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Foreplay, revised for parents of young children

standard January 15, 2009 4 responses

When you’re first dating, hooking up, or whatever young kids are calling it these days, you’re very focused on foreplay. Well, at least you’re supposed to be if you’re serious about getting some action, or at least some repeated action.

Once you have kids the focus on foreplay changes. First of all, time becomes a serious constraint. If you have all of a precious 15 minutes before the baby wakes up (again) you become very goal oriented. Traditional foreplay becomes a waste of precious minutes. Once you have your clothes off you don’t really want to waste any time getting comfortable with each other, and really, isn’t that what foreplay is all about?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that foreplay should be abandoned, I’m saying that it needs to evolve to fit the situation. Instead of hurrying it up it needs to be stretched out, thinned out, made to fit the tiny moments between the moments that fill up the day. Instead of spending time getting cozy and warmed up under the sheets, you can spend all day getting there.

Every couple is unique and every partner is going to be turned on by different things. One girl might really appreciate a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of wine. One guy might like a quick back scratch or head rub. Maybe it’ll be just taking the time to ask a couple questions and really listening to the answer.

Think for a minute. If you are your significant other aren’t spending a ton of time getting connected in the bedroom, could it be because you aren’t spending enough time connecting outside of it? Do you assume that you’ll know the answer to the question “how was your day?” Do you even ask? Do you listen?

How about your evening routines. Is one partner heading to bed much earlier than the other on a regular basis? Is it because one person does all the chores before turning in? Is it because one person can’t put down the computer or turn off the TV?

I’m not saying that you have to change your habits. I doubt that’s possible, or even optimal, but I am saying that you should build foreplay into your day so that when the opportune moment rolls around you’ll both be primed for action.

– Touch, hug, kiss each other, in passing or as a detour. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more you crave it.
– Share the load. Don’t nitpick about whose chore is whose. If a basket of laundry is what’s keeping one partner from going to bed, share the load and connect over sorted socks.
– Spend time together. So what if she’s cooking, she can multitask! Who cares if he’s cleaning his bike, you can hand him his tools.
– Do little things to lighten each other’s loads. Be aware of when loads need to be lightened.
– Watch each other, notice each other’s moods, react appropriately.
– Call, email, text, IM, reach out during the day, say hi, say I miss you, ask questions. Communicate.
– Sing, laugh, tease, play. Remember why you enjoy each other’s company.

It is unrealistic to expect someone to go from no contact to full contact in 15 seconds after a long stressful day dealing with life, home, work, or kids, especially if a ticking clock is adding pressure to the situation. You need time to unwind enough to be able to reconnect. But if you’ve never stopped connecting in the first place, then there’s no longer any obstacle.

Original It’s my life… post.

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4 responses

  • Such important advice, particularly once kids are in the picture. It could be so easy to turn into roomates, but it’s important that we all remember how the kids got here in the first place.

  • Great advice! My husband and I have had that problem since my daughter was born 3 years ago. She still doesn’t sleep throught he night. We have been making a serious effort to grab little moments of affection throughout the day and it has really improved our relationship.

  • This is so true. You get so out of the habit of hugging or touching your partner because you use up all of your affection energy on your kids. I find that when I make a conscious effort to be close to him during the times we’re together, it makes me feel more connected.

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