By Arijana Palme, BSW, RSW
Registered Social Worker
Earlier this month, we wrote a blog about the ‘Accelerators’ and ‘Brakes’ that can affect how and when our sexual response systems become activated or inhibited.
The major takeaway; we are all unique in our sexual needs and it’s figuring out our own particular turn ons and turn offs that can pave the way for a fulfilling sex life.
More accelerators and fewer brakes, and maybe things start to jive just a little better, sparks fly a little higher, and ooey-gooey feels linger a little longer. Yum.
But then, you have kids.
Tiny little humans that are often a direct result of this sexual act (not in all cases, think same sex partners, surrogacy, adoption, blended families, etc). Nevertheless, they have a way of upending our lives in beautiful and frustrating ways, and one major disruption is in how much harder sex seems to become.
The Happy as a Mother team specializes in maternal mental healthcare and creates some lovely infographics for their social media sites. They focus on addressing the ‘Invisible load of motherhood’. These are aspects of parenting that create high mental, physical, emotional and spiritual loads for primary caregivers (often mothers, though not always) which society often overlooks or undervalues.
Exhaustion, body changes, pregnancy fears, interruptions from baby, and feeling touched out could all serve to activate the inhibitory sexual response system that just says “No way, I can’t get there right now.”
This is especially true when babies are very small or are high-needs and they require so much from their primary caregivers.
So while it may seem pretty gloomy to think about all of the ways kids and babies make sex harder, the flipside is that your turn ons (or accelerators) still exist. Maybe now, it simply takes more conscious effort to stack up your accelerators or eliminate the brakes that you can control (like lighting, temperature, location, etc). Finding the right balance between your excitatory and inhibitory stimuli is the key here.
Because so much changes when kids or babies enter the picture, it makes sense that the needs of our sexual response systems would change too. And sometimes, simply knowing that this can be a normal phase of your sexual experience can be enough to ease the stress, the feeling of failure, or the guilt of being unable to meet a partner’s sexual needs (at this moment).