Hello-lo-lo-lo! No, that’s not the echo in one of Central Park’s cavernous underpasses. It’s the sound in my vajeen after birthing three kids without the assistance of the scheduled C-sections favored by my Upper East Side neighbors.
I feared that, post-stork, sex with me would be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway. The moms whose doctors performed cesareans around the Duke basketball–game schedule seemed to walk through life with a twinge of superiority.
And yet, after 23 years with my husband, the one thing I can say with pride is that we have never had a dry spell. Even as a die-hard feminist, there is one very 1950s thought I live by: if you don’t bang your husband, someone else will. And yet, according to a spate of new studies, people (especially those between the ages of 35 and 44) are having sex troublingly infrequently. No coincidence here: this is when little children invade the household. It’s not like I don’t know what that period is like. After three kids in four years, do you actually think I wanted to rip my husband’s clothes off every night? But there’s Bordeaux for that. I’ve always been attracted to my cute husband, but it was the sheer exhaustion of babies and toddlers that sapped the energy out of me. So that data all makes sense.
Except guess what? The latest bad news on sexlessness doesn’t pertain to married people. Even twentysomethings are suffering. Why on earth? Well, there are many reasons. Scientific American points to our phones. In the olden days, a love interest was the last thing you interacted with before bed. Now it’s Twitter.
On a cold night, if there was nothing good on TV, most people would pass the time the old-fashioned way. Now there’s gaming with strangers and streaming Netflix. People are also drinking less, leading to a lack of social lubrication that can lead to feistiness. And let’s not forget the economic engines behind the lack of va-va-voom. With so many Gen Z–ers burdened by student-loan debt and gouging rents, record numbers of them are living with their parents. Not hot. And these digital natives have been reared on Instagram, so they tend to be more interested in cultivating friend groups (versus a single romantic partner) to avoid FOMO. Many of them are also so used to texting that face-to-face convo can be Awk AF.
In the olden days, a love interest was the last thing you interacted with before bed. Now it’s Twitter.
And then there’s pornography. Adolescents are first discovering sex on their phones, and when they compare themselves to professional fornicators, they feel insecure and inadequate. Easily accessed porn also demystifies sex, rendering it less magnetic. In the “olden days” of my 70s childhood, when someone’s dad’s copy of Playboy put the tit in titillating, there was still mystery about the whole shebang. Sex wasn’t discussed in polite conversation, but it was whispered about on the school bus, which led me to put it on a pedestal even more.
Which brings me back to those new moms. If you’re up to your elbows in diapers and drowning in a tsunami of fatigue, hang in there. Have a glass of wine or three, talk about it, and carve out time for yourself. You might be asking, Why does it matter, anyway? Because sex has been proven to positively impact cognition, physical health, and emotional well-being.
And the funny thing about kids is this: if you feed them, they grow. I now sleep nine hours a night and don’t freak about hearing little footsteps mid-shag.
And as for my ruined down-yonders? I got a vaginal-rejuvenation injection. That’s right. After a somewhat uncomfortable (but mercifully brief) penetration by a lightsaber, I’m as tight as a trophy wife. While they were down there, they also drew blood from my arm, centrifuged the stem cells, and injected them into my clitoris. This was done while I was fully conscious, with the assistance of laughing gas. You can imagine how that went. This little procedure can dramatically increase one’s ability to climax. The doctor said that, for the next 48 hours, I might even orgasm while peeing. When she called after the surgery to see how I was faring, I was honest: “I’m drinking a two-liter bottle of Poland Spring.”
Jill Kargman is the author of Sprinkle Glitter on My Grave and Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut. She also created and starred in the Peacock series Odd Mom Out