Since having children, my husband and I have had a standing foreplay formula.
Sure, we sometimes shake it up a little, but basically, it goes something like this: we'll be lying neatly tucked up in bed, appropriately swathed in flannel with reading glasses aperch, and one will ask the other the following question, in a no-nonsense-type tone: "Sex?"
A page will turn thoughtfully, egging the proposer on to the passive wheedling of the sexual act. "You wouldn't have to move, I'll do all the work. You can even keep reading. Maybe just raise your book a bit higher."
"No, not right now," will come the reply.
And three minutes later...
"How about now?"
We can do this for hours, until someone gives in, throws down a book and starts kissing the other – often with the initial goal of just shutting the wheedler up. Embarrassingly free of courtship, but true.
- Also see: What really ruins love
'I'll take a quickie, please'
The pregnancy bibles will tell you to make the time. I say... paah. From where?
A much more useful tip in my book is to get good at the no-frills quickie. And that's just in dealing with the issue of tiredness and time. Then there is the body issue.
Before children, your sexuality was probably very tied up in your body image, and possibly – if you are a lucky person – in the pliant, supple sleekness of your actual body.
There are, of course, people who grow cute, sticky-out tummies that snap right back into pliancy after birth. But let's face it: they are fairly few and far between.
The rest of us find ourselves naked with our lovers, contemplating residual squidgy bits together, womanfully trying not to apologise. There is all this extra flesh that seems set on sticking around, even now that baby is out. And let's not forget those alien breasts.
Then there is the memory of the awkward, literally ”rollicking” fun of the positions you tried when you were very pregnant and, well, the goo and pain of actual birth to contend with.
Now, I am not saying all of this can't be immensely fun (uh, all except the goo and pain, obviously).
- Also see: Sex and the new parent
Back to the basics
But if you were someone whose sex life was built on mystery and secret womanly wiles – if, for example, you've led him to believe that neat little strip is all the pubic hair you've ever had, or that your legs are as naturally smooth as your hair is naturally streaked – you may want to reconsider this approach round about now.
Because, dear pregnant ones, babymaking takes any sexual relationship back to basics. It takes out the holds, the bars and the whatever else.
Now that you have things to let hang out, you are going to have to do so. It will make you cringe and it will make you honest. You are going to have to put the laugh back into lovemaking and the quick back into cuddle.
All this because, quite frankly, you're going to be tired, cranky and smelling of milk – and you will really, really need to get laid. Trust me on this.
- Also see: How to child-proof your marriage
Making little people
How did we get to this point? I think it is because our sex life has survived the making of little people. Anyone who has achieved this will be able to vouch for the fact that it is just this sort of naked, no-nonsense honesty, persistence and bloody-mindedness that keeps the spark alive.
Believe me. There isn't enough discussion on this point. All pregnancy and baby magazines, every single one, run articles on getting your pre-baby sex life back. Almost none of them mention that you aren't going to get your pre-baby sex life back.
Which, to me, seems like a major omission. The truth of the matter is, once you have had children, you're not going to have the time or the energy for complicated wooing rituals or long, massage-oil-soaked sexy chats or post-boozy-date bonking.
OK, you might. But those moments will be few and far between and not enough to hinge a whole sex life on, in my experience.
What happened to your sex life after your baby was born? Tell us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox.