There are obviously loads of obstacles in the way of a full and rewarding sex life when you’re a parent, especially at the beginning.
All-encompassing fatigue. Being sore all over from a small person kicking the hell out of you. Self-consciousness about changed body parts. Abject horror at the thought of getting pregnant again. Fear of waking your child or of them waking up and thinking you’re killing each other. Weird, new confusion involving harmful archaic notions that separate parenthood from sexuality even though they are intrinsically linked. Being tired to the point of hallucinating.
So it comes as little surprise the hear that a survey by Channel Mum found three-quarters of parents are having less sex than they did before having children and that a quarter of sex-having parents claim they don’t even bother undressing for the deed.
And while a cheering 47% of dads think they have a better sex life than ever, just 29% of mums do, meaning at least a third of those men are wrong.
The survey also found that two minutes and 15 seconds was the average length of a parental sex session (“sex session” isn’t the most erotic phrase, is it?) with one in 12 couples admitting to having sex that lasted less than a minute.
Before we spiral into complex sociological theories here, could this be down to good old-fashioned going off one another due to exhausted mutual resentment?
One partner sits at home, unshowered and smelly, a child screaming into their face, occasionally accompanying their cries with a bit of vomit. “Oh, it’s fine for [insert partner’s name here],” that partner thinks. “They get to swan off every morning and spend the day at work with their friends, then come home and do the bare minimum and act like they’re the parent of the year. I hate them!”
Meanwhile, the other partner is weeping with FOMO in the toilets at work over all those important bonding moments, picturing a household of giggles and cuddles while they toil at the coalface, only to return home and do everything they can with what little time they have with Junior. When the baby finall falls asleep, both parents expect the other one to sort dinner out.
They eat cheese on toast and are livid.
All of which can lead, even if the couple involved do want to have sex, to a “let’s be as still and silent as possible and get it done as quick as we can so we can get some sleep” approach, which is not exactly ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ territory.
And that sex lasting less than a minute? We have further questions. Such as: when does said “sex session” begin and when does it end? Is the timer set when the decision is made to sexually interact with one another or are they counting from when Tab A is inserted into Slot B? Do both parties need to, uh, “arrive” to stop the clock?
If so, managing it in less than a minute might actually be amazingly impressive, and we should be lauding exhausted parents as Herculean sex champions.