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Counsellor Helps Couples Reignite Their Sex Life After Kids

After having kids, maintaining a healthy sex life may fall lower on your list of priorities. Counsellor Sharinder Kaur shares practical tips for couples to reignite their sex life after kids.
Block out quality time with your spouse to help keep the intimacy alive. Image credit: Becca Tapert
By Kimberly
February 1, 2024

Between sleepless nights, child-rearing tasks and all the other commitments, couples’ sex lives may take a back seat. Certified counsellor and registered clinical member of the Singapore Association for Counselling Sharinder Kaur shares tips on how couples can reignite their sex life after having kids. 

About Sharinder Kaur

Sharinder Kaur is an experienced and dedicated counsellor. Initially, she could see the gap in providing holistic support to clients. She says, “No one really teaches you about “sex” and a lot of things are left to ‘Google’ and ‘hearsay’.” Hence, when she had the opportunity to get formal training in Singapore came, she knew she had to equip herself with more skills and evidence-based knowledge. She adds, “I learned so much and now I’m better positioned to provide quality support to couples, parents and young people.”

Her accreditations

She is a registered clinical member of the Singapore Association for Counselling with a passion for helping individuals achieve transformative change in their lives. With a Master’s in Counselling and a wide range of certifications and trainings, including Transactional Analysis, Brainspotting, and Choice Theory and Reality Therapy, Sharinder has the expertise to address various issues such as personal development, stress management, relationship concerns, and sexual health. With a trauma-informed approach and a commitment to continuous growth, she creates a safe and nurturing space for clients to explore their challenges and enhance their overall well-being. As a new mother herself, Sharinder understands the importance of balance and is available for online counselling sessions to accommodate the demands of motherhood while still providing the utmost support to her clients. 

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Mummyfique Sample July 2021

For parents with young kids - newborns to pre-schoolers - what are some pragmatic, easy ways to ensure that they continue to make having sexual relations a priority?

Open communication is important for thriving relationships to communicate about their needs and desires. Image credit: Lifestylememory
Acceptance

Firstly, let’s acknowledge that it is a challenging time for parents with young children. Their child/children are going through so much with bodily changes, brain development, and their emotional needs are high. Let’s normalise and have acceptance that in this season of parenting, sexual relations may look different for the couple. Having acceptance can help negate the stress of getting back to the way things were before kid(s)

Prioritize Quality over Quantity

Understand that it’s not always about the frequency but the quality of your intimate moments. Focus on connection and emotional intimacy. In this season of parenting, where there is heavy demand for parent’s attention, scheduling dedicated time for each other can be helpful. Blocking time out and planning time for connection and intimacy can help the couple keep the spark alive. This can be coffee dates, watching Netflix, candlelit dinner at home, or even a daycation. Consider enlisting support from family, and friends, or hire a nanny to take care of the kid(s). Perhaps create a play date group with fellow like-minded parents and take turns to host the children so that the parents can have some couple time. It’s essential to adapt and find what works best for both of you.

Open Communication

A very important element for a thriving relationship is the ability to communicate openly about needs and desires. Most often the ‘default’ parent’s plate is very full leaving little room for rest and relaxation. Our libido is linked to our body being in a relaxed state. When the default parent’s nervous system is constantly on an alert state in managing stress and family needs, it is natural for that parent’s libido to drop to compensate for the stress.

By having open communication and sharing the mental and parenting load between both parents, partners can help themselves to feel less stress and they create space for their body’s system to allow their libido to guide their sexual intimacy appetite.

What advice would you give postpartum mums who may not be able to orgasm even if they were able to previously?

Strengthening your pelvic floor can help with incontinence and may help with sexual satisfaction. Image credit: Racool Studio
Self-Compassion

Postpartum is a process, it’s your body’s natural way of healing and supporting your little one to grow. Give yourself grace and gratitude for the amazing work that your body is doing. Your body brought life into this world and it needs to go through a series of processes. You are still amazing and beautiful even though a lot of changes are occurring within you and outside of you.

See the Bigger Picture
  • Orgasm is one just aspect of sexual pleasure, there are many other routes to experiencing pleasure. Postpartum changes can affect sexual experiences so please be patient with yourself. Allow yourself time to explore your body in a non-pressured way to understand what feels comfortable. Try
Open Communication

Discuss your feelings with your partner. Open communication about your concerns, desires, and any physical discomfort can lead to better understanding and support.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through exercises like Kegels may enhance sexual satisfaction. Consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on postpartum exercises.

Seek Professional Support

You don’t have to figure it out all by yourself. There are trained professionals like sex counsellors that can provide specific guidance tailored to your needs.

When making love, how can mums with the constant mental load focus on the act rather than letting their intrusive thoughts run wild?

To rid your mind of distracting thoughts, try to relax with a few deep breaths. Image credit: Freepik
Delegating

 For a person to be able to ‘switch their mind off’ their nervous system needs to feel safe. The ‘default parent’ can take steps like communicating their needs for additional support to their partner so that they can feel safer knowing that systems and things are in place and they can now relax and enjoy the moment.

Self-Care

Practicing self-care helps one’s body get in touch with relaxing and enjoying a slower pace. Taking care of your well-being will allow you to calm your racing thoughts. When you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to be in a positive mindset for intimate moments.

Permission

Give yourself permission to have your personal time and this time is for you and your partner. Allowing yourself to temporarily set aside other concerns.

Relaxation Techniques

Doing some deep breathing, and bringing focus to your senses can help redirect your mind from intrusive thoughts and shifting into the present moment.

For women who experience pain while having sex, what would you recommend to help them?

Pause

Listen to the wisdom of your body and stop if you feel pain. Experiencing discomfort is different from pain. Sex is a pleasurable activity. If there is pain, stop.

Seek Professional Support

Reach out for professional support to gain a better understanding of why there is pain. It could be a medical situation or it could be fear base. There are many strategies available to overcome painful sex. It’s important to use the strategy that is best suited and customised to your needs.

How can one improve at being better at sex?

There are many components to improving one’s sexual skills. In a nutshell, there needs to be synergy between the mind-body and heart connection. Being skilled in open communication, interoception awareness, relaxation techniques, and pelvic floor exercises are some of the many strategies that one can improve. I suggest visiting Eros Coaching to look up these resources or scheduling an appointment with one of the therapists so that you can work with a professional to help you come up with a plan that is specific and unique to your needs.

Often, mums face the majority of the mental load, child-rearing and taking care of the household, which may cause resentment in the relationship, impacting their sexual relations. How can they better communicate their needs and desires to their partners?

Choose the Time

Find a calm moment to talk when both you and your partner can focus on the conversation without distractions. It is often best when you’re not angry with each other. Repair is best done outside of a triggering moment.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Invest time and energy to improve your conflict resolution skills. There are many strategies for one to use for effective communication. One example is using “I” statements. Express your feelings using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say “I feel overwhelmed” instead of “You never help.” Look out for our upcoming workshops where we help couples learn these important life skills.

Active Listening

Encourage your partner to share their perspective and actively listen to their thoughts and feelings. Open dialogue fosters understanding.

Express Emotions

Share your emotions openly. Let your partner know how certain situations make you feel. This helps them understand the emotional impact. E.g.: “ I feel frustrated that I can’t go out as much as I used to.” “ I feel sad that I don’t have my ‘me time’ without a clock on it.  It could be helpful to use the Feelings Wheel to help you gain awareness of your own emotions.

Ask for Support

Be clear about the support you need. Whether it’s assistance with childcare, household tasks, or emotional support, let your partner know how they can help.

Set Boundaries

Establish boundaries to ensure a fairer distribution of responsibilities. Clearly define roles and expectations to reduce feelings of resentment.

Seek Compromises

Work together to find compromises that benefit both of you. A collaborative approach strengthens the partnership. Accept that the learning curve for some partners may be steeper than we’d like it to be.

Compassion

Have compassion for yourself and your partner as both of you navigate this new terrain of parenting and experience the joys and discomforts that this journey brings.

Seek Professional Support

 Reach out for professional support to gain skills and insights into improving your communication and conflict resolution skills.

How do you help couples with differing sex drives?

There are many factors (medical, psychological, emotional) that can contribute to low sex drives. Every couple is different so depending on what is impacting their sex drive, I tailor my support accordingly to the couple’s needs. There are exercises and activities that couples can do to reignite that innate drive.

What are some easy ways that parents can connect intimately even when they’re exhausted (not necessarily leading to sex)?

Plan mini-dates without the kids to spend some quality time together. Image credit: hao ji
Express Gratitude

Take a moment to express gratitude for each other. Share something you appreciate or love about your partner. Gratitude fosters a positive connection. Leave love notes expressing your love for each other in unexpected places, like in their wallet or on the bathroom mirror.

Simple Touch

Physical touch, even if it’s just holding hands, a hug, or a gentle touch on the shoulder, can convey a sense of closeness.

Shared Moments

Find small moments to share, like enjoying a cup of tea together, watching a short TV show, or simply sitting quietly side by side.

Quality Listening

Share your emotions openly. Let your partner know how certain situations make you feel. This helps them understand the emotional impact. E.g.: “ I feel frustrated that I can’t go out as much as I used to.” “ I feel sad that I don’t have my ‘me time’ without a clock on it.  It could be helpful to use the Feelings Wheel to help you gain awareness of your own emotions.

Plan Mini-Dates

Even if it’s just a short walk to NTUC together or a quick coffee outing, plan mini-dates to break the routine and spend quality time together.

Laugh Together

Laughter is a great way to connect. Share a funny story, watch a comedy together, or reminisce about light-hearted moments. The more laughter there is in a family the more connection opportunities. As a family track how often each one of you is laughing and smiling. Children do better in environments that are filled with smiles, laughter, and snuggles.

Get Creative

Find/create moments of connection in the everyday routine. These small actions contribute to a strong and resilient relationship.

How common is it for Singaporean couples in particular to have dry spells after having children and is this worrisome for their marriage?

Dry spells in intimacy are not uncommon for couples worldwide, including those in Singapore. The challenges that come with raising children, such as exhaustion, changes in routine, and increased responsibilities, can contribute to periods of reduced sexual activity.

Whether this is worrisome for a marriage depends on the communication, understanding, and expectations within the relationship. Openly discussing the reasons behind the dry spell, addressing any concerns, and finding ways to reconnect emotionally can help strengthen the marital bond.

Couples need to recognise that fluctuations in sexual activity are a normal part of long-term relationships, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If both partners are comfortable with the level of intimacy and are understanding of each other’s needs, then it may not necessarily be a cause for concern. However, if the lack of intimacy is causing distress, communication and, if needed, seeking professional guidance can be beneficial. Every relationship is unique, and what matters most is the mutual satisfaction and happiness of both partners.

Relevant Reads: Sexual Healing To A Better Marriage