It Takes A While To Get Back On Track
My wife and I are new parents. We knew that our sex life would be on hold for the first few months after the baby was born. But it's been six months now and things aren't back to normal. We both would like to have sex more often but we're rarely in the mood at the same time. What can we do to jumpstart our sex life?
Armin Brott answers:
Just as you and your partner can't always agree on what movie you want to see or what you want to have for dinner, you can't expect that you'll both feel sexually aroused at the same time. She might want to make love at a time when you're simply too tired to move. Or you might want to have sex when she's feeling "touched out," having spent an entire day with a baby crawling all over her, sucking her breasts.
The months right after the birth of a baby are a particularly vulnerable time for your sex life. If you had great sex life before or even during the pregnancy, don't take it for granted that everything will be as it was -- you'll still have to work on it. And if you're pre-baby sex life wasn't that great, don't count on it getting better anytime soon. Either way, here are a few suggestions that might help smooth over some of the rough spots you'll invariably encounter:
- Figure out what, exactly, is motivating you to want to have sex. That may sound ridiculous -- you want to have sex because it feels good, right? Well sort of. "Sex can be an expression of monogamy, intimacy, love or even an affirmation of one's sexual identity ('I'm a man and this is what men do')," according to Linda Perlin Alperstein, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco. "It can also be the only way some of us ever get held and touched lovingly in our culture." And for some people (this is pretty rare, though) sex is thought of exclusively as a way to reproduce.
- Talk.Most people -- men and women --feel embarrassed to tell our partner exactly what we like and don't like. But doing so is absolutely essential -- not only to getting your sex life back on track, but to the overall health of your relationship.
- Negotiate. If you really want to have sex and she doesn't, ask her -- without putting a lot of pressure on her -- what, if anything, she'd be willing to do. Would she, for example, be willing to masturbate you? Would she hold you in her arms or let you touch her breasts while you stimulate yourself? It goes without saying (or at least it should) that you should be prepared to reciprocate. The object here is not to convince her to have sex with you; the two of you should be working toward creating an environment in which you both feel safe expressing your desires and in which each of you can turn the other down without fear of causing offense or hurting feelings.
- Be completely honest. If you and your partner agree that you'll hold each other like spoons and kiss, but that you won't touch each other's genitals, don't go over the line. Doing so will only make her tense and not trust you.
- Change your attitude.A lot of men have the idea that every erection has to result in an ejaculation. But is having an orgasm the only way to experience pleasure? Not a chance. Sometimes just getting aroused -- and leaving it right there -- can be fun.
- Start dating again. No, not someone else -- your partner. Having a good sex life can certainly contribute to the happiness of your relationship, even the wildest, most amazing sex doesn't guarantee anything. So make sure to set aside some time every day -- even if it's only 15 minutes -- to talk about life, work, movies you've seen, books you've read, politics, whatever. But don't talk about anything to do with your baby.