I don’t write about sex much on here, partly because my Mother-in-Law reads this blog (Hi Wendy!), and partly because I’m not sure that’s why you’re all here (and if it isn’t, then maybe skip back to the archives!).
But, if you’ve been around here for a while, then you’ll know that I’m all about busting taboos. There are so many things in life that we don’t talk about, and that makes dealing with them more difficult. Sharing is caring, and all that…
I’m a married mum of two, so, although sex isn’t as big a part of my life as it was before sleepless nights and being covered in porridge on a regular basis made an entrance, I’m just tired – not dead.
That said, we need to talk about expectations, and not the ones that we put on each other, but the ones that we put on ourselves.
The first time I invited Nick over, I deliberately scheduled my leg and bikini wax appointment for the following day so that there was no chance of anything happening. Turns out, sex can still happen (and be pretty awesome) even if your legs have more in common with an orangutan’s than Chrissy Teigen’s. Who’d have thought…
I spend far too much time in my head (as you may have noticed), and I’m prone to the belief that everything has to be perfect. And by perfect I mean, the dishwasher has to be empty, the washing has to be put away, the floor has to be hoovered, the meal has to be delicious, legs have to be shaved, hair has to be washed, children have to have been in bed and quiet for at least an hour…. The list goes on and on. Not only is this because remembering that I’ve not put the leftovers from dinner in Tupperware and into the fridge (and, more importantly, realizing that I’m going to have to do it before the school run in the morning) is enough to put me off spending quality time with my husband. It’s also because, at the moment, I don’t feel as if I’m my best self.
Nick met me after I’d been pregnant and given birth. He saw the C-section scar, the stretch marks, and the tattoo dedicated to my late husband (which could have been a little awkward). But, I’d worked pretty hard over the previous few years, and even I would admit that I looked pretty good considering all my body had been through. There was no reason to expect that I couldn’t do the same thing again. But a global pandemic, home schooling, lockdown and starting a new freelance business has meant that my usual 5-6 times a week workouts have dwindled significantly. And, as all those health experts keep telling us, regular sleep is so important for your metabolism… I am still around a stone heavier than I would like to be right now, and if I’m completely honest, it’s affecting my confidence.
As women I think we feel as if we have to put on some kind of show (no, not that kind of show, unless that’s your thing). It’s great that we’ve busted out of the shackles of prudish misogyny that imply once you’re past 30 and you’ve got kids then you shouldn’t be bothered about sex. The freedom to explore all aspects of your personality, and to enjoy jumping your husband as well as playing peekaboo with your baby (probably not at the same time), is welcome. But with this magazines have found yet another thing to sell us, to make us feel inadequate about. Yes, you can be a mum and have good sex. But to do this you have to make sure you’ve kept your grooming appointments, sweated through your 4 x weekly workouts, filled your underwear drawer with expensive knickers, met all of your child’s needs and tucked them into bed, changed the bed sheets and spritzed some light but alluring room spray around the bedroom, dressed yourself in relaxed but intriguing nightwear, and chosen a suitable playlist. Then you can have sex as your reward for ticking all the boxes.
No wonder we’re all so exhausted that, by the time we get upstairs, we’d much rather snuggle.
This idea that only when we’ve shed those last 5 pounds, only when we’ve managed to get an appointment at the salon to sort our roots out, only when we’ve attended to our more intimate grooming, only then will our husbands fancy us, is bollocks.
Sex can still be good when you haven’t shaved your legs.
Sex can still be good if you have spent lockdown falling slowly farther away from your exercise routine and so are carrying a few extra pounds.
Sex can still be good if you’ve generally not been feeling very sexy recently and have instead been feeling a little like a cleaner/taxi driver/personal chef to 2 ungrateful children and a very tired husband who’ll eat anything/PA to said family members.
And sometimes, it can be better, because then you’re more real, more yourself and not performing. And when you’re real, you’re more likely to make a connection, rather than just letting it be one more thing to tick off your to-do list.