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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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The 26-year-old model and socialite shared with PEOPLE at the Femme It Forward's 2nd Annual Give Her FlowHERS Gala that she believes the key to a lasting relationship is establishing a strong connection before entering into a romantic relationship.
During the event, the socialite spoke to the outlet about the importance of “friendship and trust” in her three-year relationship that started in the midst of the pandemic.
“We were really good friends before we started dating, and COVID gave us that free time in our life to really get to know each other,” Jordyn said. “Because a lot of people don't really get to know each other and they go into this relationship.”
She continues, “So, we've been through a lot together. We've seen each other at all different ways, times, phases, so I think we have a very strong foundation.”
Jordyn also notes that “quality time” has been a means to bond and keep their relationship thriving. Despite the NBA star’s demanding schedule, she expressed her desire to attend as many of KAT's games as possible, including his upcoming birthday game with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It's his birthday in a few days, so I'm going to go to that game,” she says.
Quality time isn’t the only love language that the couple speaks.“We love gift giving and... What is it? The love language? The love language is quality time. We love everything,” she says.
The couple was introduced by mutual friends many years ago, and in May 2020 decided to move forward from a close friendship to a romantic relationship. Jordyn and KAT went public with their relationship in September of that same year and have since become young Hollywood’s discreet “IT” couple.
“I'm excited. Every holiday, we like to really go large for each other,” she explained. “He does so much for me. I do what I can for him. I want to say it's a lot. So when it's time to show that appreciation, we like to go all out.”
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