Recently I started writing a column for The Telegraph, the first one having the title of “Why it’s impossible to have sex as a single parent“. They’re not all going to be about sex – I don’t have that much free time, after all – but it was an interesting introduction into the world of broadsheet journalism.
Sex has been quite fascinating for me since I became single, not because I’m a smutty harlot but because of the changing connotations around the differences between a single woman having sex and a single mother having sex: I really wanted to write about these. I met my ex-husband when I was 18 so the prevalence of sex in everyday nuances when you suddenly become single was really quite new to me. Exciting and intriguing but very new.
My article examined this, talking about how society would perceive a woman with a child having as much sex as some as my child-free single friends do. In my opinion, logistics aside, it just wouldn’t be acceptable to do it, or at least talk about it. My friends are at a stage in their lives where they’re past talking about penis size, now we’re on to school catchment areas and diesel vs hybrid. Sex generally isn’t something we discuss all that often.
And so I put it in a newspaper instead. So many readers of the piece said that I was self-pitying, that I should just go out and get myself a boyfriend and a shag. My favourite bit of feedback was: “I’d bone her while the kids are at school”!
Of course it’s harder (that’s what she said) for single to parents to have sex. I have two nights free in every fourteen and generally am so looking forward to having a sleep by the time these come around that I’m not thinking about anything else. That’s before you consider the point that I haven’t had anyone to do those things with for a long while.
And when the children are at home I don’t feel comfortable inviting any Tom, Dick (hah ;) or Harry round for nookie. It is definitely not appropriate to do that on the new sofa.
But in the small pockets of time I’ve had to explore my that side of life I’ve noted it really has evolved since I had kids; I’m much happier in my body, I feel good naked (ok, I mostly feel good naked), am a lot more confident than I once was… I guess having a midwife examine my hoohah once a month for a year and a half has its benefits.
Since I wrote my article I’ve been surprised at how little people seem to want to talk about sex. It’s not something I see as shameful: there are plenty of things I enjoy doing with little or no clothes on and I spend a lot of time talking about those. Sunbathing, full body massages, sitting in a jacuzzi… why is sex any different?
Along the same shaming vein there were comments about how ashamed of me my children would be when they grew up and read the piece but that doesn’t bother me one bit: we might not live in a ‘naked’ house but I aim to always be open and honest with them, our bodies, relationships and sex included. Sex is fun – why not shout about it?!
Single parent sex has also taught me so much about attraction, the people I’m attracted to, how important that magnetism is when you start to see someone, what makes a relationship last or not. You can be what I would have previously thought as the most handsome man alive but that doesn’t mean your sexual chemistry will be compatible with mine. I’ve had some of the worst experiences with the best looking people: a pretty face does not mean there’ll be electricity.
Pushing sex even further into the realms of my day-to-day life, I recently looked into some research with the good people of Durex who have outlined 10 ways that sex is good for your health. For example, did you know that 20 minutes of sex can burn more than 80 calories? Or that a weekly shag can help boost your immune system? And that if you up it to every other day your skin could look 7 years younger?
Makes sense to me. I’m off away with a new man this weekend (hoorah – though he is neither called Tom, Dick or Harry) and I’ll try to spend some time working on my health ;)
If you fancy doing the same take a look at the Durex Advent Calendar – a new position for every day until Christmas. Genius.
Big thank-yous to Durex for supporting my blog and my sex life.