Kid: 1, Sex: 0, and Midsummer Afternoon Delight
Dear Dr. Hurd,
My partner and I celebrated our marriage in Washington, D.C. with the adoption of a baby boy. He has really changed our lives! What with our jobs, diapers, nighttime crying and the rest, we pretty much collapse at the end of the day.
We love our new Little One, but with our domestication has come a marked decrease in sexual activity. Of course we can’t be as spontaneous as before, but one or the other of us is either too tired, worried we’ll be interrupted by a tiny crisis, or just not feeling sexy.
I miss that part of our relationship, and though our lives are 99% filled up, I’d like to put some manly one-on-one back into that 1%.
Dr. Hurd replies,
Don’t tell me…tell your partner!
Excuse my stating the obvious, but communication is everything. Most people don’t want to talk about sex because it diminishes the excitement or the spontaneity. That’s understandable and to a large extent true. But if the choice is between communication and celibacy, your vote needs to be for communication. Just say, “I miss the sex.” He likely does too. This will set things into motion for finding solutions together.
You’re tired and pulled in different directions. I’ve heard this countless times from new parents. In fact, I’ve never once heard a new parent say, “Our sex life is just like it was before.” Having a child is the ultimate lifestyle change. People love to talk about how being gay or straight are different lifestyles—I don’t think they’re all that different. What is radically different is having a child. (Many of us can’t even handle getting a dog!)
Finding a reliable babysitter has to be the number one priority. It’s worth the cost. Don’t give up until you’ve solved this problem, because there’s not going to be a sex life unless you two can make the time to be a couple.
Mandate a date night; anything from a formal event to a movie, to simply staying at home for two hours without the baby. You might even go to a hotel or guest house every so often. Be creative. Your identity as a couple is floundering, and that’s why the sex went away. Making room for intimate time together is the only way to get it back.
Dear Dr. Hurd,
I have two friends who visit Rehoboth a couple of times a year. I happily open my home to them, and they always show gratitude for my generosity. They’ve been together in (what each of them thinks is) a monogamous relationship for 12 years. But when they come here, they cheat on one another—sometimes even bringing people back to my home and then asking me to not say anything.
It can take any form: An “afternoon delight” during what’s supposed to be a solitary trip to the outlets while the other visits the gym (who knows what goes on there!), or sneaking back to the house for a quickie in the middle of an evening at the Blue Moon.
I am friends equally with these guys, and I feel uncomfortable when I’m with the two of them—each trusting me to not say anything to the other about his sexual (mis)adventures.
I’m sick of it! How do I tell them that I can’t take it any more without revealing what I promised not to reveal, and surely losing both of them as friends in the process?
Dr. Hurd replies,
Life rule #1: Don’t be a crusader. Your friends’ sex lives aren’t your business. Don’t ever give an opinion or moral judgment unless asked for one. Your unsolicited advice will not change a thing but it will hurt everyone.
Life rule #2: Don’t do a single thing you don’t want to do. If someone asks you to lie for them, say, “Are you crazy? I won’t do that.” This isn’t being a crusader—this is taking care of yourself. If someone wants to squander their integrity, that’s their business. But they have no right to make you a part of it.
You’re making this more complicated than this has to be. Friends don’t butt in where they don’t belong. But friends don’t lie for friends either. And true friends shouldn’t expect friends to lie for them.
They’re putting you in an awkward position. They probably don’t mean any harm to you, and, in fact, they’re not treating you any differently than they treat one another. To them, the risk and deception are worth it; that’s their call. But, in my view, not in your home.
Make it clear. “I’m not getting into your business. But I’m not comfortable being in this spot. I hope you’ll understand that I don’t want you staying here when you do that. What you do is your own business, but I’d rather not know.” You’ve got to take this much of a stand, even if it risks your friendship.
The only alternative is to keep sucking it up, and believe me when I say that won’t last. It’s only a matter of time before it all blows up. And when it does, you’ll be right in the middle, having lied to them both. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, life coach, and author. His office can be reached at 302-227-2829. Email your questions or comments to Dr Hurd.