so cute.  They are in their 80s and are still so much in love.  My entire life, I have witnessed how affectionate they are with each other.  I’ve tracked it.  Now, I’ve never talked to them about their sex life, but I’m guessing it’s pretty good just by the way they act with each other.

My mom’s parents on the other hand, I think they had a healthy respect for each other.  But I never once saw them hold hands, hug, or kiss.  Most of my life, they didn’t share a bed.  Now they said this was due to my Grandpa’s snoring and my grandma was a light sleeper, but who knows.  Do I think they loved each other, yeah, I think so.  But do I think they had a good sexual relationship.  Nope.  Makes me sad.

I think often times we shut ourselves down sexually under the assumption that we need to keep sex hidden from our children in order to protect them.    Sex, when it comes to our kids, inspires guilt and anxiety and embarrassment in many parents.  We are afraid that our adult sexuality will somehow damage our children.  That they shouldn’t know.  But who are we actually protecting?  Children who see their parents express affection are more likely to embrace their own sexuality with a healthy perspective.  They are more likely to be respectful, responsible, and have a healthy curiosity.  By censoring our sexuality, curbing our desires, or suppressing them altogether, we pass our sexual inhibitions on to our children. (Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel)

I know I want to model a good sexual relationship for my own children.  They obviously know what I do for a living, so I’m pretty sure they know I think it’s important.  My husband and I have lots of conversations with them about how wonderful sex is.  They also see how affectionate we are with each other.  We are always holding hands and kissing in front of them.  They know how protective we are of our time together.  We go to bed early and lock the door.  We go away for the weekend quite often.  We try to take a nice trip together at least once a year.  While we devote so much time and energy to our kids, they see that we also put time and energy into our relationship.  While we love them, they aren’t the center of our world.  Our relationship is.

So, do kids ruin your sexual relationship.  They totally can.  But they don’t have to.  If you make it a priority.  If you make sure that you are taking the time to nurture your marriage and your sexual relationship, then it doesn’t have to.  And that starts, with how you are thinking about it.  When you see your desire and sexuality waning, it’s time to stroke the fire.  Revitalize it.  

“It’s not children who extinguish the flame of desire; it is adults who fail to keep the spark alive.” – Esther Perel

Alright my friends – if you’ve decided that it’s time to figure this out, my next group coaching is now enrolling.  Groups start on October 7 and I have a day group and an evening group.  Both will fill up very fast and it is the lowest price it is ever going to be.  So go to AmandaLouder.com/groups and you can learn all about it and sign up.

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