The Invisible Sex Life of New Parents

Love and Sex

The Invisible Sex Life of New Parents

Illustration: Akshita Monga

If there was ever a full sentence that could be classified as an oxymoron, then this is it – The Sex Life of New Parents. Why, you ask? Well just like Donald Trump’s brain, it is non-existent. If it does exist, it is rare, awkward, and revolves around the bowel movements of your child. As terrible as that sounds, it’s wholly true.

What could easily be a listicle titled “10 most awkward times my kid wanted to poop” is actually my real life. My son is all of three and freshly potty-trained. Yay, right? No. While I am celebrating the fact that he has checked a big milestone, the party was short-lived. He has made it his life’s mission to find the most unique scenarios to take a dump. I have heard the sentence “Mamma… I want to potty”…  in the following scenarios:

•At every movie I have watched in the last year. So much so, that now, as soon as I buy the ticket, I pack a towel, baby wipes, and an extra pair of pants.

•At a friend’s terrace party where I had to rush him down to the washroom in the slowest lift ever, trying to distract him with guess games on what colour potty it’s going to be this time. (You are only allowed to judge me when you have spent few excruciating seconds in a 4X4 suffocating lift, hoping there won’t be projectile poop all over you.)

•On every long journey in any mode of transport… flights, trains, cars. I think this is a new kind of “motion” sickness.

•While getting a haircut once with sonny boy in tow – true test of a parent’s patience. Just last week, when I sat down for a haircut, he wanted to poop as soon as the left half of my hair was cut. With half my mop looking like Monica’s hair from the Bahamas episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and the other half looking like a Spice jet air hostess’s bob-hair wig, I had to run through the mall to get the task done.

•On the very rare blue moon night in 59 years, when my husband and I wanted to get amorous.

This last one is a particularly sore point. Now, everyone knows that the first thing to go out of the window when a baby comes in, is your sex life. The same activity that would make you both deliciously delirious, now seems just like an annoying distraction to infinitely more important things like sleep!

But that night was one of those exceptional nights when the baby went to sleep early and we both were surprisingly awake and not covered in applesauce. So we thought of that thing that we used to like doing in bed but that doesn’t even occur to us anymore.

Thus began an awkward dance with great anticipation. It had been really long and we’d obviously forgotten the moves. And now we also had to figure out how to achieve this task, considering the sleeping boy does butterfly strokes while revolving 360 degrees in the centre of the bed. In what would put Crime Master Gogo to shame, we’d sneak out of the room to find that sweet and safe spot in the house where we could get it on and began to remember the road to each other’s bodies. Blissful, except only a few minutes later, when we had just crossed first base, I sensed movement from the corner of my eye. There was a two-foot figure standing next to us like the kid from  ‘The Shining” but only holding its tummy. I froze mid-kiss and hoped and prayed that it was just sleep confusion. Our prayers, instead of going to God, had reached Murphy who said “Tathasthu” and those magical words came in the middle of my now-dead sex life: “Mamma… Potty”

The realisation that your sex life is directly linked to your baby’s bowel movements is a sobering one. It can put you off sex for life.

Thankfully for us (and the future mental health of our child), our clothes were still on, so we dragged ourselves out of our amorous headspace and switched from the couple mode to parent mode and attended to the task at hand. The rest of the night was spent with a position we now call missionary – which is my son’s “mission” to keep us apart sleeping on either side of him until he probably goes to college.

The realisation that your sex life is directly linked to your baby’s bowel movements is a sobering one. It can put you off sex for life. But we were more mature. We realised that we have two choices: We either make peace with not having sex for a few years and keep the snuggling limited to the baby. Or we take the baby in our stride and go right back to making love as if nothing involving poop had ever taken place.

The second is easier said than done. By the baby dawdling over the potty, crying while cleaning his bum, and crying some more as he tries to go back to sleep, you are left with less sex drive than a Parsi panda.

For now we’ve made peace with being celibate for a while for a greater good: Of everyone getting a good night’s sleep. But when the blue moon takes over…