I’m in the land Down Under. You know, where women glow and men plunder?

(Can you hear, can you hear the thunder? You better run, better take cover…oh oh ohhhh…)

Yup, that’s right, Men at Work. Or actually the dreadfully charming Mr. Right at work here in the land of Oz. And so the Bungle of Joy and I decided to tag along. (Having a partner who travels way too much for work has its frequent flyer mile perks, I guess.)

Anyway, my mom put me on the plane with an article from the Wall Street Journal. I think she may have been trying to warn me. The article is about how parents’ sexual satisfaction goes down significantly when they first have kids. Why? Because they’re not gettin’ any.

The full article, “Researchers Target Toll Kids Take on Parents’ Sex Lives,” tells us what we already knew. That parents with a 3-month-old in their bed are too harried, sleep-deprived, busy, worn out, and, I’d like to add, crowded to have much of a sex life. And, the article says, men and women have different visions of what a good sex life would mean in the first place–and this we already knew too: “Men on average want to have sex four times a week while women want it once a week.” (Though it seems to me this is selling us ladies a bit too short–don’t you think?)

Women complain of being underappreciated for their child-rearing efforts. Men complain of not getting enough lovin’. And both seem to drift further and further apart. The expert’s advice is to treat sex like exercise:

It’s healthy and even if you may not be up for it initially, it generates good feelings afterward. Dr. Fisher notes that positive hormones are released whether the sex lasts for minutes or hours.

So the benefits of a healthy sex life extend far beyond the bedroom (or the dining room table if you believe the movies–geez, when’s the last time that happened to a couple with kids?!). But don’t you think it’s true? That sex makes you feel more satisfied in general with your partner? All those lovey-dovey feelings (dopamine, actually, according to the article) can’t be bad.

The funniest part of the article is this:

One solution offered by the experts: Redefine romance. Instead of nuzzling the nape of his wife’s neck, a man may have more romantic success if he makes the dinner or bathes the kids, they say.

So Dad changing diapers is foreplay now? Hey, man, whatever floats your boat.

Janna, aka Happily Even After, 35, Seattle

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