Parents Have HOT SEX Too

July 13, 2011

Mom, you might want to give this one a skip…

Erica Jong does not speak for us. She doesn’t speak for many of the families I know, and those parents that she does speak of may want to distance themselves from her vitriolic rhetoric. That said, this post is not a critique (per se) of her “Is Sex Passé” article. What I hope it will be is a wake-up call to our generation. Erica Jong was reflecting a secretly but widely held belief that many of my peers either struggle against, or become oppressed by; that sex after marriage, and more specifically sex after kids, is bound to be less steamy, less intense, less fulfilling, and less adventurous.

I, fortunately, am the antithesis of what Erica is depicting in her article. For me sex after children has been more… of everything good. But even I am dogged by the persistant awareness that that is not normal; that we are lucky. In the last week—and thanks to Erica’s article—I have been seeing that amazing, passionate, wild, earth-shattering, post-child sex is not only normal but apparently common. Many of my peers have come out publicly against Erica’s sentiments, sharing intimate glances into their own experiences. What this has shown me is that while I may well be fortunate to be in a monogamous, post-child, firey-hot relationship, I am not lucky. Luck, as with most things, doesn’t have anything to do with this. What makes my sex life awesome is what seems to be working for many of my friends and peers; deep knowledge of our partners; trust and openness (which are a breeding ground for experimentation); and love. Yup I said it, love.

That’s enough about me specifically. I constantly walk the thin line between discretion and TMI… who am I kidding, I dive headlong into TMI and backstroke home. Let’s talk about you. Chances are you are a parent if you are reading this. Chances are you have unintentionally consumed  the stereotype that we breeders aren’t supposed to have, or don’t deserve hot sex anymore. You may actually have great sex on a very regular (but unscheduled) basis, but you still think boring Wednesday sex with the lights off is what most couples get (cuz “there’s nothing good on TV“). I say this because I’m an introspective, self aware kinda guy, and that’s what I subconsciously believed until I read, and got all pissed off about, Erica’s article.

So if I’ve got your attention, here’s what I propose. Let’s blow the barn doors off this myth. Let’s take back sexuality for the monogomous, or post-child, or whatever “group” you belong to that’s been blanketed by this oppressive stereotype. We can do this by talking about sex. Talk about it in your blog, talk about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and most importantly talk, in person, to your friends about it. You don’t have to talk about your sex if that violates a confidence or your sense of propriety, but talk about it! Let your married, with children, monogomous, friends know that you believe that everyone deserves to have fulfilling, life enhancing, regular (but not scheduled, unless you’re into that) sex.

How do you broach this topic with your friends? How has sex after kids, or after marriage, or after commitment changed for you? Does sneaking around (your kids) make you feel like a teen again? Please share, even if anonymously.

Other articles on this topic:

Annie’s (of the Bad Mom’s Club) rebuttal

Blame co-sleeping for a Lame Love Life

Dear Erica Jong

Charity’s Response

Violet Blue’s rebuttal (yeah we read tinynibbles) NSFW

(I’ll post more as I find them)


  1. Comment by Abigail

    Abigail July 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Admit it, you chose that title to get more blog hits. 😉

    I’m going to keep my TMI to myself but I’m sad that Erica Jong was so negative about being a family where babies nurse and kids still sleep between their parents sometimes. I used to like her.

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford July 14, 2011 at 12:01 am

      I’ll admit that if I don’t get lots of hits on this I’m going to consider giving up blogging, but I wrote this because I think it’s important that this belief (that sex between married with children couples is destined to decline) dies before I do. The title though, that was intentionally sensational.

  2. Comment by Carmen

    Carmen July 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

    This is an interesting topic.

    I’m not actually sure what Erica was trying to say in her article, beyond the fact that perhaps sex isn’t the big deal it once was. I also thought the article was poorly written and disappointing due to this lack of clarity. However, the comments to her article were fascinating. I felt sorry for a few commenters, particularly the man in his loveless marriage with his successful, high flying wife and those starting out on their career that are too tired for relationships. That is heartbreaking.

    I’m left wondering if I do think ‘sex is passe’, but not in the way that Erica meant it (ie it’s not happening) but that it is quite simply EVERYWHERE these days, there is no escaping it and it has almost lost some of its allure. It’s so normal and everyone is doing it, from an increasingly young age. You only have to look at any media, magazine, group of teenagers etc to know that sex actually rules the world.

    Having just shared that thought, I’m sitting on the fence with your argument. You will be pleased to hear that I wholeheartedly agree with you that sex after children can be great and that is my personal experience. I feel more intimate with my husband than in the early days of our relationship, orgasms are fantastic and we have what I consider a healthy and good sex life. However, I have also experienced a ‘decline in sex’, a myth that you are keen to disperse. Quite simply, we do not have the time to have as much sex as we used to pre-marriage and children, when we could stay in bed until lunchtime on Sundays doing just that.

    The most important thing has got to be that two people in a relationship are happy with the way things are. And that ideally they experience the closeness and endorphins that sex provides.

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford July 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Carmen, thank you so much for commenting, and for your candor. What you say resonates with me in a lot of ways. I do want to clarify that the decline I’m rejecting is decline in quality not quantity. I’m willing to accept, for now, that my daily responsibilities don’t leave time for me to follow all of my pre-child fancies, but that was kind of implicit in the decision to have kids. What I wont accept is that we parents should roll over and conceed that our sex lives are /expected/ begin their slow death upon the birth of our first child.

  3. Comment by Michael Robertson

    Michael Robertson July 14, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Perhaps just commenting on your unabashedly sensational, but very well-written piece will be enough to draw at least a small percentage of the large number of readers you will attract. Side note: I have been a fan of Erica Jong since the eighties when she wrote about Henry Miller, based on her relationship with him late in his life. The excellent book is called The Devil At Large. Surprisingly, while in the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur a couple weeks back, I learned that the curator knew nothing of this book and was eager to get a hold of it. This from a place that purports to be the authority on Miller. I highly recommend Jong’s book, despite her contentious article.
    s/v Del Viento

  4. Comment by Eric

    Eric July 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Aaaaaaa-men brother! A-men. Sadly, I do think we’re in the minority. Even before we ever talked about this dimension of our lives, a small cluster of us with positive post-child partnered sexual experiences flocked together. So your poll of those you know may be a biased sample.

    I think that you’ve identified what happens when sexuality shifts from recreation and/or procreation to generation. That is, it generates a deep and satisfied confidence which nourishes more than just the couple at hand. It can be an antidote to or prophylaxis against middle-aged bitterness. . . .and the oxytocin doesn’t hurt either.

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford July 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

      Eric, interestingly I actually changed friends to peers in draft. A lot of my sense of normalcy came from people that I don’t know, but who were bold enough to share publicly their rejection of this notion. In a quick mental survey of my friends, I realized I really don’t know whether most of them have fulfilling sex lives. How could this be?
      In large part this was my motivation for writing this piece. I’m the kind of person who would actually bring this topic up, and I haven’t, with so many good friends.

      What I’m not trying to say here is that it is unacceptable for parents to have unfulfilling sex, or even that, on average parents /do/ have fulfilling sex lives. What I am arguing for is that we reject the notion that the death of healthy intimacy naturally flows from child rearing(or monogamy).

      Awesome insight regarding “generation.” that will be some good food for thought!

  5. Comment by Randy Price via Facebook

    Randy Price via Facebook July 14, 2011 at 10:33 am


  6. Comment by Ben

    Ben July 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    So I understand what she’s talking about, but I agree, it dosen’t have to be that way. We may be busy with life and kids more now than before, but we’re older, we know our partners better over time, and so, the sex really should imporve over time as well. There is no reason that while we’re still able bodied it shouldn’t keep improving. That is the myth that we need to break. Sure, we’re busy, but we can still get busy…

    I ain’t that old yet :-p

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford July 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      ” Sure, we’re busy, but we can still get busy…”

      Nail. Head.

  7. Comment by Torre

    Torre July 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I came here after reading your Facebook comment, I swam straight for your sparkly lure. 🙂

    I don’t have kids, but I’m well aware that negative talk about sex after kids, or negatively ANYTHING post-kids is the accepted standard. Talking positively about kids, sex, or even just how much you love being a parent is rare. Believe me, I know – my ears are open, listening to the remarks of parents as I try to access whether or not it’s something I want to do. All the noise out there is negative, which leaves me wondering: why? Why would I do this? Ranting about sex, marriage and parenthood seems to be popular, while discussing happiness seems taboo, maybe even smug.

    So thanks for sharing this, Tucker.

    • Comment by Tucker Bradford

      Tucker Bradford July 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Seriously great point there. In fact it’s probably more critical to reenforce a healthy expectation about such things in pre-parents. It would have been incredible for me to have someone saying “Ya know, on the sex front, there will be ups and there will be downs, just like for everyone, but on the whole, this will bring you closer together.”

      That said, there a a whole lot of other positive messages that we fathers need to give and receive. So much of what is messed up about paternal relationships comes from too many generations of diminishing the father’s relationship with his children. Vick and I were talking about how some of these attitudes may cause men to look at their wives bodies differently after childbirth. I’m pretty sure there will be a blog post about this as soon as I can get some data/opinions together.

  8. Comment by cindy

    cindy July 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Ok, I made it over to read. But only after doing the deed on the floor of the salon while the kids slept. TMI? Seriously as avid family bed people when others sneer that we must not have a sex life because we sleep with our kids… I like to sneer back that if they only have sex in the bed at night time then they are the ones who don’t have a sex life.

  9. Comment by Tucker Bradford

    Tucker Bradford July 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Oh Cindy! Way to knock it out of the park!!! I will be smiling all night! Word.

  10. Pingback: Oh, Baby! Yet Another Young(ish) Mother Responds to Erica Jong « Imperfect Happiness

  11. Comment by Cidnie

    Cidnie July 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

    The idea that children are the reason for a declining sex life is ridiculous. Any long term couple is going to go through times of sexual feast and famine at various points in time whther they have kids or not. Life happens, people get tired, then they get rested, hormones fluctuate, partners get perturbed at one another, then fall madly in love again. No long term relationship is static, its ever changing if it is healthy and that means there are sexual ups and downs.

    We have kids and the only time those children had a direct repsonsibility for the lack of hot sex in our household was only for a brief time after their births. Once Mom was felling a bit more herself physically, hot sex continued as before. If there was a time when there wasn’t a lot of getting busy it had more to do with work- business trips, at the office, etc. than the kids.

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