The Real Reason Motherhood Kills Your Sex Life

mom with baby

If childhood is a religion, does that make moms saints or sinners? That's what we're wondering after reading this scandalous essay in Quartz, "How American Parenting Is Killing the American Marriage." It's about how we've turned parenting into a kind of religion, which in turn makes it pretty darn hard for a couple to keep the flames of passion alight. Sound familiar -- or crazy?

I think it explains a lot. As far as I can tell, moms are not allowed to enjoy sex. Sure we're allowed some romance. And we can care an awful lot about pleasing husbands in bed. But when it comes to our own pleasure, forget it. Too dangerous! Too risky. Moms who love sex are responsible for the downfall of civilization.


I'm not talking about being sexy (looking hot so your husband will still want to have sex with you, which keeps the family together). I'm talking about being sexual, being someone who feels sexy, who has desires, who allows herself to feel pleasure.

If you put your kids first above all other things, that means love and sex will always take a back seat. And since parenting is ALL CONSUMING and will take EVERYTHING you're willing to give, it becomes a zero-sum game where romance loses.

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But what's really interesting is the way the article points out this is mostly mothers' problem. Back in 2005 writer Ayelet Walman dared to reveal in writing that she loves her husband more than her kids -- and was practically burned at the stake for it. Here's what we learned from her experience, according to Quartz.

Mothers are also holy in a way that fathers are not expected to be. Mothers live in a clean, cheerful world filled with primary colors and children’s songs, and they don’t think about sex. A father could admit to desiring his wife without seeming like a distracted parent, but society is not as willing to cut Ms. Waldman that same slack. It is unseemly for a mother to enjoy pleasures that don’t involve her children.

I mean, that's the crux of it. Nothing is more important than your kids, which too many people interpret as nothing is important except your kids, if you're a mom.

You can trace this idea back to the Victorian era, but who cares. It's 2014 and we should have moved on by now. I think we use motherhood as a way to control women's sexuality. Because if you're really in tune with your own sexuality, really paying attention to it, feeding it, exploring it, you know something rather dangerous: Women's sexuality is complex and powerful stuff. And a lot of men are seriously intimidated by it.

They're afraid we'll run off with the milkman. But worse, they're afraid they can't satisfy us. They're afraid of keeping up with us. So what's the answer? Deny that moms' sexuality even exists. Keep us so busy we lose touch with our desires.

Don't fall for it, mothers everywhere. It's a lie.

Ever notice how all the reasons we give for not feeling sexual come from the same place? We don't love our post-baby bodies partly because we don't feel justified in prioritizing the alone time to work out. That's selfish! Getting enough rest so you actually have the energy to have sex? That's selfish. Telling a man what would please you in bed? Selfish. How would you even know, anyway, unless you'd actually stopped thinking about your children for five seconds and allowed yourself to daydream about pleasure? You selfish witch child-killer, you.

Can you be a good mother and enjoy a mind-blowing sex life? YES. But it takes a rebellious spirit. You are going to have to put yourself first sometimes. (Just like fathers so often do.) You'll have to feel confident that the time and attention you give your kids is enough, even though it has limits. And you'll have to create a much bigger, bolder vision of what it means to be YOU, a woman who happens to be a mother, than what our culture currently allows you to have.

Are you that rebellious? Are you that daring? You could be.

What do you think is the biggest challenge moms face in feeling sexual?


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