Most parents know that having less sex is part and parcel of life with a new baby.Yet when the children are a bit older, when we’re less tired and we have more opportunity to be intimate, we can look forward to our sex life returning pretty much to what it was pre-children, right? According to a survey carried out for Family Lives, parents having the least sex are the ones whose children are teenagers.66 per cent of our respondents have teenage or older children, followed by those with children aged between 5 and 12 (49%).
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Many seem to a large extent to have given up on their sex life: just under 45% told us they have sex less than once a week, and just over 23% confessed they hadn’t had sex at all in the preceding month.
When we talked to parents of teenagers about their sex life after children, we found a similar story.
One father of three daughters aged 16, 14 and 11 told Family Lives: “My wife just isn’t interested any more.
Since our last daughter was born we’ve had sex very rarely, maybe once a month, and it’s always me who wants it.
I put up with it at first because I thought things would get better when the kids got older, but they haven’t.
Most of the time we don’t mention sex, but if I bring it up she accuses me of being demanding and it ends up in an almighty row.” A huge majority - 86% of the respondents to our survey said they had sex less often since having children – and 73% said their sex life had definitely taken a turn for the worse since kids came on the scene.
For other parents of older children, issues of privacy and never having enough time alone were far more important that lack of desire.
Only 9% of our surveyed parents said they don’t feel like sex, while a total of 46% blamed either more privacy or more time away from the kids as things that would improve their sex life.
One single mum told us: ‘I haven’t met anyone yet but the issue is that my child’s bedroom backs on to mine and my walls are thin and not very sound-proof.
She’s often awake and I feel she is listening, so after midnight is my only time for intimacy.’ Another mum of two children under 4, who split up with their father shortly after her youngest was born, said: ‘I miss having sex because I long to feel close to someone.
My whole life is centred round the kids and sometimes I get weighed down by the responsibility.’ Tiredness was stated as a big factor affecting parents’ sex lives across all age groups – not just among those with new babies.