I really enjoy talking to married folks about their relationship. For instance, when I was discussing with a husband I know about why he thinks married couples don't have as much sex as they did when they were single (if they had sex while they were dating), he simply said, "It can be hard to be in the mood to have sex with your business partner and when you're married, you become that. You've got to be intentional about shifting gears." Along those same lines, that's what both husbands and wives have said can make sex after having children a struggle too—that you go from being sex partners to co-parenting partners, and between trying to get on the same page with raising children, finding time for one another and also making sure that you've got even a little bit of energy to make coitus happen…whew…it can be absolutely overwhelming, at times. And that's putting it mildly.
Still, if you ask any reputable relationship therapist, counselor or coach, they are going to tell you that if you want to keep your relationship healthy and thriving, you've got to make time for sex. Sex can't be seen as a luxury; for so many reasons and on so many levels, it is most definitely a necessity.
If you know all of this in theory, yet as a parent, you still struggle with how to make it all go down, I'm hoping that at least a couple of these tips will make it easier—and more enjoyable—to have sex with your partner. No matter how many children may be running around your house.
1. Have the “Sex Talk”
If there is a huge mistake that I think a lot of parents make, it's waiting until a child is basically going into junior high before having "the talk" with them. I believe a part of the hold-up is because people automatically assume that sex education includes graphic discussions and/or exploring sex prevention. The reality is, sex is what brought your son or daughter into the world and, if you're a Bible follower, plenty of Scriptures speak to the fact that God made it (Genesis 2:24-25, Proverbs 5:15, I Corinthians 6:16-20, and all of the Song of Solomon, for example), so there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
And here's the thing—the earlier your children have an age-appropriate grasp of what sex is and that it's a way that mommy and daddy express love for one another, the easier it will be to have some "steal away moments". Also, you won't have to freak out as much internally, should your children happen to "catch you" in the act. They are already aware of the backstory. Everyone can recover and be just fine.
2. Create Sexy Code Words
There's the general concept of sex and then there's…sex. Listen, just because I'm all for kids knowing the mechanics of sex, along with its purposes (mostly, to "one yourself" with your partner, to share a profound level of intimacy with them and to procreate; in that order too), that doesn't mean I think that your children should be fluent in you and yours "dirty talk". Coming up with code words, so that you and yours can discuss sex without your kids knowing, is another cool hack. Pet names for body parts. Cute words for sex acts. These kinds of things can make it easier for you and your partner to flirt with one another, without worrying about whether or not your children are catching on.
3. Download a Sex Scheduling App
If the challenge that you and your partner have is making time to have sex—not because you don't want to but because both of your schedules are really off the chain—something that you should consider doing is downloading a sex tracking app. It's literally an app that can help you to keep track of how often (or little) you have sex; it can help you and yours to schedule sex too. While it might not seem like the most romantic hack on the planet, I'm a firm believer that scheduling sex is far better than going weeks or months without any sex at all. A popular sex tracking app for iOS is called the Nice Tracker. A list of some other options (some that work with Android phones as well), is listed here.
4. Pull Your Bed Away from the Wall
Something that a lot of my married clients say that they miss about sex prior to having kids is being able to be as loud as they want. Understood (check out "Ever Wonder What The Sounds You Make During Sex Mean?"). First up, there are things that you can do to help to soundproof your room. Installing thicker carpet. Sealing your door. Putting up a ceiling-mounted drape (a drape that covers one of your walls in order to drown out some of the sound). You can read more about this and other tips here.
Another wise idea is to invest in a mattress that nixes a lot of the squeaking that may come from your bodies moving around (you can check out a list of some of the best mattresses, for sex, in 2020 here). On the other hand, if money is tight and you're looking for something that you can do tonight, try pulling your bed a few inches away from the wall. Chances are, it's the headboard banging against the wall that is making a lot more noise than the mattress is. If it's not hitting the wall, it will significantly lower the chances of your kids hearing you—well, y'all.
5. Turn a Sex Schedule into a Sex Game
Back to scheduling sex. If you and/or your partner are all about being spontaneous, turn your schedule into a bit of a game. It can be a guessing game that consists of both of you trying to figure out which day and time works best for each of you beforehand and then having some sort of "prize" for the one who guesses right. It can be a sex flirting kind of game where, once the two of you pick a day, you surprise each other with a sexy text, a massage or some new lingerie (or boxer briefs or boxers in his case). It can be a truth or dare game where, after the date is set, answering a truth makes one sex thing happen while taking a dare results in something totally different. There really are all kinds of ways to make sex on a schedule fun. I mean, look at it this way—kids know that their birthday and Christmas come at the same time every year; they're still excited to see what awaits them. Catch my drift?
6. When They Nap, You Sex
So, what if your kids are really young (like under five) and it seems like, no matter what you do, they are always up and needing something? Perhaps you remember when your little one was first born and the advice that you were given was to sleep whenever they did. The same tip can easily apply to sex. If your children are in a daycare, this tip isn't really relevant. However, if they are at home with you and either you and your partner both work from the house or even one of you does, make an appointment to have sex while your kids are napping. You can use the lunch hour to get it in and, with any luck, that could easily mean that you can have a sex session for no less than 30 minutes or so. Consider it to be a "sex date", if you will.
7. Have Your Own Toy Chest
Whether it's to boost you or your partner's level of sexual confidence, you're looking for a way to bring more spicy into your boudoir or you desire tools that will help to intensify your orgasm, you can never go wrong with having your own toy chest—a sex toy chest, that is. As far as the kinds that are considered must-haves—a vibrator, some handcuffs, a few massage bars, a cock ring, a sex pillow, a waterproof vibrator and lots of bottles of lubricant are all things that can get you off fast, if there isn't a lot of time for foreplay (you know, because of the kids 'n all).
(If you'd like some other sex toy referrals, check out the articles on our site like "8 Crème De La Crème Sex Toys You Can Buy On A Budget" and "Intensify His Pleasure With The Help Of These Sex Toys").
8. Make Their Movie Night Your Quickie Time
Earlier this year, when I wrote "8 'Kinds of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation", one of the kinds that I mentioned was "quickie sex". Quickie sex is dope because it's spontaneous (which can make sex sexy as hell). Also, it doesn't make either one of you feel like every sex session has to be an all-night romp. Well, if you've got some early mornings in the week coming up but you really would like the release that comes from an orgasm or two, don't underestimate the power of putting your kids in one room to watch a movie one afternoon or evening, while the two of you go into another for a quickie. Shoot, if the movie is good enough, you should be able to get a couple of sessions in before they come looking for either one of you.
9. Don’t Limit Yourself to the Bed
I've got a friend who believes that her children are conspiring to keep her and her husband from ever having sex. "It's like if they even sense that we're touching our bed, they're at the door knocking. Doesn't matter what time of day it is either." If you can totally relate, one way to get around this is to remember that, while sex in the bedroom is certainly comfortable, who said that it always has to happen there?
For instance, while I know that some kids don't care if you're in the bathroom either, if there does tend to be at least one place where they'll give you at least 10 minutes of free time, it's in that space. So, consider engaging in some shower sex or telling them that you're going to do something like clean out your closet while they're doing their homework and have your quickie in there. Hey, a hack like this might not earn you a lot of time, but at least you can get off. Besides, if you follow my final point, you can significantly up the chances of having some long, passionate sex…later.
10. Go to Bed at the Same Time
Here's something that you might find interesting (especially if you're engaged). If there's one thing that a lot of the troubled married couples that I work with have in common, it's the fact that they don't go to bed at the same time. While the reasons why are typically pretty innocent—one is a morning person while the other is a night owl or going to bed at different times helps them both to get some "me time" in—the reality is there's solid data to support the fact that couples who don't go to bed at the same time tend to have far more marital conflict while feeling emotionally disconnected from each other.
While I totally get that going to bed at the same time, each and every night, may be somewhat impractical, it's important to try and do it, at least three times a week. It gives you and yours time to bond, have some pillow talk and maybe get a little you-know-what in before falling asleep—and doing the whole mommy and daddy thing all over again the next day. Try it. You just might like it.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Nelly And Ashanti Are Giving It Another Shot? Here's What You Should Know About 'Ex Reconciliation'
Okay, so if you’ve read any of my pop culture think pieces on this platform before (like here or here), you already know that I don’t tend to spend a lot of time talking like I know people who I actually…don’t. As someone who grew up in an entertainment industry home and then got my (official) start in journalism in the entertainment realm as well — let me just tell you from very up close and personal experience that nothing is a smoke-and-mirrors game quite like the celebrity world. That’s why it’s wise to not invest too deeply into it/them.
At the same time, since, for better or for worse, we do live in a culture that seems to be constantly consumed with what famous folks are doing. What I prefer to do is use certain news stories (even if they are basically nothing more than tabloid gossip, depending on the day) as personal teachable moments — and since the word on the street is saying that Nelly and Ashanti are giving it another go, I thought that topic would be a great one to tackle.
My personal recollection of them being together consists of my finding Ashanti’s visual for her single “Good Good” (damn, was that 2008?!) to be cute enough. Plus, I liked how they mostly kept everything off the grid — unlike the other relatively reunited (and does it feel so good? I can’t tell because Ben always looks so irritated) couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, chile). Anyway, beyond that, and then reading some timeline pieces on Nelly and Ashanti (a recent one is located here), there’s not much more that I can say as far as their coupledom goes.
Ashanti and Nelly during Sean Diddy Combs First Fragrance Launch for Unforgivable - After PartyJohnny Nunez/WireImage
However, when I did happen to catch a roughly hour-long Instagram post (here) on Ashanti’s page a few months ago talking about how (among other things) she used to want six kids, and now she’ll “settle for” two or three, I took that to be a subtext that she’s ready to get into something serious/substantial — and sometimes that can mean reconciling with someone from your past.
It’s kind of like a point that was made by Alec Baldwin’s character in the movieIt’s Complicated (paraphrased): “Some people should get back together 10 years after a divorce because the time apart can help each person to grow. And since you already know your ex so well, reuniting later could be the best decision ever.”
Nelly and Ashanti reportedly broke up ten years ago, so maybe they are life-imitating art. Either way, before you use them as inspiration (or ammo — LOL) to get back with someone from your own past, please ask yourself the following questions. Then be serious about the answers. Then run them by a trusted friend (or your therapist). And then, if it all checks out, proceed with extreme wisdom and logic. Because getting back with an ex is a bit like a crap shoot — it can be a real blessing or a HUGE mistake. That’s why factoring as much as possible beforehand is such a wise thing to do.
Why Did the Two of You Break-Up?Giphy
I recently got certified (and soon to be credentialed) to be a professional certified coach (a holistic one). It’s interesting because, when you’re actually learning from an ICF-accredited school, a question that actually isn’t asked in life coaching is “Why?” Why is that? Because while therapy/counseling tends to focus on the past quite a bit, life coaching specializes in asking questions that will empower you to decide what is best for your future.
In this case, though, you definitely need to take your past into account because if you don’t factor in why you broke up with your ex in the first place, it could result in you just repeating the same ish that you did before — and if that ish is centered around things like abuse (neglect is abuse, by the way), constant lying or being taken for granted, you really need to do some serious vetting to see if those things are still a present-day issue.
And yes, this is a critical point to consider because, while some people live by the motto “forward ever, backward never” or my personal favorite, “getting back with an ex is like getting out of the shower and putting the same underwear on,” not every break-up is horrific or even devastating. Sometimes it really is a matter of meeting the right person at the wrong time or the two of you really liking each other, but something just doesn’t quite “click.”
You know, it is Benjamin Franklin who once said, “All highly competent people continually search for ways to keep learning, growing, and improving. They do that by asking WHY.” And since, hopefully, you’ve been learning, growing, and improving as an individual, ever since you ended things with your ex, asking yourself why you broke up and being really honest about the answer, that can help you to see WHY you should consider trying again or WHY the past should totally be left there.
What Lessons Did You Learn? During and Since Ending the Relationship?Giphy
Everyone is a lesson. That is, if you’re humble enough to know how to be taught anything (some of y’all will catch that later). And just so we’re all on the same page when it comes to this particular point, a lesson is a practical piece of wisdom, and wisdom is something that offers insight and heightens your sense of discernment. In other words, if it’s truly a lesson — and you apply it — there will be no reason to repeat it; your insight and discernment won’t let you.
So, when it comes to your ex, what lessons did they teach you? One of mine taught me to not convince myself to be with someone just because they are a good person. Another taught me to not "be a wife" to someone who is not my literal husband (check out "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife"). Still, another taught me to stop mistaking nostalgia for actual love (more on that in just a bit). The first and second lessons I learned during the relationship. The last I learned after. And because the lessons were so profound, they totally altered my way of thinking — which makes getting back together with any of those guys basically an impossibility. Wisdom won't let me.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is kinda-sorta back with one of her exes because the lesson that she learned during the relationship was because she had never been in love before, she kept playing the exhausting game of come-close-go-away. Now that she's had some therapy (and matured a bit), she and her ex are in a far better place which makes it easier to interact with one another on another level. Is it just like it was before? No. In many ways, it's better because, since my friend has less anxiety, there is less stress on the relational dynamic, which makes them able to see where things could go a lot easier for both of them.
I am a firm believer that life is one big school. Thing is, when it comes to the lessons that you need to learn, you can stay in the same class for 20 years, if need be. So yeah, when it comes to pondering about getting back with your ex, did the lessons that you already learn reveal to you that it would be a smart move or a really dumb decision?
Who Reached Back Out First? (Yes, It Is Valid)Giphy
Typically, the "Who did it first?" question leans on the side of silly and/or petty and/or entitled to me. Oh, but not in this case. And although words cannot express how disgusted I am with how Brian McKnight is displaying extremely poor (fellow) Gemini energy, he is a great songwriter, and his song with the hook, "Do I ever cross your mind? Anytime?" — let me just say that an ex who says they never think about their exes from time to time they are a bold-faced liar.
HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that they care enough to reach out or that it's a good idea, even if they're tempted to do so. So, when someone actually does step out and send an email, get in the DMs, or leave a voicemail (your ex still has your phone number? Interesting), that's quite telling — although you do need to take into serious account what it all actually means.
For instance, back when my first book came out, a few of the characters (pun intended and not intended) hit me up. One was my first love. All he really did was send me an email to tell me that he read the book and that he was sorry for the role that he played in the pain of the relationship. And that he would always love me.
Now guess what part I focused on? You can check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour" to get the gist of that. As a result, for several more years, off and on, that continued to be all that my heart (the Bible says the heart is deceitful; always remember that — Jeremiah 17:9-10) honed in on. That man didn't say that he wanted to rekindle anything. He said that he wanted to apologize. Lawd, how much we can spare ourselves if we'd just learn to listen to what is being said instead of editing conversations into what we want to hear.
So, did he reach out first? Yep. Did he want anything? Not really. And from personal experience, that’s why “who reached out first and why” is something else that needs to be given some serious thought. After all, the two of you broke up for a reason…so, if they do reach back out, now more than ever, it’s important to take their words literally. If he only wants to see if you’re well, let him know that you are and leave it there. If he wants to apologize, accept this apology and tell him to take care. If he asks to see you — now that’s when trying to figure out if reconnecting, on any level, is actually a good idea.
Bottom line here don’t make something be what it’s not. Oh, and if you are the one who reaches out first…let me just say that I know a woman who got ghosted by an ex back in college, she decided to reach back out to him some 20 years later, and all they’ve been doing is dating for over ten years now (even though she wants to be married). I mean…he didn’t come looking for her; she went out looking for him — which kind of translates to me that he was fine whether they spoke again or not.
See what I mean? *Elmo shrug*
Is It Love? Or Nostalgia?Giphy
Please, please, PLEASE — if you don't get anything else from this article, get this: just like fleeting passion can be mistaken for lasting love, so can nostalgia; the definition of the word explains a lot of the reason why, too: "a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations."
You know, the mind is a funny thing. "Funny" in the sense that, if you lean into nostalgia, it typically will edit out all of the crappy stuff while encouraging you to focus solely on the good times. For instance, I know a woman right now who got back into something with an ex who was sending her all kinds of expensive shoes and random flowers for the first few months…just like before. Now? Now he's calling her when he's tipsy to vent about his ex-wife.
How did she get caught up in this pattern? Good ole' nostalgia, chile. Initially, reconnecting included discussing fun dates and good sex. Yet, nostalgia is kind of like a drug — it gets you really high, yet sooner or later, you're gonna crash…and that can have you feeling super low.
You know, there's not one ex who I don't have a myriad of good memories of. Yet when I bring logic, common sense, and facts into the dynamic, they all needed to be exes — and honestly should stay just that way. Just because I "love" certain things about them, that doesn't mean that I'm actually still in love with them…and why let the former cause me to overlook the latter?
Pleasant thoughts are fine. They aren't enough to go off of to rekindle a relationship, though. You are far too precious. So is your time. This brings me to the next point.
Time Is Precious: How Would Reconciling Make the Most of Yours?Giphy
It actually wasn't too long ago that I penned the piece, "Let's Finally 'Spring Clean' ALL Of Our Exes Out Of Our Lives, Shall We?" for the site. One of the things that I mentioned in it is there is something known as recycling (making something new without changing its original form), and then there's something known as upcycling (taking an original thing and changing it into something totally different; typically something better). That said, if you are thinking about getting back with an ex, I recommend that you determine if it's going to be an UPCYCLE for you. Otherwise, really…why do it?
Something that I oftentimes tell people in their 20s is it really is time out for acting like that decade is nothing more than being in the 2.0 version of your teens. In other words, if you don't make wise decisions, then, you can end up wasting a lot of time. And then you'll need even more time trying to heal and recover from it all.
Personally, that's one of the things that I mourn about a lot of the moves that I made back then; I had to spend a significant amount of my 30s healing so that, should I ever decide to marry a man, I will be the helpmate that he truly deserves. And that's another reason why I'm good on my exes — I don't have another decade to throw away.
And for those of you who may struggle with taking personal accountability and so you like to romanticize your poor choices by saying things like, "Nothing is a waste of time," — no offense, but that is a damn lie. Waste literally means "to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander," and yes — it is quite possible (and easier than most people think) to involve yourself in something (or with someone) without getting an adequate return…in return.
When one of my surrogate mothers passed away of cancer in her late 50s several years ago, one of the last things that she said to me on her hospice bed was, "It goes by sooner than you think," and I have always kept that in the forefront of my mind. As I get older, I find myself saying, "Where does the time go?" more and more.
An ex coming back into your life could potentially be an awesome thing. "Awesome" if the two of you aren't going to be a waste of each other's time. Again, use the definition of the word as a barometer. Be honest with yourself as you do.
This Time, Be Friends First (or Again)Giphy
I've been in the couples counseling game for a long time now. And if there's one thing that a lot of married and divorced people have told me, it's that they wish they had spent more time trying to cultivate a friendship with their spouse than a relationship — because when the foundation of something is unstable, the house will eventually crumble on some level.
And this brings us back to Nelly and Ashanti — they seemed to last for a good amount of time by keeping things private the first go around, so if they are indeed reconciling, I'm not sure why they would switch up the formula now. Either way, I hope that they and you will make friendship the top priority. Why? Because the best things come out of friendships. The healthiest relationships are included.
When it comes to you and your journey, please check out articles I've penned, like "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships," "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One," "10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend," "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?" and definitely "Self BFF: 7 Signs You're Your Own Best Friend." Because if you are thinking about getting back with an ex, the least that the two of you need to be towards each other is hella loyal, honest with each other, and respectful of each other's feelings, needs, and even a few wants. No relationship can thrive without those things intact and every healthy friendship consists of those "ingredients."
And you won't (fully) know if any of this is the case if you're quick to jump into bed or rush into a relationship without seeing how you are as friends…first.
You know, reconcile is a really interesting word. On the one hand, it can mean "to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired." On the other hand, it can mean things like "to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable" and "to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent." And with those definitions in mind, that's what you should focus on most of all.
- Is your ex willing to "win you over" by how they (now) treat you? Are you willing to do the same?
- Would being with them bring more or less harmony into your life?
- How compatible were you before, and how compatible do you seem to be now (sans the nostalgia)?
I will never say that getting back with an ex is a good or bad idea, full stop. I'll just say that if you're going back to your past, make sure it benefits your future. Otherwise, leave it right where it's at: nothing that your present needs beyond a scroll and a click…if that much, sis.
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