Charlie* and Rebecca* discovered a funny thing about sex after kids: it’s easier to talk about what you want to do after you’ve gone through the hard work of childbirth. But that doesn’t mean the parents of two found that out by accident. It required a series of conversations and adjustments (like turning their phones off when their kids go to bed and going to bed before they’re actually tired) they’ve figured out how to prioritize each other, and not their work, their emails, or the news. Here, Charlie and Rebecca talk about workshopping their way to a better sex life, the joys of phone sex, and how their long and storied sexual history helps them feel connected.
The Couple: Charlie* (43) and Rebecca* (30)
Years Married: 8
Years Together: 12
Number of Kids: Two: A five-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son
Location: Long Island
Occupations: Physician (him), Writer (her)
So you’ve got two very young kids. How has that affected your sex life?
Charlie: Time is very precious. We’re very busy. We have to put things away and make a little bit of time to have some private time to ourselves. It’s very easy to get lost in jobs and deadlines and everything else. But you need to have your own space and time, as well.
Rebecca: I think something I’ve noticed, especially over the last few months, is that for some reason, I’d just keep checking my emails. The second I would get a moment to myself, whatever the children were down or the minute my husband got home, I’d just be sitting there, checking my email, doing busy work. I could see that my husband was getting irritated, and I didn’t blame him. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I realize that that the emails are always going to be there. Me checking my email nonstop is not going to help. Unless you have a very specific deadline, where you have to handle something by, say, 9 o’clock that night, don’t worry about it! When the kids go to bed now, we shut off our phones, because we know they’re our number one priority.
How often do you guys have sex?
R: What do you think, hun?
C: We try to be intimate at least once a week, maybe twice a week.
C: It’s very difficult. Sometimes our schedules are a little bit off. How, and what times we’re interested in having sex can be different. With Vanessa, she’s a little more, let’s say, frisky, at night time when I’m like halfway falling asleep. And of course, I’m more —
R: We get it, hun.
C: Yeah. Interested in the mornings. So that’s another thing we keep in mind.
R: Now, when one of us wants to go to bed, we just go to bed. We go to bed an hour earlier. We used to watch the news at night, and now, we just shut that off. The news will always be there. We try to work around each other’s schedules. What was happening for a while, was that my husband would say “Oh, I can finally get some work done,” or we’d say “I could finally watch that movie he hates…,” Or, “I could talk to so and so…” We don’t do that anymore. The only thing I will say that I’ve noticed has been a little affected is, like, friendships. So, for example, I have a lot of friends overseas, so when Charlie would go to bed, I would chat with them on Skype, but it is what it is. You have to make a choice. You have to make a sacrifice.
You would hope they would get it.
R: They do, they do. I’m flying over there for a month next March. I travel a lot for work, and I’m actually on my way over to the UK for four weeks. I get a lot of criticism. Like, they don’t ask me personal details, but they’ll say, ‘Oh, what does your husband think?’ And funny enough, I think it actually helps. It winds me up, being away.
C: As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
R: It’s true. It almost reverts us back to when I started dating him when I was a senior in high school and in college.
When was the last time you had great sex? And what about it was so good?
R: A week-and-a-half ago. Well, I had been away for about a week. We had been talking dirty on the phone for a while. It was great. That was about a week-and-a-half ago.
Has necessity, for you both, become the mother of invention? Do you experiment more because your time to have sex is more limited?
R: Hm. I don’t know if you have a good example for that, hun?
C: We do have to be time-inventive, a little bit, and try new things. Otherwise, things can get boring. But even simple things like a haircut or getting highlights can sort of spice things up, and that’s very basic. We don’t have to go full leather.
R: We’re not in our early years anymore. In those days, he’d bring something up and I’d be like, “Ew! I don’t want to do that!” But now we’re really calm about it. it’s almost a joke. It’s like, “Do you want to try anal, babe?”
Becoming parents helps intimacy. You start to get way more comfortable, open, and honest about each other’s bodies.
C: Of course. After having a couple of kids, there’s a layer of trust.
R: I would say the whole childbirth thing — you can’t get anymore intimate than that. Oh, my god. We have funny stories from that, too. But yes, absolutely. Right after our daughter was born, I think that really opened up another level of comfort between us. We could literally talk about anything. We change the diaper, things happen that you’d never think you’d have to do. I think, actually, when our son was born, something changed for the better.
What’s your favorite part about your sex life?
C: There’s just a lot of history. And, like, you know, it’s not just one specific thing. It’s more like, you have this entire book, almost, that you can kind of pull back on.
R: When I was 19, I loved guys in their 30’s. But I thought the 40’s was pushing it. But now that I’m in my 30’s, I think my husband has just gotten better looking, and better, in general, with age. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s really funny.
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