Want to know what really kills the romance in a relationship?
Kids and sleep deprivation, that’s what.
And while that is not news to any parents out there, what may be of interest is a cool new way of building it back into your busy family life.
Read more on relationships:
- Why we must support parents trying their best
- Study says mums’ friendships have lifelong benefits for kids
- What becoming a parent really does to your relationship
What exactly is a sex challenge?
Now if that conjures up images of pooling car keys on the table ’70s swingers party style, then bring it right back. Laura’s challenge doesn’t advocate sex outside of your relationship (um, unless that’s your thing of course. In which case, carry on.)
It’s basically designed to help you calendar in the sexy times in small little ways throughout the month.
It’s also designed to work incrementally. So, baby steps. That is, you do something little every day to build back that emotional closeness and intimacy. Rather than using it all up in one date night kind of thing.
For example, the first seven days of the challenge is:
- Writing each other a sexy note.
- Sending a sext message.
- Bringing home favourite bottle of wine.
- Offering a candlelit foot massage when the kids go to sleep.
- Sharing a shower.
- Buying partner a box of beautifully wrapped chocolates.
- Taking a walk together for half an hour.
The question is, does it work?
Author, columnist and mum of three, Kerri Sackville says absolutely “yes”. Now a single mum, Kerri says that planned sex or romance has a LOT going for it. It just might not sound like it at first.
“When I was married I thought the idea of planned sex was a little … unsexy. But when you’re a single parent and dating, all sex is planned. It has to be! You have to make a date, a plan to see the person at a time when the kids are taken care of, in a child-free location. And it’s pretty sexy! So if it works for singles, it can totally work for couples,” she says.
Kirsty Levine, psychologist and co-founder of The Parents Village (and married mum of two), who deals with couples in new parenthood ALL the time, also says this is a great idea.
Although you may not need the whole ‘challenge thing’. Unless it speaks to you.
Kirsty says a big part of feeling intimate with your partner is also having enough time to give back to yourself, first.
“Sometimes the first challenge is all about breaking the ice so that you can eventually break the drought. One of the simplest ways to do this is through laughter, silliness and play. Whether it’s watching your favourite rom-com, experimenting with a new recipe in the kitchen, or playing a silly game – anything that lightens the mood and brings you together without feeling too contrived, can help to bring your guard down and feel more comfortable,” says Kirsty.
“For those that prefer to take baby steps, rather than launching straight from the sofa to the sack, start by communicating with your partner so that you are on the same page. Share your needs, your hang-ups and your desires equally. Make it your mission to reassure your partner and to build their confidence by expressing your love and desire for them, no matter their perceived flaws or battle scars. Then perhaps start with some subtle forms of touch that first ignited the sparks when you were dating way-back-when. A gentle stroke of an arm, a squeeze of a thigh, playing footsies under the table or a gentle shoulder rub – these are subtle moves that can help to rebuild a sense of intimacy and connection.”
That old adage, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is never truer than when it comes to managing your own relationship when you’re a parent.