The 'Intimacy Challenge' that will save every parent's sex life.

It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it, that the thing you do to make a baby is the first thing to go when you have a baby.

From the moment you’re told to “wait six weeks” to being so ‘touch-fatigued’ you can’t even face a kiss from your partner, sex can be the furthest thing from your mind when you become a parent. 

But while one in two mums and dads says their sex life has “changed completely” since having a child, NORMAL — an Australian sexual wellness brand — wanted to get to the bottom of how we’re really feeling in the bedroom.

Watch: Embarrassing pregnancy sex stories. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia. 

Sadly, the stats aren’t great. Especially for women, as not only has our time between the sheets changed, but also our thoughts about it. 

How do parents really feel about sex?

According to NORMAL’s survey (which is still open to responses, FYI) – and in a surprise to no-one anywhere – people with vulvas are the worst off when it comes to sex after having a baby.

Among the results, the report found that they are more than 10 times more likely to say they ‘have little to no desire for sex as a parent’. That’s 38 per cent compared to just three per cent of people with penises. 

Vulva owners are also twice as likely to say they ‘no longer prioritise their own pleasure’ (31 per cent) compared to people with penises (15 per cent), and almost half of them ‘feel a tension between being a caregiver and a sensual person’ compared to 24 per cent of our penis-having friends.


Among those with vulvas — who are more likely to be the ones delivering hands-on care with breastfeeding, nappy changes and lots of cuddles — 60 per cent agreed that ‘at the end of the day, I am too touch-fatigued to prioritise sex’. This is four times the rate of people with penises (16 per cent).

“I see this a lot in my sessions where people with vulvas are spending a lot of time either breastfeeding or hugging or supporting their children, or their children are coming up to them and touching them and needing them,” NORMAL sex coach Georgia Grace told Mamamia.


“So at the end of the day, this kind of touch fatigue results in them not wanting to engage in anything else — not only not wanting to be touched by their partner but not wanting to self-pleasure either.”

And really, it makes a lot of sense. 

Listen to hosts of Sealed Section discuss how to reconnect with your partner. Post continues after podcast. 

“Our desire for sex can be really affected by stress and when we're stressed or we're in fight, flight or survival mode, all of our other functions like desire or even sexual functions and arousal, can kind of go out the window because our body is essentially trying to keep us alive and surviving,” Georgia explained.

“There is this huge amount of pressure to be a good parent, to be there for your children, to be committed to your children, and a lot of people find that they actually lose a little bit of themselves.

“They don't see it as a priority to focus on sex and pleasure because their priorities are going to other aspects of life with those aspects being their kids.”

So, how do we stop parenthood from killing our sex lives?

1. Focus on the now

“The first thing to do is to recognise that it’s normal for your sex life to change after becoming a mum or dad,” Georgia said. 

“Then instead of focusing on trying to get your sex life and relationship back to what it was before you had children, focus on what you can relearn about your own body and your partner's body.


“Everything's changed, a whole life has changed, so instead of striving for what it once was, look at what it could be now.” 

2. Set aside time.

“I think one of the more common concerns is people being really exhausted and not having enough time,” explained the sex coach. 

“And that is, of course, expected. So instead of adding more stress to it, what we actually want to do is think, ‘Okay, what is possible?’ If five minutes is possible, great – set a timer and just take five minutes together.”

3. Take sex off the cards.

“When redefining what sex is — and I know this sounds counterintuitive — we take penetrative sex off the cards, because so often it becomes really stressful and it has a huge amount of pressure around it,” Georgia said. 


“Like, we've got to orgasm, we've got to have penetrative sex, we've got to be naked, it has to be all of these things.

"So instead of putting pressure on our bodies to perform and to have sex in a specific way, we take sex off the cards and instead come back to moments of sexual intimacy.”

4. Try the 'Intimacy Challenge'.

“I have a challenge that I set for clients — especially if they're wanting more sexual intimacy in their life —  to engage in a moment of sexual intimacy each day over a period of time,” explained Georgia. 

“So they say, ‘Okay, we're not having penetrative sex for a month until our next session, but every single day we're going to do something that is sensual and intimate.’ That might be, as your partner leaves for the day, kissing with tongue or instead of having separate showers you jump in the shower together and wash each other's bodies. Or during an ad break on TV, you kiss each other's necks or give each other a sensual massage.

“It's not meant to be like a marathon or 30 minutes; it's like 30 seconds, and a great way to start bringing back more sensuality into the relationship that makes it feel accessible without that sense of pressure. It also removes the idea that if I kiss my partner on the neck or I tell them they look really sexy, that it’s going to have to lead to half an hour of penetrative sex. We're kind of just creating that safe space so everyone can explore.”

Image: Getty + Mamamia.

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