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For many couples, your intimate life after creating your “loin fruit” is likely not like the tropical “fruit salad” you enjoyed at any time of the day, whenever you felt the urge BC (Before children). 


These days, your “fruit salad” is more like a quickly peeled banana, or begrudgingly having a quick piece of fruit because you know it’s good for you and your relationship. As parents, we have so many other priorities, so your energy and enthusiasm towards the “passion fruit” of your relationship may have changed. For those parents who are back in the “fruit salad” days, good for you; for the latter who are already tired or getting a headache thinking about “fruit salad” – keep reading. 

Today’s parents have plenty of resources to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. But few of us are prepared for the effects on our relationships and intimate life. With the redefinition of roles, the realignment of responsibilities, and the reduction of time together, this often results in the decreased frequency and intensity of sexual experiences. It’s a wonder anybody gets pregnant for the second time!

Modern parents often have a difficult time navigating sex and parenthood. Sleep deprivation, body changes, mental load, and even our own internal beliefs and expectations impact the way we experience sexual desire and arousal.  


Intimacy is a huge part of a healthy relationship. Gernerally speaking, men can create conflict in a relationship if they focus purely on the physical side of sex, forgetting that there is more to intimacy than this. When a man makes advances to his partner and they are ignored, this communicates rejection to a man. To ignore his sexual needs, to resist his initiation of sex, or merely to tolerate his advances is to tear at the heart of his self-esteem. Women often fail to understand how a man’s self-image is vitally linked to his sexuality. On the flip side, many women express that they feel like objects as their man has neglected the intimacy and connection part that women need. Many women feel that they give all day and that they haven’t got much left in the tank, so this intimate part of their life has become a chore. To some women, to be wanted or desired is uncomfortable as they don’t feel sexy in their own skin after having children. 

Each person in a relationship should feel needed, wanted, accepted and loved sacrificially. And one of the keys to building this type of relationship is understanding the general differences between men and women in how they view sex. These differences cause certain expectations on the part of men and women that often lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and disappointment. 

Parenthood does not need to be the stage of life where intimacy goes to die. Here are 5 strategies to spice things up in your relationship.

1. Understanding Different Desires and Needs Between the Sexes 

In heterosexual relationships, most men tend to focus on the physical aspects of a relationship. They are stimulated, drawn, captivated by the sight of their woman. They get excited or at least interested quickly by visual or physical stimulation. Most men can be ready for physical intimacy in minutes, and once on his mind it becomes dominant in his focus. Generally, men put a much higher priority on sex than women do, and women tend to have a different orientation that demands a different approach. A woman is more oriented to the emotional side of the relationship. A man wants physical oneness; the woman desires emotional oneness. Sight, smell and the body tend to stimulate a man. Touch, attitudes, actions, words, and the whole person stimulate the woman. A man needs respect, admiration and to be needed physically. The woman needs understanding, love, to be needed emotionally, and time to warm up to the sexual act. The man’s sexual response is acyclical, which means any time, anywhere. The woman’s response is cyclical, which means she goes through times when she is more interested in sex than others. A man responds sexually by getting excited quickly, while the woman is much slower. During sex, a man is single-minded, while his wife might be easily distracted wondering about the children, their to do list, the noise outside, or other minor things going on around them. 


2.  Knowing the Difference Between Sex and Intimacy 

In romantic relationships, sex and intimacy are often used interchangeably. But there’s a distinct and significant difference between the two. Knowing the differences can be crucial to fixing, maintaining, and improving the state of your relationship. Intimacy is something that goes beyond a physical act. True intimacy involves a level of emotional connection and trust that brings people closer. If there is a lack of trust or emotional connection, this will impact your intimacy. An intimate relationship can be deeply personal, allowing each person to be vulnerable with the other. While a physical connection can often be associated with this, intimacy doesn’t need to be physical to exist. Strictly speaking, sex is physical. No matter the form, sex involves the arousal of physical desire and physical response to a stimulus. Sex by itself doesn’t necessarily require intimacy.

There are five main types of intimacy:

  • Emotional intimacy: a deep feeling of closeness and trust.
  • Physical intimacy: includes touching in a way that enhances feelings of closeness and desire.
  • Sexual intimacy: combines the physical act of sex with emotional closeness and trust.
  • Mental intimacy: Having stimulating discussions about different topics and feeling safe about expressing your own views is part of nourishing mental intimacy.
  • Spiritual intimacy: Spiritual intimacy means feeling close, validated, and safe sharing your innermost ideas and beliefs on life’s purpose and your connection with divine energies.

In general, intimacy involves a particular level of closeness.

3. Make a Plan

With many parents prioritising their children, intimacy and special cuddles are one of the first joys pushed to the back burner. It may seem mechanical to schedule time for physical intimacy. Although it might seem weird or routine, scheduling sex is actually a great way to encourage you and your partner to have sex regardless of how tired you are. Whether you put it on your shared calendar or choose specific days during the week, you’ll know it’s on the schedule for the day which can help to build up the anticipation even further. Text them the morning of, or talk about it over breakfast (in code, obviously) and allow the playfulness, excitement and anticipation to begin. Maintaining a standing sex date once a week, twice a week, or a few times a month helps many relationships prioritise intimacy. Timing and cadence should always be at your discretion – just make sure that both you and your partner are on the same page. Find somebody to watch the kids, and enjoy some adult time for once. Something as simple as dinner at your favourite restaurant can become a great starter course for a fun night with your partner. Couples are happiest when sex can be regularly anticipated or prioritised. So maybe have a “sex candle” that you light when you are feeling in the mood so your partner knows you want them to make a move. 

Make a plan

4. Make Time to Talk. 

Early in your relationship, you likely spent hours just talking. It became one of your most meaningful ways of growing closer. Once you have kids, most of your conversations are likely about parenting or work. Commit to growing yourself, learning and becoming more interesting so you have more things to talk about. Make time to chat with one another with a cuppa in the morning, or a drink on a Friday afternoon. Talking is a very intimate experience for women. When men choose to learn how to chat – to ask meaningful questions and really listen to the answers, to share their own feelings and desires – they are communicating interest and respect, building trust and closeness that will help their partner feel more emotionally intimate with them. Do not fake your way through a conversation in hopes of having sex later on (women can sense that a mile off). Instead, recognise that a woman’s desire to “just talk” for a while is a real and valid need. When that need for an emotional connection is met, it will often translate into a renewed desire for a sexual connection as well.

5. Implement Gratitude

Your sex life can often be a large indicator of what’s going on in your relationship. When you’re happy sexually, it’s pretty plausible that your relationship is too. So if your sex life is suffering, find ways to improve communication and get closer to your partner. The easiest way to do this is to cultivate gratitude. Thank them for the little things, like doing the dishes or cooking even the simplest of weeknight dinners. Share your gratitude about them to them, and watch your relationship grow. 

Sex is a beautiful, human desire that can bring a partners together in oneness. Its presence or absence often indicates the level of commitment and intimacy in other areas of your relationship. For sex to be truly satisfying to both partners, each has to risk being totally open and vulnerable to the other, which can only deepen your relationship.

If you are having troubles with your libido, seek medical advice, and if you need support to improve this part of your relationship, there are many sex therapists that can support you too. 


  • Bree James

    Bree James, epitomises ‘entrepreneur’. From starting her first official business at the age of eighteen, to running one of Australia’s most successful regional publishing companies, Bree has entrepreneurial DNA in every fibre of her being. The eternal solution finder, Bree’s innate ability to seize opportunity and fill market gaps has attributed to her huge success in the business world. But she’s more than just the driving force behind her own enterprises. Working with organisations around the country, Bree is also an acclaimed presenter, author, podcaster, travel writer, YouTuber, performer, and an inspirational mentor to small business owners everywhere. Her philosophy in life is to be brave, be bold and be brilliant.