How I Reclaimed My Sexuality After 10 Years of Childrearing
It started with reclaiming my body, my space, and my own sense of self
When the man who would become my life partner walked into the bar, he flashed a smile that revealed his two perfect dimples. They were like pinpricks at each corner of his lips. My knees buckled slightly. I didn’t yet know his name, and it would be 18 months before our first date, but the physical chemistry between us was already palpable.
He told me later that he had to stop coming in on the nights that I worked because he didn’t want to risk giving in to temptation. We were both in other relationships at the time — his, toxic; mine, flat. Both of our partners would eventually leave us, then eventually beg for us back.
But they were too late. We were already tangled up together in his shabby one-bedroom apartment, sweating both from exertion and because his thermostat was stuck at 78 degrees.
The physical intimacy complemented and collided with our burgeoning emotional intimacy. We’d talk for hours, interrupt ourselves, then talk some more. It took months before we succeeded in watching an entire movie from beginning to end.
As I remember it, our undeniable mutual attraction took root and grew into love. But my partner vehemently denies this version of events. He insists it was love at first sight.
We were living together within a year, married in three. We bought a condo, painted our bedroom wall bright blue. Assembled a proper “adult” bed frame, one without metal legs, and purchased decorative pillows because adults, for some reason, require a multitude of pillows that serve no discernible purpose.
Our evening trysts were perhaps a bit less spontaneous, a bit more predictable, but still most definitely overheard by our neighbors. We had some dry spells and frustrations here and there — stress, low libido, performance anxiety — but always managed to get back on track. And we still spent hours talking, sometimes on our cramped balcony, sometimes over lively rounds of dominoes.
Then we had a baby.
I was lucky enough to have a mostly enjoyable pregnancy. I delighted in my swelling belly and breasts. I…