Same Story, Different Planets
Meet Janet and Kevin, parents of three young children. Janet stays home with the kids. Kevin’s job requires him to travel a few times a month. Here’s how they both described a recent evening at home:
Kevin: “I was thinking about Janet on the flight home. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and we haven’t seen much of each other. And, of course, I’m wondering if she’ll be in the mood later on—after all, it’s been eight days, five hours, and twenty-eight minutes since we last had sex. When I got home, she gave me a big hug so I started feeling optimistic. But I hadn’t even gotten my tie off when she starts laying into me with my ‘assignments:’ ‘Can you get the kids bathed? Did you remember to call the bank? Did you pick up the dry cleaning?’ She didn’t even give me time to breathe. Who needs that crap? I should’ve flown directly on to Phoenix instead of coming home.”
Janet: “I was so glad when Kevin got home. Finally, some relief! I thought that after he got the kids to bed we could sit down with a glass of wine. But what does he do? He rolls his eyes at me. I just needed some help. You’d think I’d asked him to rewire the house. And it’s not like I went and put my feet up—I was cleaning up the kitchen and doing yet another load of laundry.”
Mothers of small kids, whether they work or not, often feel that their sense of self is consumed by the roles of cook, chauffeur, cleaner, and toddler entertainer. When sex is added to the list of things that others demand from us, we start to resent it. We start to feel like a rabbit in a cage—a rabbit that is being pursued by an oversexed male rabbit. Run rabbit, run!
When a husband’s idea of foreplay is to use openers like “Hey, it’s been a while . . .” or to say nothing and just give us the Ten O’Clock Shoulder Tap, we want to run...fast. (Cue the "Jaws" theme.)
We talked to hundreds of men and asked them about their marriage after kids. Most, if not all, of these men were frustrated about one thing...sex.
Read what guys have to say about their unmet sexual needs when they can say it anonymously. All this dialogue comes from a purported “sports fans” website that one of our “traitor” guy friends put us on to (we bleeped out some of the more colorful material):
Topic: “Married Men Who M*#*%&%*# ”
Bob: Do you make even a modicum of an effort to keep it secret? What I mean is, do you do it when your wife is away, or do you just go ahead and start *#%*ing away in the bedroom knowing full and well (and not caring) that your wife could walk in at any minute?
“Trying to figure out what will get my wife in the mood for sex is like playing Whack-A-Mole.”
—Dan, married 9 years, 2 kids
Bethenny Frankel in her new show Bethenny Ever After opens up about the trials of being married. In the season premier, she talks of how she feels “tortured” in her marriage. At the NBC Universal TCA Press Tour, she stated that, “I just turned 41, and to be perfectly honest, I unintentionally crammed everything in. I got pregnant. I got married eight months pregnant and now I sold my business."
Wow. Bethenny definitely has a lot going on. But we know one thing is clear. She and her husband of two years, Jason Hoppy, just had a baby. They are now learning that parenthood changes...everything. Here are a few gems we heard along the way:
“I expected to add diaper, pacifier, formula to my new motherhood vocabulary—I didn’t think f*!# and s#*# would feature so prominently!”
—Lisa, married 5 years, 1 kid.
“What I get from other women is what I need, and that is help. I don’t even have to ask other women for help, they just volunteer. What do I get from my husband? I get a sink full of dirty plates, a pile of dirty clothes on the stairs, and a child dressed for church in a football jersey.”
—Katherine, married 8 years, 2 kids.
“My wife doesn’t understand how important sex is to me. Everywhere I go, sex is screaming at me. There are hot women in advertisements on billboards, and before I know it I find myself imagining Gina down in Accounts Payable wearing a nurse’s outfit.”
—Thomas, married 11 years, 1 kid.
Imagine, if you will, an entire week or even a month going by without having a conversation with your husband. Imagine a day spent together without as much as a "hello, how you doing?" from him? Or going out for a meal together and having him read a book/read his phone with scarcely a glance in your direction, as you chew your food in silence. Can you imagine how hurt and rejected you would feel?
If it has been a while (let's say weeks) since you and your husband have had sex, it's possible that he might be feeling as ignored and rejected as you would feel if he had not spoken to you for weeks.