This three letter word can make or break a relationship, can start or end a bond, and shapes bonds between people. A lack of it can cause one to be unhappy, unfulfilled, or unfaithful — all attributes that can lead to divorce. But what happens when life gets in the way of a couple’s sex life? Black Love talked to four couples to get the scoop about their sex lives. They discuss how often they have sex, what factors can get in the way, and what they do to remain connected to each other.
On average, the couples say that they have sex between once per week and two to three times per week. The couples don’t keep track of how often they have sex, but have an idea of what their norm is. This norm does fluctuate, depending on what is going on in their lives. For several of the women, their menstrual cycles interrupt their sex lives (although Kia, married to Daniel for five years, says that her period does not impact sex with her husband except when her flow is heavy).
Work schedules can also impact the amount of sex had in a given week. College sweethearts Jennifer and Nathan, married for five years, say that exhaustion from a busy work day can limit the amount of sex they have. “Sex changed once we weren’t in college,” Jennifer explained. “Once we had responsibilities and a job to go to, an 8-5, it changed everything.”
“I Want To, But…”
“Once you have a child, your time is so taken. You have to be intentional about everything you do.”
For many of the couples, parenthood rocked their sex lives. “Once you have a child, your time is so taken. You have to be intentional about everything you do,” says Dequan, who has been married to Kimberly for seven years. Kevin, married for a month to wife Catrina, agrees. “Your attention is spread between your child and spouse, and then you also have to try and find time for yourself. It can be hard to find that balance.” For some of the wives, parenting small children has come with additional challenges. Breastfeeding mom Catrina discusses how nursing has impacted her. “I feel less attractive because of breastfeeding, and I’m exhausted. Our schedule revolves around the baby,” Catrina says. “We’re hoping that he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night.”
Having two small children has also led Jennifer to struggle with intimacy at times, particularly during her time as a stay at home mom. “I’m always giving affection to my kids, so by the end of the day, I feel like my affection is gone.”
“If I’ve had a rough day, I’m like ‘leave me alone.”
Busy work schedules can take away time for connecting as well. Kia and Daniel are both nurses and sometimes have opposite schedules. “He does better on less sleep,” Kia says. “If I’ve had a rough day, I’m like ‘leave me alone.’” Being busy can also lead to planning out or scheduling when sex will happen. “Now it has to be more planned and organized, which can take the fun out of it,” says Nathan.
“You do what you can to let the other person know ‘I still desire you.’”
There can also be lifestyle changes that severely impact a couple’s sex life. Dequan and Kimberly’s son was born prematurely and spent months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The new parents were by his side around the clock, and Dequan also traveled extensively during this time. Kimberly revealed that even after their son’s NICU stay was over, it was months before they had sex again due to the stress of the experience. But it was still important for Dequan to cultivate a sense of intimacy between him and his wife. “Even in those times it was a whole lot of booty rubbing. You do what you can to let the other person know ‘I still desire you.’”
“We try to make a point in making time for us,” says Kevin. “If it’s been two weeks of not having sex, that’s when we have to start scheduling time for us.”
Remaining in tune with your partner is a key ingredient that all of the couples described in having a satisfying sex life. “We try to make a point in making time for us,” says Kevin. “If it’s been two weeks of not having sex, that’s when we have to start scheduling time for us.”
Kimberly echoes this point and is sure to keep the lines of communication open with her husband. “We don’t let it go unnoticed. Let’s talk about why we’re not having sex.” Her husband Dequan adds: “We’re still one. Our spiritual connection is what sustains us, especially when sex is less frequent. Our spiritual connection is recharged by sex.”
Prioritizing non-physical intimacy is a crucial aspect of maintaining the fire within these marriages. If this aspect suffers, it can lead to feelings of disconnect. “One of our favorite things to do is to watch [the television show] “Ridiculousness,” and we’ll cuddle and fall asleep together. She’ll lay on my chest. That helps us connect,” Daniel says. “If it’s been a minute, I can’t just have sex because I’ll feel disconnected. Non-sexual bonding can help that. We can watch a movie, give massages, talk, laugh–things to get each other back to a good place,” Kia adds.