By Madhuri Banerjee
Most Indian couples don’t have great sex, to begin with, but even the little that they do have just dies when a child is born. Most men would argue that they suffer the most and claim their sleeping pattern from 0- 7 years of a child being born goes something like this:
*Cuddling with partner when woman is pregnant.
*Half sleeping on the bed with child and woman when baby is born.
*Sleeping on the floor in case woman needs anything for infant.
*Passed out on the sofa because you’re just too tired and need to work the next day.
*Trying to feel woman up over sleeping child to get any intimacy.
*Kicked in the groin by child and back to sleeping on the sofa praying kid is a genius and leaves for college early.
For most women after a child is born it’s just easier to keep the baby in the bed next to her so she can feed at whatever time of the night without getting up. It saves energy and feels convenient. In any case the woman’s libido has taken such a beating after giving birth that she would prefer sleep over intimacy. Most couples can’t afford to buy cribs or separate beds for children as well. Many Indian families can’t afford a separate room for a child. A middle class family may have a two-bedroom house where the in-laws stay in one room and the couple with the children in another. The only room then that the couple does have to themselves is the bathroom. And that’s why Indian toilet seats are the strongest in the world and yoga originated in our land.
When I had my child, I was gifted a beautiful crib and I tried every night to keep my daughter in it. We even had a separate bedroom where she could sleep when she turned two years old. However, she refused to sleep till the wee hours of dawn, being a night bird wanting to play with all her toys on our bed! In the morning when she finally fell asleep I looked like a nightmare from hell and my husband would feign early office meetings to get away from any intimacy we could ever have. By then foreplay was splashing on some cologne and saying are you awake.
A lot of women I know of any class, age or strata of society sleep with their children for several years. They tell me, “I don’t really need sex anymore. It’s not an urge.” I tell them it’s not like a brownie that you should be giving up anyway. It’s a primal instinct that needs to be nurtured and a relationship that you need to have with your husband that makes you stronger as a couple. I think they’ve just given up trying to get the child out of their marital bed. It’s mission impossible Indian style.
Just as I gave up feeding one fine day after a year to reclaim the power of my breasts, I sent my child to the other room when she was seven years old to repossess my sex life.
I coaxed her, cajoled her, redecorated her room with fluffy stuffed toys that would keep the monsters of her mind away, told several bed time stories and eventually got her to sleep there regularly. The first few nights (ok weeks) she got up every night to come into my room and I would guide her back to her room to fall asleep again. Then one fine day a miracle happened. She slept through the night. And the next night. And eventually every night.
A part of me missed cuddling her in the morning and waking up to her soft baby smell next to me. But I stayed strong and didn’t invite her back to sleep with us. My limbs felt nicer from not being kicked by a seven-year-old at 2 am. And I could finally get some intimacy in my life. Except the man of the house was now more passionate about NBA, FIFA and IPL that had distracted him for so many nights over the years that when I was finally ready, he had lost his libido!
Most couples have their second child then. By a sheer one-time miracle session of sex. And the pattern repeats itself for another seven to ten years of the child sleeping in their bed. By then one is too tired, too old and too nonchalant to care about intimacy and would much rather have a good dessert over an orgasm any day.
So a sincere urge for couples to stay strong and let their child cry and throw tantrums while you put them in the other room as soon as possible. Cuddle in their beds in the morning. Snuggle with them during the day. But for the big O’s sake keep them out of your bed at night.
(Madhuri Banerjee is the bestselling author of nine books. Follow her on social media @Madhuribanerjee)
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