It’s summer! The season of bikinis and pool parties and cocktails on the back deck. It’s time to wear your cute outfits and stay up late and take romantic spur-of-the-moment trips. . . unless you’re a mom like me.
For me, summer is a time of zero privacy because my kids are home all the time.
It’s a time of total exhaustion as kids are staying up later than ever because the sun is still up at 10 p.m. “Date nights” are sharing a snow cone while watching a kid’s softball game or falling asleep on the couch while the kids are still watching a movie. And sex? Who has the time or energy?
Here are actual reasons we did not have sex:
- One of us has a sunburn from supervising kids at the pool.
- Kids are in our bed because there’s a thunderstorm.
- We fell asleep before the older kids did.
- We’re leaving town so every moment is dedicated to laundry/packing/cleaning.
- There was an argument about who needed to tuck in the kids and when that should happen.
- It’s one million degrees outside and nobody wants to touch anybody else.
- A kid is sick and we’re on puke watch.
I’m sure what I should be doing right now is telling you how to fix this in five easy steps, or I should tell you how important sex is to a vital relationship and how we’re making it work in spite of all the complications of summer. But if you’re anything like me, the last thing you need right now is one more summer to-do list or mommy guilt trip. So I’m just here to tell you if you’re getting to the end of a week (or a month) and thinking, “Whoops. We forgot. You aren’t the only one.
We all know date nights are important. Sometimes they just can’t happen. We all know our relationships would benefit from a weekend trip away WITHOUT KIDS. That’s not always financially feasible. We don’t actually need tips or tricks on how to have more sex. We know sex is great and we love our spouse, but sometimes we just want to eat some ice cream while we watch a show and nobody touches us for 30 whole minutes. And when we say “nobody,” we mean NOBODY.
“Touched out” doesn’t begin to cover how it feels when your kids are all home constantly and it’s also 90+ degrees out.
Sex is a great way to express love with your spouse. So is holding hands while you walk to the park or eating a Popsicle together while you have a chat about your sister’s new house and her flooring choices. It’s OK to love sex, but also be tired. You can think your spouse is super sexy in his swim trunks and sunglasses and still fall asleep (still dressed) in your Adirondack chair while he’s tucking the kids in bed. My husband wants sex, but he’s tired too. I don’t need to be offended if he’s just as touched out as I am some nights. The cultural narrative that men are sex machines does not always take into account exhausted dads who are working like crazy to support their families while also coaching Little League, helping at church, and being sure the lawn looks great.
What we don’t need to do is force something because that’s what we think we have to do. There is no amount of times we need to have sex to prove we’re still married, still attracted to each other, or still in love. There’s no panel of marriage judges we need to give an account to. This summer is a season. So is having young kids. We can navigate these seasons and come out stronger on the other side if we’re giving each other grace. Sometimes grace means figuring out a time to have sex even when we’re both tired, hot (not the good kind), and crabby because we also know sex is fun (and might help fix some of the crabby part). Sometimes grace means not getting our feelings hurt by a “not tonight” and coming up with some other way to show affection.
So if you maybe-kind-of-totally forgot to have sex for an extended period this summer, you might still have a great marriage.
Your relationship isn’t defined by the amount of sex you have, but by your love and affection for each other.
Maybe tonight is the night for showing that affection by finding your sexiest lingerie (WHERE DID I PUT THAT?), getting the kids to bed early, and locking the bedroom door. Or maybe tonight you cue up “The Office” for the fifteenth night in a row and hold hands. You do what works for you! Either way, you still love each other and this season won’t last forever.