July 17, 2014

The Truth About Sex After Kids

People like to joke that once you have kids, you stop having sex.

Obviously this isn't true, or there would be no such thing as younger siblings or vasectomy parties. (Yes, I contemplated throwing my husband a party to commemorate his vasectomy. I am certain this is actually a thing people do, and I'm not just a lunatic. There are menses parties, for god's sake!) I sometimes think this is a myth created by people who just don't want to imagine that their parents actually had sex for pleasure on a regular basis.

Movies like "Date Night" perpetuate this myth, with such hilarious scenes as the mouthguard incident, or the look of shock on Tina Fey's face when her friend says she's getting divorced in part because she and her husband were only having sex two or three times a week. And yeah, I laughed my ass off, because I'd recently had twins and my husband and I were living in shifts in order to take care of two sets of dirty diapers and whatnot 24 hours a day, and yeah, we weren't having sex every night. But judging all of parenthood by the first six weeks is like judging all baseball teams by the Cubs, or judging all of "Up" by the first ten minutes.

So I'm going to set the record straight.

Sex is a minefield at first. First off, there's the awkwardness factor of attempting to move in concert with another person in such a way that both of you can avoid making strange and humiliating noises (and not just with your mouths) and trying to look sexy while you do it. Then there's the goodie-bag of body issues most of us go into sexual relationships with, making things just that much harder by necessitating a completely dark or poorly lit sex environment. On top of that, there's shame based indoctrination, that tells men they're never big enough and they don't "last long enough," and tells women they should be capable of half a dozen orgasms pretty much all on their own with no help, or that they're not really supposed to like sex to begin with, depending on their cultural backgrounds.

Basically, until you get comfortable with your partner, sex is kind of... awful.

That's not to say it doesn't still feel great. Because let's be honest, most of the time it does. But parts of it are embarrassing and confusing and involve lots of talks about what it all means, and whether you're having enough of it, and you avoid the conversations that might actually make it better.

After kids? Forget all of that. Sex is completely different. Why?

Because you have completely lost all sense of shame or embarrassment towards your body and what it does. The fears you used to have about whether or not he'll stop liking you if he notices your fat stomach are replaced by the knowledge that this person has watched you screaming in pain while you carried multiple human beings around inside of you, with random parts swelling up and growing hair no human should grow and with that wild hormonal glint in your eyes that threatens actual physical violence, and you know what? They still love you!

So fuck it!

Once the realization that your partner loves your body and what it does, regardless of what you think of it, really hits?

The sex is incomparably better. You can simply ask for what you like. You can explore your fetishes and kinks and preferences, even the ones that previously embarrassed you, because nothing embarrasses you anymore. Not when you've both sat staring at each other at the crack of dawn, covered in the same infant's vomit and feces. Not when you've had more conversations than you care to count about the kids' diarrhea and whether or not the shits you're both experiencing indicate a virus, something psychosomatic, or yet another side effect of prolonged fatigue. Not when you've been responsible for popping each others' back pimples, harping on each other to get to the gym, and sitting on the couch after the children are FINALLY asleep, each eating your own entire pint of Ben and Jerry's. Once you hit that point, the sex is epic.

And that makes people feel icky. To know that their birth heralded in a new and exciting era in boning for their parents is beyond uncomfortable.

So stop making it about them already, and make it about you.

All that said, there are still some deep truths when it comes to the levels of exhaustion a couple with children experiences come the end of the day. There is nothing quite like going to bed utterly exhausted and already covered in four people's fluids to make you NOT want to be covered in another variety.

There are levels of bone weary tired that only appear when a kid woke you up at three in the morning the night before because they had a hangnail, and then another woke you up at dawn because you promised they could have scrambled eggs for breakfast. SCRAMBLED EGGS. It's not like you need an extra hour to prepare them, for God's sake! Followed by a whole day of wrangling into carseats, evacuating from car seats, pushing around loaded strollers while doling out snacks and keeping tabs on space cadet kids who forget to follow you in the middle of a park because they thought they heard a dog somewhere.

That kind of exhaustion comes only with having children or providing instructions to astronauts in a busted space ship for what to do to keep their air breathable until they can make their descent back through Earth's atmosphere.

So when it comes to post child sex, there are really two varieties, and for your reading pleasure I will sum them up to you with the following entirely theoretical definitely not real certainly not from me and M conversations:

"Hey, remember that thing you did the other night that made me see God while I was orgasming? Can you do that again, only this time can I be blindfolded and can you use some ice?"
"Sure! Only you have to promise that tomorrow you'll do that other thing. Twice. And I want you to wear that thing we got on Valentine's Day while you do it the second time."
"Do we have to wait until tomorrow? Can we do it now?"
"Yes please!"

"I'm so horny. But I'm soooooooo tiiiiiiiired."
"If you decide you're more horny than tired, I can rally."
"You can rally? Okay... these pajama pants have a hole in the crotch. How about I just lie here and you make this happen through the hole in my pants, and we call it a night?"
"I'm not doing that."
"Probably for the best. That would make the laundry extra gross."

So the truth is that it's inconsistent. Like almost everything in life. But it's not the sad, exhausted, infrequent joke it's made out to be.

Which is why vasectomy parties should totally be a thing.

Go get your freak on, people with kids. You have more than earned it.

July 13, 2014

Sunday Blogaround - 7.13.14

I've been meaning to revive the Blogaround for a while now, but this week I'd like to do something a little different.

This is a list of of the Listen To Your Mother videos of women I've known forever online, or who I've read since before we had any idea what we're doing, or whose careers I've followed forever.

In short, these writers and my icons, my role models, and my friends.


Of course, the place to start is with the Listen To Your Mother Chicago show. The whole thing. The WHOLE thing.  They're all spectacular.

This is Jessica of Four Plus An Angel, which is one of the first blogs I started following as a mother of multiples. She's just reached her kickstarter goal for her new children's book, Soon. You can still donate and get yourself a copy for another three days.

Last year, when my letter, "Dear Less Than Perfect Mom," went sort of viral... I got this weird note from a stranger saying that somebody had stolen it, and she was going to take care of it for me. Julie ushered me into the world of blogging in a way I'd never seen it before- as truly a community not of back-stabbing content thieves, but of writers supporting each other and looking out for each other. I've been thrilled to watch Julie's NFP, Sober Mommies, grow, and when this piece first appeared on her blog, Next Life NO Kids, I loved it and cried and loved it some more. Putting a voice to all her words has been remarkable.

This is Kristi of Finding Ninee. I've been reading her blog for ages, thinking that THIS is where the quality writing of the blogosphere was. When I met her at BlogU, I made an ass of myself by mispronouncing its name (It's NINE-ee, not nee-nee). Her calm and humor always impress me. Both online, and in person. And now, on film as well.

This is Ashley of Clothesline Confessional, who I met and fell in love with at BlogHer last year. In the past year she went from starting a personal blog to reading aloud her letter to the mother of mass shooters on the news, and now to the stage. I am so proud of her, and so happy to hear her voice again.

This is Kerry, one of the geniuses of In The Powder Room. I've been laughing my ass off at her expense for years, and having a voice to put to all the hilarious stories she's shared in the past brings them all to life all over again.

Another friend from BlogHer 13 is Cheryl, who runs Busy Since Birth. I can't tell you how grateful I am that I got half lost looking for the bus, because it led me to spending an afternoon in her inimitable company. I was thrilled when she became a LTYM producer, but I had no idea how utterly spectacular her piece would be.

I also met Erin and Ellen of The Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms at BlogHer last year as well, but I'd been following them online for a while. Sometimes, when you watch people interact as a duo on the internet, you feel like it's got to be some sort of act. But it's not. The love of these two women for each other is completely heartwarming.

This is Janel, of 649.133, which I've featured on the Blogaround more times than I can count. I love this woman. She's amazing.

This is Rebekah. Once upon a time, I was an AmeriCorps VISTA, and she was the VISTA before me who trained me in. She taught me the ropes of managing the recycling truck, and talked about her undying love for the Dave Matthews Band. When she drove down to Chicago to see our show, she joked that she would run into people from her AmeriCorps days. And as it turned out, she was right. It was wonderful seeing her again, and it's wonderful to feel like she's back in my life.

Another writer I followed vaguely on Momaical before meeting her at BlogHer, and religiously after, Tracy is utterly hilarious. And insightful. And she's just plain great.

This is Carissa, who I also met at BlogHer. I know, there's a theme here. She's one of the sweetest, most considerate people I've ever met. When I saw he again at BlogU, she hugged me and asked all about my family. As though we'd spent all of high school together rather than a weekend a year ago. She's charming and wonderful, and you should listen to her, and read everything she's ever written.

Amanda, of Questionable Choices in Parenting, is in a group of bloggers I call my tribe, and she's hilarious and warm, always. Watching her read this story was amazing, because it might have been the first time I'd seen a writer I knew speak, and thought, "Yup. That is EXACTLY what she sounds like in my head."

Kelley's Break Room was one of my first favorite places to connect with other bloggers. She hosted a humor linkup, and I linked up. She's always so funny, and I was thrilled when I got to meet her, briefly, at both BlogHer and BlogU. I love getting a chance to hear her voice again.

Zakary was one of the speakers at the Voices Of The Year last year. She read a piece about nearly killing herself with poisonous plants, and immediately became my anti-Pinterest hero. I love getting a chance to listen to her read again.

I met Jessica of Welcome to the Bundle at the BlogU open mic a month ago, where she read this piece. And it was hilarious. It's still hilarious, and I still love watching her read it.

This is Debi, who I've never met. Who's writing I'd never read, until now. She reached out to one of my cast members, Meggan, and shared each others' stories. It is a remarkable thing to see a friendship grow between these two women, one finally actualizing as her true gender as an adult, one supporting her young child in the same struggle. There need to be more of these stories out there, showing that gender and identity aren't the black and white issues some claim they are.

Ann of course, Ann Imig. The woman behind all of Listen To Your Mother.


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