So Davina McCall faced castigation from the Loose Women brigade this week over comments on keeping her hubby Matthew happy, citing great underwear and lots of oomph in the bedroom despite being knackered. "To keep your man happy, stay intimate" she stated, relaying advice her own mother gave her. And then Twitter lost their shit.
I understand the furore; women don't like to feel like they have to rock around a cock night in, night out for fear of their husband leaving them for someone with slightly perkier boobs. But other than that, I kind of felt Twitter were just going nuts over something that makes sense. This isn't battle against the sexes, it's more about not becoming complacent.
Since having Milo, I won't lie, sex has taken on a different identity. It used to be spontaneous, impulsive, long. Now it's often scheduled, discussed and short (totally not a reflection on you there Greg, before you bollock me for letting everyone know you have to be a Speedy Simon). Basically, sex is still sex, only there's pressure looming in the air from an often crying, often wondering where the bloody hell you are, baby.
If you're a parent who, like us, has been gifted with a mini human maddened by any moment of the day where they're not experiencing human contact, sex is logistically very, very difficult. You either have to team your burning loins with the moment nap time strikes and run to another room or spend copulation desperately trying not to look them in the eye. I won't go too far in to it (as I obviously don't want the world knowing our business and/or the Daily Star running another hideous headline) but thanks to needy Milo, we've had our fair share of mid-fun "OK I really wish he'd stop staring it's like he knows" conversations and an orgasm, they do not maketh.
If you do manage to get down to it when your child's in another room, then before ripping each other's clothes off, one of you will probably want to plug in the baby monitor. In our relationship, this is ordinarily me. I'm the party pooper. And by the time I've made sure the camera's at the correct angle, Milo's not in any immediate danger from fire/dragons/arrows, the sensor mat's in place etc etc etc, the mood is a lot less erotic than it was ten minutes before. And then I feel bad.
Another whole other issue is erm, why would you bother having sex when there's 46,857,328,953,627 other things you need to get done? I mean yes, I could bounce off my boyfriend or I could make sure dinner's prepared. Yes I could reverse cowgirl my eyebrows off or HELLO GUYS I'VE GOT TONNES OF WASHING TO GET THROUGH IT'S COVERING MY LANDING.
And this is the thing with coital games nowadays; the planning aspect really kicks sex in the cock but there nearly always has to be organisation of some sort otherwise it just aint a-happenin'. After a day of having a limpet stuck to me; grabbing at my hair, my face, wiping dribble on me, gnawing on my shoulder, fish-hooking me, pulling my hair, feeding from me; the last thing I want is ANY MORE TOUCHING PLEASE. And it's hard having to explain this to your partner, it really is. I often feel dreadful that I practically run from the arms of my boyfriend so I can just be by myself but sometimes that's all I want. Or if it's not that issue, it's the fact I want to have a shower before I feel in any way sexy. Or I want to change out of my shapeless nursing bra and in to something which makes my boobs more like melons and less like bean bags, but obviously you don't want to have to say that out loud. You want to look like you've got your shit together.
For lots of mums (me included) just the mere thought of having anything back up the place that not so long ago, was shoving a very large object out, is terrifying. After 12 weeks of recovery I was beyond nervous sex wasn't to be the most comfortable process and although I was looking forward to the intimacy and getting back to our old selves, I was also very much remembering Greg's member isn't the size of a cotton bud and would therefore be a tad wincey. In fairness, once the time came it wasn't horrendous, and I think if you just relax and go with it (that means use lube), then it's nowhere near as bad as you worry it might be. For lots of people there's also body issues to take in to consideration; what about my stretch marks? What about my mum-tum? What about the fact my baby hasn't allowed me enough time to shave my legs? The list is endless.
But with all this said and done, and this is the crux of this point; you do have to make the effort and you do have to make each other feel desired and wanted. And this does include us women. It sounds as though Davina to an extent was misquoted; she probably just knows after years of motherhood and work alongside that; to keep your husband happy does involve planning and fancy underwear and some effort. But why should that be an issue? If Greg got to 50 and decided he was a-ok to wear bummy pants and initiate sex the grand total of zero times, then maybe I'd prance off to the nearest cougar bar and shake my tail feather. Well, I wouldn't... but I'm a big believer in not becoming complacent and not taking each other for granted and this my friends, is the point. Yes, my overwhelming urge to bump uglies with my boyfriend has taken a slide while I get in to the groove of motherhood and to an extent, Greg's urge probably has too. We're both permanently shattered or busy. But do I think it's incredibly important to sack off wiping the high chair or tidying away the toys to make way for trying? Yes. Yes I do. Certain things in life can wait; washing can wait, hoovering can wait and other mundane day to day life stuff can wait, but a relationship can't. Because if you leave it then it's harder to get back to it. So with fear of sounding preachy (and I'm honestly not ladies, I know how daunting it can be to feel like you're sucking at motherhood AND girlfriend-hood) let's just try to cut ourselves some slack and schedule (there's that word again) in some time for fun. Who knows, you might actually be really glad you did.
Ideas to help get you in the mood:
- Even if you think your body is quite literally the ugliest thing on earth; buy some underwear which makes you feel better about yourself. Have a hunt, there'll be something out there. Whether it boosts your buns or perks your chest up, sucks your waist in or just adds a bit of flavour to your boring underwear drawer; do it. If YOU feel sexy, that's how your partner will see you.
- Light some candles. I'm a big fan of good lighting.
- Pop some music on. Maybe something that reminds you of the early days of your relationship. Maybe not if that song is sung by The Cheeky Girls, Aqua, Scooter.
- SHOWER. Feel fresh and clean. Y'know for like, once that week.
- Fresh bedding. No-one wants to roll around in a bed that smells of boob milk, squirty poo and rusk crumbs.
- Go out for the evening and get to know each other again. Ban phones and have real life conversations. Remember why you fancy each other.
- Send each other rude photos. For goodness sake don't edit them on Instagram first.
- Lube. No-one likes friction and BOY is friction a nervous post-birth mum's best friend.
- Maybe watch some... interesting... films....
- Lovehoney. I'll just leave that website there for you. WINK.
- (Seriously though, even if you don't find anything you actually find sexy, it might get you in the mood to browse together and have a laugh about it)