Ep.21 Sexual Happiness Podcast: How Can We Revive Our Sex Life After Having Kids?
Having kids can bring joy like no other, but on the flip side do babies spell erotic disaster for couples? There are many ways to evolve into your new role as a parent while still being able to enjoy an exciting and fulfilling sex life.
This week, Sam, Nick, and Kate are joined by sexologist Chantelle Otten to share their thoughts on the intimate challenges that parents face and how get the spark back after having kids, as well as answering your questions and sharing their sex facts!
And of course we cover our usual segments "You can never know enough about sex" and "Question of the week" where we share what we've learned about sex this week, and answer your sex questions.
Got a question or topic you want us to cover? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
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Transcription: Lovehoney Podcast Episode 21
Sammy [00:00:06] Hello. You're listening to the sexual happiness podcast from Lovehoney, where we answer your questions about sex and sex toys. I'm Sammy.
Nick [00:00:14] I'm Nick.
Kate [00:00:15] And I'm Kate.
Sammy [00:00:15] And this week we're joined by sexologist Chantelle Otten to answer the question "how can we rekindle the spark after having kids?" Hello Chantelle and welcome to the podcast.
Chantelle Otten [00:00:24] Thank you so much for having me.
Sammy [00:00:26] So you're joining us from Melbourne today is that correct?
Chantelle Otten [00:00:29] I am. I'm in Melbourne and it's beautiful weather and I'm very excited to be on this podcast with you.
Sammy [00:00:35] Oh lovely, thank you so much for coming on. But before we get into our main topic can you tell our listeners a little bit about what you do and why you're on the sexual happiness podcast this week?
Chantelle Otten [00:00:45] Yes so I am a sexologist and I basically see the individuals and couples and help them with their sexual life, with satisfaction and pleasure. Alongside that, I run a social media account that gives information to the general public about sexuality and how to, I guess, bring a little bit of eroticism and excitement into our life. And I also run a few sexual health clinics around Melbourne in Australia, where I have a lot of other sexologists who work for me. And we see anyone who just wants to, I guess, enhance their sexual lives or people who have difficulties due to medications, their illnesses or life stages, and help them reach their goals in terms of sexuality.
Sammy [00:01:38] Amazing. Thank you so much for coming on. I'm really excited about this show it's gonna be a good one I think.
Nick [00:01:42] Thanks so much Chantelle.
Sammy [00:01:45] So Chantelle, what you might not know is on these sexual happiness podcast we have a section that we like to call "you can never know enough about sex" and that's where we each go around and share a fact that we learned about sex this week. So Kate. Nick do either of you want to kick off with your sex fact?
Nick [00:02:01] Not so much of a fact this week, more of a website in fact. So we were having a chat in the office about this, that and the other and we found a website called whoresofyour.com which is absolutely brilliant. It's run by a professor, I believe, who runs a sexual history class at Leeds University in the UK. And the website is just awesome - full of all facts from thousands of years ago, hundreds years ago, about everything to do with sex and the best bit is their "word of the day" which has got all sorts of old words for your private bits, for your acts and everything. So check how whoresofyour.com.
Sammy [00:02:42] Definitely one to check out then. Kate, how about you?
Kate [00:02:46] Mine's not really a sex fact this week but mainly a way to plug our social channels. So...
Sammy [00:02:54] Shameless plug!
Kate [00:02:55] I thought I might as well. Last week on Twitter we released a poll asking people if they were to do school again what would they want from their sex education? And the most popular answers were surrounding like, orgasms and sex positivity.
Sammy [00:03:12] Excellent.
Kate [00:03:13] I thought that was really interesting in the way it's demonstrating how attitudes towards sex are changing, and it's more pleasure focus now than anything else really. So I thought that was a nice positive factor for this week.
Nick [00:03:26] Excellent. Take note Governments.
Chantelle Otten [00:03:27] How cool that rather than goal orientated it's about pleasure. It's really exciting.
Sammy [00:03:34] And it's really nice to hear that that's the kind of education that people want to know about, because that's the kind of thing you offer isn't it Chantelle? And we offer also on the Lovehoney website.
Chantelle Otten [00:03:42] Totally it's the way that sexuality is going. We have a little bit more education and then the information to make it normal because people have sex is so many different ways. There's no one right way. But I think the most important thing is that you get pleasure and satisfaction out of it.
Sammy [00:03:58] Yes absolutely. So what was your sex factor this week then?
Chantelle Otten [00:04:03] Now mine is that you can orgasm in your sleep and I think that a lot of women especially don't know this, but basically you don't need physical stimulation to be going on - blood flows to the genitals during a sexy dream - it can still increase, like it does during actual sex and that increase in blood flow can also lead to orgasm. And I guess the fact is orgasm exists in our minds as much as it does in the clitoris or other parts of our body.
Sammy [00:04:34] Yeah. Yeah very good point. Snoregasms for everyone.
Chantelle Otten [00:04:38] Snorergasm. That's a great way of putting it.
Sammy [00:04:42] Fab. So this week I found out that... So there's all sorts of fetishes for everything that you could possibly imagine. If you can think of it it's probably a fetish. But I found out one this week that I'd not heard of before which is lithophilia. Has anyone heard of that?
Nick [00:05:02] Lithophilia? Something to do with books?
Sammy [00:05:04] That would be bibliophilia. Learn your Latin Nicholas!
Chantelle Otten [00:05:12] No idea, tell us!
Sammy [00:05:12] Lithophilia is arousal from rocks or gravel.
Chantelle Otten [00:05:19] Sexy!
Sammy [00:05:22] Not something I'd ever considered before but there you go. You know, there are different strokes for different folks! Different rocks, different cocks...
Kate [00:05:30] Something extra to your B&Q shops I guess!
Nick [00:05:33] Yeah, literal hardware.
Nick [00:05:37] So when you walk down the street, people with gravel driveways... You're one of them people with just normal concrete driveways...
Chantelle Otten [00:05:42] Getting hot and heavy.
Sammy [00:05:43] Yeah. People with a pebble dash house...
Chantelle Otten [00:05:48] Imagine if you like hunted down your house... So I guess align with your paraphilia
Sammy [00:05:55] Yeah.
Chantelle Otten [00:05:56] Does that make sense?
Sammy [00:05:56] Yeah that'll would be amazing. Okay well that kind of brings us onto our hot topic which again is "how can we get our sex life back after we've had kids?"
Nick [00:06:08] Aha ha. Sorry.
Chantelle Otten [00:06:09] That's a good one. That's a good one.
Nick [00:06:18] I have two children.
Sammy [00:06:19] You have two children.
Nick [00:06:21] Actually it's my 15th wedding anniversary today.
Sammy [00:06:23] Oh happy anniversary!
Nick [00:06:25] And yes I have a little girl who's seven, and a boy who's six. Just six.
Sammy [00:06:33] So quite young then...
Kate [00:06:35] Well one of the questions we're gonna kick off with is "how can having kids impact your sex life?"
Nick [00:06:42] I think that's the wrong question. How can kids impact your life? Full stop. But yes. So it's really really difficult to start with because you've got this small ball of helpless nothingness, that cries, shits, and generally demands your entire attention.
Sammy [00:07:04] Sounds like my ex.
Nick [00:07:09] And doesn't leave you time to do anything than shove microwave meals down your gob when you're really hungry. So sex just has to take a little bit of a backseat. Well quite a lot of backseat for the opening months I would say. I mean after that it's alright. Get through the worst of it and then regain your energy a bit and then... ah we're having another one? Okay.
Kate [00:07:39] We discussed on a previous podcast episode about the fact that you know, people with just full time jobs struggle to make time to masturbate or have sex. So yeah if you add kids into the mix as well it just makes things so much harder.
Sammy [00:07:51] Yeah. Chantelle, when people come to your clinic and speak to you, do they often bring this up as a concern when it comes to their sex life?
Chantelle Otten [00:07:58] Absolutely I think sex and parenthood is kind of when three threatens two, or four threatens two. It's very ironic in a way. Sex makes babies and babies kind of spell, I guess, a lot of disasters in couples. And I think for a lot of people they come in and really trace the way that their sex life's diminished from the arrival of their first child. But their happiness has also risen but their disconnection as a couple begins at the same time.
Sammy [00:08:38] Yeah.
Chantelle Otten [00:08:39] I can say a lot about this topic - there's so much to know why this happens and understand it as well.
Kate [00:08:46] Do you think that there has to be a loss of intimacy with this as well?
Chantelle Otten [00:08:50] Sorry, intimacy within the couples?
Sammy [00:08:52] Yes. So I guess if people aren't having sex does that mean that you have to lose the intimacy that comes with sex or are there other ways that you can explore that if you don't necessarily have the time or the energy to hit the bedroom, as it were?
Chantelle Otten [00:09:06] Yeah I think that, I think that intimacy can also be a challenge. But I think a lot of people know how to recreate that connection. But for some as well, if it really becomes a growing distance which is unfortunate and it doesn't have to be inevitable. But it's just the biological factors as well of hormones from both parents alongside the fact that they can be stressed, and busy, and tired. And I think also at the end of the day when you have children and children become the adventure rather than yourselves as a couple, and I guess once you continue to have a lot of fantasy and imagination you created between the two of you, that energy goes into. Now what you do as a family unit, or for the children. And I think that that is extremely important to think about, how to I guess, not make a rudder system more difficult and really plan that time to be together and rebuild from there, creating a new erotic life and create new ways to be creative, and the time that you have as well, when can it be an opportunity, what type of sex can be happening because does it have to be the whole menu of sex or can you have like an entree or a little, I guess, taste of the desire between you?
Kate [00:10:42] And are there any ways that you'd recommend, kind of bringing that creativity back?
Chantelle Otten [00:10:46] Yeah absolutely. I think the first thing is to really acknowledge it between the two of you and really communicate about it. Not in a sad way. I think that we need to celebrate the fact that you've got a new stage of your life and a new adventure as well. But I guess there needs to be one person who is really driving the fact that sex is important between the two of you as partners. And then also make plans for reserving that aliveness in the couple as well. So making arrangements and the kids will be taken care of on these times. Or what can we do or what do you think about sex now? Or how do you think we can have fun and what needs can we meat even though we have this challenge and this challenge and this challenge as well. So make it not all about the children. Talk about other things. Remember that you are a couple. These children grow up. They will leave one day and we really want to make sure that you have that sense of a lot of things in your life as well. There are many different ways that you can do that. The first is just communication between you. The other thing is really making sure that you add some creativity into your sexual life. What can you be excited about, especially if there may be complications from the birth. What can you do you can navigate around that? Introducing toys that focus on different areas of the body is important, and making sure that you put aside time to have even just sensual or erotic massages, where you can be present with each other, a time when you can look into each other's eyes. A time that you can really start to appreciate the way that the body has evolved. And I guess your new role as well, because mum and dad are typically not sexy titles. How do you get back to your baseline? You know Jack and Gill essentially. What did you used to love that you can recreate now? You know I think it's also good to think about your futures too. If you're waking up early maybe getting some time during your day would be better or Sunday morning, or you know when the kids are having their nap. Make sure you got some time to I guess make out or get in on a little bit.
Sammy [00:13:12] And what do you think for people who have... Obviously people's, as we talked about earlier, people's schedules are so hectic now and when you're factoring kids into that, that can be even more full on. How can people step away from that and find the time for that intimacy, particularly with a family?
Chantelle Otten [00:13:32] Yeah with a family I think if you have resources, if you have people around you... A great community and you highlight to them that you might need a little bit of a hand or a break once in awhile. I think it's very good to utilise that. Alongside the fact that a lot of children go to daycare these days. Well, is there a time that you can take off even if it's just once a month, even to just work on preservation of the couple and the relationship and the sexuality as well. Usually you see one parent more focused on the needs of the children and family, and then one parent needs to really be looking at the best ways to maintain a lot of focus. So scheduling time is really good. Maybe using some toys that you can control via application. You know maybe you'll have dinner or something, and like there are the remote control knickers that you can use which are external and they stimulate the clitoris. So it's not actually going to cause pain especially if there's been features of tearing or you know, any kind of complications like that - it'll just bring pleasure, because it's focusing on the pleasure area and if you make sure that you have the time to get settled and feel comfortable in your body... Maybe you've had a shower and then put on clothes that you feel quite sensual in, you can ask your partner to participate in exciting adventures like that. There are so many different ways I think I guess, creating a new normal as long as you're both ready to say "you know what our old sex life is gone, how do we create a new one together?"
Sammy [00:15:12] Yes. Very true. Nick, as our resident parent. Do you have anything to add to that?
Nick [00:15:19] Yeah I think if... obviously parenthood is a long journey. In the immediate aftermath. We talk about keeping intimacy. I think it's the little things, even if it's just holding hands while you're walking down the street or having a little cuddle and falling asleep on the sofa, or whatever, just keeping up that, I guess, just touch really is really important. And hopefully you've already massively bonded over the fact that you've just produced this screaming little ball of fantasticness. Just keeping that very low level intimacy if that's right... really just you know just reassuring each other and all that kind of thing. Just keep the keeping in touch going... Personally speaking you know, in those first few months and what have you, you don't want to ship baby off to grandparents or whatever for the night. I mean that's just me personally but as they a bit older I think I as Chantelle says, so you just make time for yourselves even if it's a... You go to the park for a playdate in the afternoon on Saturday with your mates and their parents taken them, and you'll return the favour because we know we're all in the same boat. Yeah, and if you do have grandparents nearby then brilliant or people you trust, you know, another family. Yeah. Whether it's an evening or afternoon or a morning or whatever, just making a little bit of time and going right, we're not going to bugger about and do the hoovering or paint the wall - let's make a bit of time for ourselves. My final bit of advice would be teach them as soon as possible how to turn on the television in the morning, so at the weekends... oh why don't you go and watch TV?! Shut the door, shut the door!
Chantelle Otten [00:17:08] I think boundaries around the bedroom are important.
Sammy [00:17:11] Yeah definitely...
Chantelle Otten [00:17:13] Bedroom boundaries.
Sammy [00:17:14] What about when. So say for example you've had kids. Kids are no longer infants or toddlers, we're talking older. And one of you is finding that your drive for sex is still significantly higher than your partners? That's something that we've definitely had people come to us and say, is that our kids are a bit older. I want to have more sex now but my wife still doesn't have the drive or my husband doesn't, or whatever. When there's a disconnect in that level of sexual desire and drive, what can parents do then, are there any special tips that you'd be able to give them?
Chantelle Otten [00:17:51] I really believe that it important a) to make sure that the drive is not diminished because of anything maybe more serious... I think a lot of women go "I just have no drive" and then you find out that they've actually got sexual pain as well and pain and pleasure can mix really well but definitely not in these circumstances where it's a sensitive period of time. And definitely not with sexual pain. You don't want to be having pain with sex unless it's something that you're actively seeking to add more kink if that makes sense? I think it's important to make sure that there's nothing going on, that hormones are all in check as well. But at the end of the day, in a couple, there will usually be someone with a higher drive than the other and that's really about compromise and creativity as well. That's the one person, maybe the person with the lower drive goes, you know what, for me it would just mean so much to me that I get... them instead of, you know, having a full sexual experience, maybe just holding hands together or having a cuddle together would mean a lot more to me, or maybe a back rub. And then for the person with the higher drive, and you know what, like I know that things are challenging for you at the moment... could I suggest that maybe we set aside time to do things? Would you be comfortable, you know, maybe using a toy to help because if you don't want your body to be attached, or some people feel a little bit invaded or like their body isn't present after having children, then we need some time to get back to having a healthy sexual self again. So you know, giving them options to do that in a healthy way and working together to get that place. But of course it's really important to prioritize that and make sure that you, I guess acknowledge you're challenged in that area and that you are willing to move forward. Motivation is the most important thing when it comes to sexuality. And I think I find with both men and women, they can be challenged after having children. And you know, when they discontinue communication around us that's when things can get really quite difficult. So make sure that you lay it out on the table and are transparent about it, and that you both work as a team together again. The problem to get to where everything needs to go to feel like you've got, I guess the base level of caring in a sexual relationship.
Kate [00:20:32] Yes. So Chantelle, you mentioned the remote control toys earlier. Are there any other kinds of sex toys or sex accessories that you could recommend to kind of reignite that intimacy?
Chantelle Otten [00:20:45] Yeah I definitely think so. I think that there... for the women I really think, especially just in that postpartum period, to use clitoral vibrators - it's a really good way of going "you know what, I can still achieve pleasure and fulfilment. And I think it's also good for me to acknowledge that a lot of the time with sexuality, men feel desire and then they can become aroused, which means that their body starts to react to that desire, and then they can really get into a sexual experience. Whereas with women, often we start to... we need to be aroused first. We need someone to be touching our body - maybe we need a lot more stimulation from a mental perspective as well about what we will be getting into, so we can start getting into the space that we actually desire what is coming to us. So I think that sometimes that, you know what, I'm going to give it a try is some sort of stimulation and a sexual act. And hopefully we'll be able to get to where you need to go, but that doesn't always exist. I guess success, if that's what you're kind of wondering, but it means that you're actually willing to... I guess ease into it a little bit more. In terms of products, I definitely think it's important to invest in some really good massage oil as well, so you can get to feel comfortable with the body, especially if there's aches and pains, from running after kids or lifting or just with the recovery process. I think that clitoral vibrators are great. I also think maybe a penis sleeve or stroker would be really good penetration isn't possible at the time. Or if she's just not into it, to almost sit down and almost have a massage session with a happy ending or you can maybe mutually masturbate. Touch yourself, and your partner touches them self so you can watch each other and communicate how it feels. That's truly erotic in itself. And I think just getting into the swing of being positive and creative - that's really fun. Lubrication is also very important by the way - I though I'd mention that.
Sammy [00:23:01] Put lube on everything. That's what we always say at Lovehoney. Lube on your toast!
Chantelle Otten [00:23:10] Absolutely.
Sammy [00:23:10] So for any new parents listening or parents who are obviously, after this, rediscovering intimacy or rediscovering this intimacy, what would be your kind of one line takeaway "this is the thing that you need to do first and foremost?"
Chantelle Otten [00:23:29] Talk to each other in a positive way. I can leave it at that. I can leave it at that. I think that's the best way to go.
Nick [00:23:34] Yeah. Absolutely agree with the point Chantelle just said.
Sammy [00:23:36] Talk to each other in a positive way.
Nick [00:23:38] Yeah.
Kate [00:23:38] And work as a team.
Sammy [00:23:40] Yeah. And remember you're a couple, not just parents.
Chantelle Otten [00:23:45] Totally. You're not just mum and dad, you're so much more than that.
Sammy [00:23:49] Excellent. So I think that just about sums up our hot topic this week. Which brings us on to the question of the week.
Nick [00:23:58] This week's question then: "I split from a very long term partner a while ago. I've since started a new relationship but they live a two hour commute away on a good day (which is not any day in the UK anyway!). Which means we only see each other at weekends. How do I keep myself sexually satisfied during the week?
Chantelle Otten [00:24:17] I think that we should get into the app control devices and there's so many great ones on Lovehoney at the moment where you can basically have a sexual relationship from a distance perspective, which can actually be really amazing for your communication with someone because if you are talking to each other via a screen and your partner is controlling your pleasure, you have to really navigate them what you're doing and what you like. So there's some great clitoral vibrators on there. There are the underwear that I mentioned before that are remote controlled. I think that there's also some really good internal vibrators too - there's a G-spot one and I think it's really great to just utilize these alongside a vibrating cock ring that can be used while the male partner is masturbating. There's a prostate massager. All of these are really exciting and as along as you... If you say to yourself you know what, I give myself permission to be adventurous, that is the best way to go about it because you are an erotic person already to be travelling two and a half hours or two hours or so to go visiting this person, you've already got a great imagination about what you can be doing. And if you're at home by yourself you can invite your partner to watch you use one of these great toys.
Sammy [00:25:50] Yeah. Brilliant. I think also with long distance relationships you kind of... You have to get creative and if you're in that kind of mindset from when you first start your relationship that's something that you can easily carry through your relationship, because I think people that find it easier to physically be together or are just more physically close in terms of geography. It's easy to settle into a pattern quite quickly, whereas I guess when you've got a long distance relationship you're having to think of new things all the time and if you're used to doing that then that's something you can definitely carry forward into the longer term relationship.
Chantelle Otten [00:26:23] It's so exciting. I think it's a really positive thing for couples to be learning how to be erotic and communicating via correspondence. My insistence is it really makes it a lot more imaginative in a way, as well, you have to learn how to share more with your partner rather than knowing that you're going home to them everyday and that you're going to talk about. I guess the same thing, you pick up lots of little different interesting along the day, and getting excited to talk to your partner.
Sammy [00:26:54] Yeah definitely and there's things like not just necessarily sharing a toy but you can do things like send your partner erotica that you've enjoyed or videos or that kind of thing, so you can share these multimedia things. There's also, you know, sexting as we always go on about sexting - it's a great method of communication.
Chantelle Otten [00:27:15] Snapchat.
Sammy [00:27:15] Yeah Snapchat.
Chantelle Otten [00:27:18] Also, if you love your body quite a bit as well. I think if you get to learn your angles and how are you look on a screen, I think that can be really positive for sexual self-esteem and body image in general. Can learn to appreciate yourself and the fact that someone does - correspondence is also appreciated.
Nick [00:27:37] And if you're in a long distance relationship and you fancy having to look at some app controlled vibrators then just head to the Lovehoney website. Tap in app controlled into the little search box at the top of the page and that will take you to a big selection of app controlled vibrators.
Sammy [00:27:52] We have tons. Teledildonics. Okay so that kind of brings us to the end of this week's show but to say thank you for listening, we're giving you 15 percent off any Lovehoney purchase. Just check out the links in the episode description and you'll be taken to the website nearest you in the world to claim your discount.
Nick [00:28:11] If you've enjoyed this week's episode, don't forget to give us the rating you think we deserve. Maybe tell your friends and drop us a review. We'd love to know what you think.
Kate [00:28:18] You can also follow Lovehoney on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and follow us on YouTube at LovehoneyTV. Or if you have any questions you can get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com
Sammy [00:28:29] Where can people find out more about what you offer and also maybe follow you on social as well - where can they do that?
Chantelle Otten [00:28:35] Yes, well I have a website which is very creative - it's www.chantelleotten.com. And I have an Instagram which is chantelle_otten_sexologist. You can get a lot of helpful information around sexuality and what is different on there.
Sammy [00:28:58] Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today. It's been a pleasure to have you with us.
Nick [00:29:01] Thank you Chantelle.
Kate [00:29:02] Thanks Chantelle.
Chantelle Otten [00:29:03] It's been so fun. Thanks guys.
Chantelle Otten [00:29:05] And maybe, would come back for another episode in the future perhaps?
Chantelle Otten [00:29:09] Absolutely. Can't wait!
Sammy [00:29:11] That'll be great. Okay. Well thank you for listening guys. Don't forget to come back next Wednesday when we'll have a brand new episode for you. Thanks for listening.