We recently sat down with Jenny, the author of Whatever: Learning to Live Here: An Exuberant and Hilariously Irreverent Guide to Life, coauthored with Alexis Stewart (yep, Martha's daughter). While Jenny is a wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects, we took a lead from her popular "Sexy Fridays" series and decided to focus on pregnancy and postbaby sex. Not surprisingly, Jenny had a lot to say on why sex and parenting can be a tough combo, reconnecting with your partner sexually, and when and how to talk about sex with your kids.
LilSugar: Let's start with the basics: besides exhaustion, what are the hurdles that parents have to overcome when it comes to sex?
Jenny Hutt: Sometimes parents are having less sex because they don't even realize the time is passing by without sex! We are so busy as a society — shuffling kids from place to place, getting them to bed, bringing work home from the office and into the bedroom — that personal relationships can get lost. We aren't in the mood to have sex, so it doesn't happen. Time passes and awkwardness can set in; a rut turns into a bigger rut and so it goes. Plus our partners often receive the brunt of our not-so-friendly moods. Who wants to have sex when you're feeling moody?!
Keep reading for more sex talk with Jenny Hutt.
LS: Do you have any quick tips about how to get sex back on the agenda?
JH: Just do it! Even when you're not in the mood. Sneak into the room while your kids are watching TV or with a babysitter. Don't go out. Hire a babysitter and just pretend to be out. Close the door and reconnect; sex can follow. Even if you have to laugh about the awkwardness, get it reignited. Once you do it, it becomes normal again. And shave your legs! It's amazing how much of a boost being well groomed can be!
LS: How do you advise busy moms to get in the mood?
JH: Think about the benefits of sex. It is good for our anxiety, our minds, and our bodies. You will feel more connected to your partner, which in turn makes you feel better all around. Yes, we want alone time, of course, but remember sex doesn't take that long!
LS: Sex and pregnancy: what's your take and how would you advise pregnant women to get into it and their partners to be supportive sexually?
JH: This is a tough one. When I was pregnant, I wanted very little sex, and thankfully, my husband understood. I think every couple is different. Adjust to each other's needs as best you can. Remember there's really only five months of limited sex in a pregnancy during the second and third trimesters, and by the end, most women will have sex to try to get the baby out!
JH: Once kids are independent enough to be left alone on a monitor, closing the door for a quickie gets easier. And becomes more fun. And before that, put the kids to sleep and have sex. Or have sex when they're napping. We need to be creative and find ways to fit sex in. When kids are older and are sleeping through the night and less demanding of your time, sex gets easier, but emotional drama can set in. It's very important not to bring that into the bedroom or wherever you have sex. If your kids sleep in your room, find another room to have sex. We did!
LS: I admire your open and candid relationship with your kids. How much info about sex do you think parents should share and when is it appropriate to start the dialogue?
JH: I believe that kids need to know their parents are connected emotionally and physically . . . even when they say "eww, gross." Underneath the initial repulsion, they are probably happy their parents choose to be together in all ways. I think a discussion about sex is appropriate as early as it comes up in conversation. Typically, children will say something (about a crush they have or about their body parts) that will initiate the conversation. Pay attention! We had sex talks very early because of things my kids saw on TV and in movies and heard from older friends and cousins. Be clinical and honest. Start the no-shame game early and teach them to respect their own bodies. Sex is a beautiful (and funny and gross and weird and wonderful) thing when handled in the right way.
LS: Do you have any funny anecdotes about your own postbaby sex life?
JH: My husband (shown with Jenny above) and I were walked in on when my kids were very young, and we said we were wrestling. Thankfully, neither of my kids remember. More recently, one of my kids allegedly heard us having sex. Deny, deny, deny!