One thing that usually helps when the baby wakes me up in the middle of the night and I can’t go back to sleep is spending some quality time (eh hem) with myself.
Sex works even better, but when it’s 2:00 a.m. I’m hesitant to wake James because I feel like at least one of us should get some uninterrupted sleep so we’re not both total wrecks in the morning.
Which brings me to the subject of sex in general. Which brings me to Kimberly Ford, a writer and a friend who is also an expert on sex. Ford’s book Hump: True Tales of Sex After Kids (St. Martin’s Press) offers a bawdy, hilarious, and often over-the-top look at her own sex life and the sex lives of other parents.
Here’s what Kimberly had to say:
JM: Is it really possible to have a satisfying sex life after kids?
KF: Yes! It’s very hard in the beginning. Like, VERY hard. But sex can be an efficient way to reconnect with your spouse, to release tension, and to do something adult for yourself.
JM: It seems like dads are often readier sooner to jump back into bed after a new baby is born though that wasn’t your experience. Any tips for new moms on how to get back in the saddle?
KF: Don’t be afraid to bargain … this is a serious piece of leverage you’re talking about. Tell your partner, in a nice way, that you would like to have sex with him right AFTER you’ve gotten a half-hour to yourself to soak in the tub or take a walk around the block or leaf through a holiday catalog or nap or whatever it is that recharges you.
JM: For a lot of us, the holidays tend to be stressful. What can we do to maintain a robust sex life during the craziness of gift-giving, house guests, travel, and New Year’s Eve celebrations?
KF: This is a tough one. With families often all under the same roof, it’s very difficult to connect with your partner in any way, let alone intimately. I myself am not opposed to a “quickie” to help feel reconnected to my spouse, but this may not appeal to all women. I can’t say that I’m comfortable plugging in my Magic Wand vibrator and having at it in my in-laws’ powder room!
JM: You write a lot about your own sex life in Hump and I’m wondering what your husband’s reaction to the book was? (I’d like to blog more about sex but James is a much more private person than I am and blogging about it in the cybersphere might create conflict between the sheets…)
KF: My husband is pretty immodest. Obviously! But it wasn’t entirely comfortable for him to read the book. Interestingly, he kept falling asleep with the galley pages on his lap, which is his way of being avoidant. In the end, though, he was very positive about the book and was totally sold on it when one of my closest friends said she thought he came across as a stud. Even though the book might seem to readers like a tell-all, there’s plenty about our sex lives that I chose to keep private. The important thing, too, is that the book celebrates monogamy and the idea of strengthening your marriage, all of which Bill can get behind.
JM: Any favorite sex toys, movies, or books (besides yours) to recommend to moms and dads?
I really love the Gottmans’ And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives. I didn’t read it until I was writing Hump, but I think it might help a lot of new parents navigate these waters. And if there’s one practical thing I would urge each new mom to consider, if she doesn’t already have one, it would be to buy a vibrator. They seem to be everywhere these days … at your local pharmacy, online at Good Vibes. They’re not terribly expensive—and they can be worth every penny—so experiment a little to make sex easier, more satisfying, more efficient, and more fun for both of you!
JM: The vibrator chapter in your book is one of my favorite chapters and this is all great advice. Anything else you want to add about sex after kids that I haven’t asked you?
KF: One last idea: Think of sex as the equivalent of going for a jog. It never sounds like a good idea. Then you get into it and it’s not so bad. Then when you’re close to being done it feels pretty good or even really really good. And when you’re finished, you’re always glad you did it! It’s good for your body and your mind and your marriage.
Author photo by Teresa Nora. Courtesy of Kimberly Ford.