What happened to the sensual times you used to enjoy with your mate? One of the most common experiences that moms face is the sudden loss of their libido or sex-drive. It not only affects moms of babies, but also moms of teething toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Often we want to desire sex and yet cannot summon it. It is as if there is a disconnection between our minds saying, “Yes let’s!” and our bodies saying, “This does not compute” This is such a frustrating issue!
Why is my libido gone…let me count the ways
So how can you recover your libido-on-the-lam? First, you need to identify the reasons your sex-drive went AWOL. These are usually connected to your season of life and your season of mothering. Recognizing them gives you the search warrant for the libido you HOPED to reclaim.
Sometimes our female chemistry works against our sex-drive. If difficulties persist that cannot be explained by other reasons, you may wish to ask your doctor to check hormone levels.
Overwhelmed and exhausted
The most common reason moms have little or no libido is that they are simply exhausted! There is always too much to do, too many demands, and not enough day — or energy — to accomplish everything.
Lack of exercise is a common reason why the arousal mechanism often does not click on as easily as in the past. Also, recovery from a vaginal delivery can make intercourse uncomfortable for a while. You may fear discomfort.
Consider this: if you do not have time with your mate — time to talk, enjoy, connect emotionally and iron out any conflicts — doesn’t it make sense that your desire for this man will not sizzle? The brain is our largest (and perhaps most important) sex organ. If you are angry with your spouse because you are not getting the help you need, or if you are not spending time together developing your relationship, then your brain will not alert your other sex organs that “we want whoopee.” Anger and resentment are the ultimate “cold showers” for your libido. Also realize that stress in general and depression can send desire out the window.
Your emotions and body image also affect your libido. Do you feel you are now less desirable because of the changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery? Are the extra pounds of weight you’re currently carrying telling you that you are not “sexy”? If you talk it out with your spouse you may find that he likes your current curves. In fact, he may enjoy aspects of your “new body” even more than your previous body shape.
Especially in the months right after delivery, moms often have all consuming tunnel vision called “Kid vision” and are fully occupied with this new child. That is why it is especially important to carve out time with your spouse, to focus on him and your relationship. Your marriage is the most important relationship in your family; the one that holds your entire family together. It is not only important to spend time with your mate, it is vitally important to your family.
What Can I Do?
Date your mate
You need time together to remember why you love this man. Schedule dates on the family calendar — preferably at least every two weeks. Talk with a friend about swapping babysitting on date nights; trade off so both of your families can enjoy dates. Dates do not have to be expensive — even a drive together, or a cup of coffee at a restaurant without kids is a treat. Overnight get-aways without children are very helpful. Even if you go to the Motel 6 in your own town, being away and being together may rev up your sex drive.
Deal with any known issues that make you feel angry or resentful
Get physical so you’ll want to “get physical”
Exercise is proven to improve arousal for many men and women. The Kegel Exercise specifically strengthens the muscles around the vagina and can help you with arousal. They also help decrease urine leakage common after childbirth. To do kegels, imagine that your genital area is an elevator: when you contract these muscles, the elevator goes upwards, and when you relax them, the “elevator” goes down. For best results, do kegels for five minutes twice a day.
Do what you can to cherish yourself just the way you are.
Get a pretty nightie that flatters the curves you have now. If you cherish yourself, he’ll more likely enjoy your current state of body.
Take the pressure off
Do you feel like he only touches you when he wants sex? Or do you wonder, “It’s been so long; do I still know how to do this?” In either case, you need to rekindle the intimacy with your mate through touching that is not directly connected with intercourse. In fact, many sex therapists tell couples that sex is NOT allowed for a period of time, but encourage touching, kissing, talking and cuddling. Usually, this rekindles the flame and before you know it you are going against the therapist’s orders and enjoying sex again.
Put sex on the calendar
Although it doesn’t sound romantic, if you schedule the nights or times you plan to have sex, then it is more likely to happen. Also, the anticipation of it can increase your pleasure.
Just show up
Even when you don’t feel like it, often if you “just show up” and have intimate time with your mate, your body and desire catch up and show up also.
Find the humor wherever you can
You are attempting the nearly impossible when you try to have a normal sex-life while raising young children. You’ve got to laugh when everything goes wrong and a crying baby interrupts your intimate time. If you laugh at the realities, then you’re more likely to find creative solutions that enable you to rendezvous even though you have kids!
Dr. Carrie Carter is a mother and national speaker on health issues. She served as a pediatrician for more than 10 years in San Diego, California, has been a regular contributer to MomSense magazine and wrote Mom's Health Matters.
The information in this article is only a guide. Please talk with your physician about any health concerns and before you start taking any medications.