Parenting

How parents can reignite their sex drives after a year of Covid restrictions


It’s important to still take time for each other (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Parents of younger children are among those who’ve had the hardest times during the pandemic.

With schools shutting, no babysitters to hire and at least one breadwinner still needing to work, having kids around 24/7 has likely been tiring to say the least.

So if you and your partner have found that sex has fallen by the wayside, you wouldn’t be the only ones.

That’s why Laura Vowels, principal researcher and sex therapist at Blueheart, has come up with some advice for parents looking to get their sex lives back on track.

Make sure you and your partner are checking in with each other

Even though you’ve got a lot going on with your kids right now, it’s still important to check in with your partner.

If anything, during this chaotic and stressful time, giving each other a chance to unload is essential.

Laura says: ‘In the midst of all the chaos, it can be really easy to switch to auto-pilot mode and focus on doing what needs to be done just to get through the day. I see this often when emotions are running high.

‘If people are feeling particularly stressed or anxious, or they’re simply caught up in their own emotions, they tend to forget about how important human connection can be and tend to bottle up feelings. Simply venting to someone about a problem or sharing how you feel can make you feel much better about the difficulties at hand.

‘It’s the same with relationships. If you’re having a bad time, open up to your partner and share the fact that you’re stressed or worried.

Being a parent is not an easy job (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

‘Most of the time people avoid doing this as they don’t want to feel like a burden, but if you’re becoming snappy or easily agitated (like most people probably are right now) it’s helpful for your partner to know what’s going on so that a) they can support you and b) they don’t get their feelings hurt thinking that your behaviour is a result of something they’ve done.

‘And do the same with your partner. At the end of the day, perhaps when you’re making dinner or have just put your children to bed, take a moment to talk to each other face-to-face and ask your partner how they’re doing too.

‘This is not about fixing each other’s problems; it’s about understanding how you both feel so you can support each other through tough times.’

Learn to find happy moments amid the chaos

Even though we’re not able to do many of the things that bring us joy right now, it’s important for us to still appreciate the little things that brighten our day.

‘At the moment,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s really easy to focus on everything negative that’s going on. We’re not able to do the things we love such as meet with friends and family, or go to our sports clubs, or just go out and enjoy new experiences.

‘All of this means life can sometimes end up looking a little grey. But instead of focusing on these negatives, try and look at the little moments of positivity and happiness throughout the day. Whether it’s your partner making you lunch, or saying something kind: acknowledge and appreciate it.

‘And in doing this, make sure you make time to have fun or say something positive to your partner in return. Express gratitude for the things they do and make an effort to compliment them. It may sound twee for couples who aren’t affectionate, but it’s very small gestures like these that go a very long way when our lives aren’t as full as they’d usually be.

‘These little moments are even more meaningful than extravagant displays of affection or grand gestures. Learning to focus on these small moments will not only bring you closer, but can lift your mood, too.’

Rethink what you know about pleasure

When you’re emotionally and physically exhausted, it’s easy to get in your head and feel like you should be having sex rather than you want to be having sex.

If you feel sex turning into a chore, Laura recommends rethinking what kind of sex you really want to be having.

‘If you find that sex has become a chore more than an escape,’ Laura explains, ‘then it’s time for you to rethink your pleasure – and communicate it with your partner. Previously, you may have had a favourite sex position or something specific that turned you on.

‘But over time our desires change and trying new things can help find what works for you. Exploring new things in your sex life also brings a level of excitement to sex and a chance to have fun with your partner.

‘Also, don’t underestimate the power of quick sex! The quality of the sex you have is not defined by the length, it’s about what feels best and right at the time.’ 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Look after your lifestyle on a basic level

Needing to look after your kids all day and night without being able to take a break and earning a living at the same time might be exhausting, but you need to make sure you’re taking care of your needs too.

Laura tells us: ‘One of the most basic but important pieces of advice to give is to make sure you’re looking after your lifestyle. This is really difficult to do when you don’t have much spare time, but small changes can make a huge difference.

‘Basic changes like getting good quality sleep each night (it’s not about a magic seven to eight hours but about getting enough good quality sleep, even if it’s just for four to five hours), eating healthily, drinking lots of water, and going out for some exercise – even if it’s just a walk – every day will really help.

‘It’s such simple advice, but lots of people forget to do this daily, and it can really make a difference to how you feel and your state of mind.

‘It might be tempting to stay up until 1am to watch your favourite Netflix show or to indulge in lots of takeaways when there isn’t much going on, but think about how these things make you feel: do you feel better or do you actually feel guilty after a binge-watch, binge-eat session?

‘When it comes to exercise, you don’t have to run a marathon. Going out for a short walk before or after work is better than not doing any exercise at all. It sounds simple, but you will feel much better in the long run if you look after yourself.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk


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