Our culture tells us that women are either virtuous madonnas or filthy whores, but never one and the same. Many women I meet struggle with their desiure for a full, happy sex life — not to menion screamin libido after they become moms — with the pressure to shield our children from that side of ourselves.
Mom and Kardashian family member Kylie Jenner told The Independent:
“Motherhood and sexuality can coexist and just because you embrace your sexuality doesn't mean you have loose morals or you're not a good mother. You can be sexy and still be a badass mum.”
While many factors play into how horny you are after giving birth — whether you nurse, the ease of your birth, stitches — some research finds that moms are plenty horny and have lots of sex. My personal research as well as hearing from tends of thousands of moms over the years found that after a breakup or divorce, women are often really horny and enjoy their newfound sex lives.
Single mom and sex, why it is better.
When you feel comfortable with your body, let go of past hang-ups, and are less critical of your partner – that’s when stuff gets good.
Plus, there’s no pressure to have babies.
There is something amazing and magical that happens when women divorce. They get beautiful. And they get horny.
It's no coincidence these two things go hand-in-hand. Or that they follow divorce. No matter how contentious or acrimonious or downright explosively miserable the end of your marriage was, being divorced is better. It always is. It was sad. It sucked. Now it's better.
Here is why:
After divorce, you feel alive again
When you finally sell off the engagement ring, that heavy, nasty weight of your ex leaves and you realize that you will survive and that life does go on, all of a sudden the sun starts to shine a little brighter. You start to notice the different shades of green of the leaves in that tree that has been outside your house for years and years. Your children seem unbelievably wonderful, and your own reflection in the mirror starts to not look so horrible. It is as if those cracks of light inside of you are now on the outside. And everything about you — on the inside and the outside — everything is better.
And the men. The men! All of a sudden, you start to notice that there are men in the world. Not just people with hair on their arms who smell different that we do. They are men who have bodies and hands and deep voices that offer compliments and eyes — eyes. Eyes that look at you and make you realize that those men are thinking things. Things about you. And that makes you think those things about yourself, too. And about those men. And those men? They're everywhere.
Sex can finally be just about pleasure.
And sooner or later you find ways to be with those men. On dates, and in bed. And you cannot believe how much better it was than the last time around. The last time you were in your 20s! You were silly and looking for a husband and had an agenda!
This time? Who cares!?
Well, you care — about everything. About all those feelings and the touching and the joy and the thrill and that passion and the love. Love wasn't this great last time, was it? Could it have gotten better? And yet you care about nothing. None of those things that were on your list. You have those things yourself — the kids and the house and the career. You start to see the spots in yourself that a man can fill. And you start to see men in different ways. Because you are different.
Men are better after divorce, too.
There is no speculating this time, no guessing about what he might look like in middle age, or whether he will fulfill all those dazzling plans he lays out, or whether he has the capacity for love and friendship and joy. Because now they have track records and portfolios. Of life. And you shop for them, and try them on and enjoy them. That is the thing about being divorced and dating. You enjoy men. Because you enjoy yourself. And life is full and secure like it wasn't before. And what is more beautiful than that?
Nothing breaks my heart more than a woman who cannot be without a man. That personality is always rife with desperation, bad decisions and alienating others who love her best. Never a good look.
Even if you are not prone to the dramatics of partnering up ASAP, you may feel like a loser because you are not in a relationship.
It is normal to feel sad and lonely if you don't have a boy- or girlfriend. (It can also feel horny, but that is a slightly different topic — don't get those confused!)
In this episode, I share why being single is such an incredible opportunity you should not squander.
It doesn't have to be forever, but if you couple-up right away, you miss out on so many opportunities for personal growth, a new adventure, learning so much about yourself, others around you, and what your next relationship might be.
Mom bod and sex after motherhood
Worried about dating with your mom bod? From my book, The Kickass Single Mom:
If you are like me, all that hard-knock life that you just lived through made you a better person. And better people just don’t give a shit about things like cellulite, perfectly minty breath or perky tits. You also don’t care so much about whether your partner’s back is furry, or his gut paunchy, or his head dome-y. Maybe you’re not quite there yet on any of these fronts, and that is OK. I address this later on.
For many moms, including myself, motherhood freed me to connect with my sexuality in incredible ways. After all, having a baby is all about bodies- my body swelling and birthing and nursing another human body. I found a sensuality in those years being pregnant and breastfeeding for the sake of another person. I found acceptance, too. Along with the beauty and power of child birth is pain, and excreting body fluids in front of others, and paying very close attention to what both my body felt, as well as being in tune with another person’s body — sensibilities that were then ignited in new and different ways when I connect with men.
Also, I stopped giving such a shit about things that used to stand between me and very powerful sex. Kids — and getting them into the world — involve people pooping and peeing on and near you. You likely pooped and peed in front of other people. And there was lots of unabashed nudity — all in the name of arguably the most gorgeous thing in the world (which, you can argue is either a baby, or sex).
Earlier in my life, I was a little self-conscious about my small, banana boobs with their flat nipples — my college roommate would tease me about my ‘bologna nips.’ But those banana-bologna boobs nursed two gorgeous babies who immediately flourished into deliciously fat, healthy little monkeys would I could not be more delighted to take some credit for, thanks to my awesome breasts. Suddenly, I loved my banana-bologna boobs!
Ultimately, however, I am here to tell you that men just don’t give a shit. They are just not that picky. Sure, some guys are really, really into Barbie bodies, and maybe they are gym rats or athletes and their partner’s physique is paramount in dating. That is fine. There are millions of men, most of them middle-aged people who don’t look as great as they did 20 years ago. They are worried that their T-shirt shows off their man-boobs, or what you will think about their arms when you’re making out with him and squeeze his biceps.
Also: many men struggle with impotence. A lot more than the last time you dated. In fact, this is a huge, new problem that I want to write a whole book about (culprits: porn addiction, feminism, and side effects of psychotropic pharmaceuticals so many people take). So while you are worried about your muffin top when you’re riding him, he is terrified his dick won’t work. His fear is worse.
After divorce as a single mom, you can experiment sexually
Recently single mom friend Sarah and I were IMing about how we prefer men who are aggressive in bed.
“I'm the CEO of my entire life!” Sarah complained. “Do you know how hot it is to let someone else take over for 20 minutes?”
“It's not just in bed – give me a vacation from my life for a while,” I responded. I was referencing my weekend date — a guy I met on OKCupid named Lou who I have pretty much nothing in common with but proved to be the perfect Saturday night activity.
For the past few months I've been in a dateless funk fueled by disappointment that a love interest didn't pan out and a long, grey, life-filled winter. Despite being little of what I am looking for in the long-term, this Sicilian-born, Harley-riding electrical engineer from Queens charmed me with a witty profile, flirty and articulate messages and pics that suggested — quite accurately, I found — a darling smile and a 6'3″ body built like a brick shit house.
Hotness aside, I knew Lou was just what my mental health needed when he called to arrange the date. He would drive to my neighborhood, so, per protocol, I promised to text him a location to meet. “What are you talking about?” he said in a loud, friendly, Queens accent. “I'm picking you up and I'm taking you out!”
Music to my ears!
Let me back up here. If I had to describe myself — which one is prone to do when she finds herself juxtaposed with a Lou — it would be that I'm a New York intellectual who dates more or less the same. My boyfriends tend to be writers and filmmakers interested in lefty politics and sustainable urban development. Lots of skinny jeans, the occasional fedora and dates that involve plenty of polite negotiating and triangulating a mutually convenient meeting point. Lou is Republican who wore a gold crucifix under his slim-cut waffle shirt, and he picked me up and took me out.
When I got in the car, I immediately took to Lou's big, warm vibe. He took my hand and kissed my cheek hello, cracking a giant, handsome smile. “What's this?” he said. “You're the only woman I know who doesn't do her nails!” And off we went in his pickup all the way across Queens to a neon-lit Mexican restaurant with valet parking.
I could write a whole post on the beauty of going out with men you have no interest in dating long-term. If you don't care if you ever see the guy again, somehow everyone is freer to be themselves — and enjoy each other more. If I was looking at Lou through relationship goggles, I might have bristled when describing his most recent relationship with a woman who moved into her new house by transporting one dining chair per day in her car.
“Look, sometimes I like to be a man, you know?” Lou said. “I told her, ‘Listen, I'll come by Saturday with three of my friends and we'll move you in one day.' But she said I was being too pushy. Women!” Instead of recoiling in feminist disgust, my interest was piqued. What other ways did he like to be a man? And was he going to show me on our singular date?
That's the thing with the Lous of the world, Sarah and I agreed. We love that they take over plans for the evening, and then take over our bodies for the night. When you are an independent woman with lots of responsibilities, many men assume that we want to carry out that strong role all the time. But I need to feel like a woman, and the times I enjoy that most are when I am with a man. If I am being honest with myself, being a woman means – to a degree – being passive. And that requires a man who is – to a degree – the alpha.
Lou is not going to be my boyfriend. My boyfriend will be “an artsy-fartsy guy” (as Lou described my type) with whom I will triangulate our first date. I loved hanging out with Lou, the macho way he relieved me of any responsibility for the evening, the easy way I fell into passively following his lead, crucifix dangling in my face much of the night. But I am a woman with an opinion or 50, and a clear vision for my role in the world. I can't imagine settling for anything less than intimacy with someone who is my partner, my equal. Can that person be someone who is totally dominant? Could I ever be happy being consistently passive?
“You're fun to hang out with,” Lou said, pulling the covers up to his chin. “Do you like to spoon? Roll over, let me spoon you.”
And I did.
Sex and dating in middle age are actually a lot like dating as a teenager
One Sunday morning I had brunch with my brother Josh and sister-in-law Susan. They're in their early 30s, don't have kids, stay out late, and sleep in on weekends.
Susan grilled me about my date from the night before while my little brother pretended he'd lost his hearing.
“We went for Ethiopian food in the Village and then he drove me home,” I said.
“Why didn't you invite him up?” Susan asked.
“Are you crazy? The kids and the babysitter were there.”
“So what, he got to second base in the car and then you were home by midnight?”
“Oh my God. That is so funny. And that's so early!”
I felt a little defensive about my single mommy lifestyle. Because, really, what can you do? But then I realized that dating as a single parent is kind of horrible and awesome in the same way that being a teenager is horrible and awesome.
In fact, while necking in his four-door sedan (car seats in back) my single-dad love interest and I were laughing about all the ways that dating as a parent is the same as dating in high school:
It can be tricky to find alone time, everyone's finances are limited, and you often have to answer to the scrutiny of parental figures. After all, had I ushered my date upstairs Saturday, I'd have had to face Karen, our beloved long-time babysitter who serves as a surrogate grandmother to my kids and me. What would she think?
My friend Sarah is a professional single mom whose ex lives out of state — drastically limiting her child-free hours, and forcing her to turn to babysitting from her mother in order to get laid. Tapping her inner teenager, Sarah always lies to her mom about her whereabouts when she goes out with men, lest she get “the third degree about whether he'd make a good father.”
“I don't want to lie, but I also don't want to deal with the judgment,” Sarah told me. And so she obeys her mom's rules–or else she pays the price. “I told one guy I went out with that we'd be skipping dinner and going straight to sex because I had to be home by 11:30,” she said. In my case, I was acutely aware that every minute spent making out in that car also came at a price — the cold, hard hourly rate paid to Karen.
The upside of all this finagling and sneaking and financing is that it collectively mounts the lusty, torturous tension lacking in readily-available sex. Like, for example, in marriage. In other words, sex as a single mom can be unbelievably hot. Which was probably not the case when we were in high school.
But Sarah and I agreed that sex isn't the only part of dating that makes us feel like we're in 10th grade again. I nearly didn't publish this post. I mean, what if my date reads it and feels betrayed or embarrassed and doesn't call me again? I mean, OMG, I would totally DIE, cuz I like totally like him! But like, would it be my fault? I mean, he knows I blog about my life or whatever, so, like, whatever!?
Bottom line for single moms and sex: Recognize you have needs and desires
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