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Let's talk about sex ... again!

It's been almost two years since we've boldly brought up the topic of what gets you in the mood, which was soon followed by Sarah's Ten Ways to Help Get Mom in the Mood.  There are lots of suggestions -- from looking through your honeymoon album or listening to your wedding song to getting your partner to bathe/diaper your tyke or folding the laundry.  Even going solo to watch a cheesy romantic movie.

With recent talk about resolutions to spend more quality time with a partner, and - specifically - to be more 'intimate', we got to thinking: what really gets you going?  A clean house?  A clean baby?  Talk about yesteryear?  Talk about the future?

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This is an interesting topic to me. As someone who has always had a higher sex drive, I find that I gotta "get some" at least every three days, if not more, or I can become very grumpy. I haven't needed a reason to make resolutions to be with my husband, we choose to be together and to keep communication about this topic very open. It also helps that I have become very confident about myself. I put on just a little makeup and maybe paint my toes bright red and hold my head up a little higher. Knowing my own confidence makes me irresistible to my husband and thats what gets me going.
On a side note, I have a hard time understanding how withholding sex, because of whatever reason, gets anyone anywhere. It just seems as if it makes people grumpier and brings them farther apart. Maybe someone can make it a little clearer to me.

I wish I was more like you Becky (and I'm sure my husband does too)! With three kids under 5 and working outside the home 3 full days a week, I honestly just have no desire to have sex. I can only hope that once I stop nursing a 5 month ol' that the old libido will make a reappearance. It's hard to get my brain to want to go there (much less my body) when all I can think of is all the things staring me in the face that need to be done at night after the kids are asleep. Seriously, if there was a pill to give me a higher sex drive, I'd take it. I don't like it at all that my needs are so different from my husbands.

I have to agree with Andrea, I am still nursing my son and with all the demands of two kids, working outside the home and life, I just do not have the desire or energy. That is not how I want it to be and it does take a toll on our relationship though my hubby is very understanding.
One of my New Year resolutions is to make this issue a priority and work through it the best I/we can. I look forward to other comments.

My hub wants sex every single day, and asks for it every single day. I'm much more of a quality vs. quantity person. I'm no good at pity sex, (bad sex is SO much worse than no sex we both agree) so I really do have to get in the mood. Most recently I decided to buy a new pair of sexy underwear every week. Doesn't have to be expensive, but it helps me get excited, and of course hub likes it. All I have to say is my relationship with my hub is so much better when we are having good, regular sex, not just because he's getting sex, but because it alters the way we communicate and how close we feel. I think that doing something new, going outside of your comfort zone makes it more exciting for the both of you.

As far as being tired, I have found that it's easy to get in the habit of NOT having sex. It's something I've had to put effort into. Once I started realizing that I'm not going to magically start feeling like having sex and started putting a little effort into it, I started feeling like having sex more. That goes for both of us. My hub has been really good at listening to what I need to feel relaxed.

I just have to add to my previous post that when there are certain times in our lives (three kids, an infant, working, breastfeeding) where something's got to give. Things change as kids get older but it's hard to see the other side when you are in the middle of it. Things always change!

One last post. Obviously this is an interesting issue to me. One thing that really has worked to make us closer is changing our night-time routine. We used to plop down, turn on the TV or watch a movie, grab a glass of wine and veg. Now we more frequently turn the TV off and just talk, or read the paper or dicuss kid things or non-kid things. We really have been good about setting aside the evening time to focus on each other when we can instead of using it to accomplish more stuff.

I've had a hard time with this one. Sometimes I rationalize having sex by thinking to myself, "Well, it only takes about ten minutes to have sex, so just give it a try! You'll get into it eventually." Then I remind myself that if J has had a bad day or says something snarky, it can be a major turn off. It is really sexy when he makes a point to connect with me or wakes up with the baby so I can sleep more. I've come to the conclusion that Involvement by J is the sexiest thing ever. Involvement in housework, baby wrangling, asking about my day, etc. It is easy for both of us to have our heads in other aspects of our lives and if we can tune those things out and connect, maybe our sex life will improve.

I should also add that I recently learned that I have an under active thyroid. Taking my thyroid pill daily has made a significant difference in my stamina, clearing the fog in my head, and overall sense of well being. Before I didn't even think about sex. Now my brain remembers that I should at least consider working it into my day.

I'm definitely with andrea, and anon -- 'pity' sex is the pits and with three young boys under five, more-than-40-hour work weeks and all the other stresses of life, from money to a dirty living room, I just have nothing left at the end of the day. IS there an end of the day? usually, not. last night my husband was feeling hopeful and before I could even get a teething, refusing-to-nurse baby to fall asleep, both older boys woke up with bad dreams or loneliness or who knows what. I really don't know when I fell asleep, but there were three boys in my bed, none of them was my husband.

I think it's more common for men to be able to easily set aside that portion of their brain that is "dad" and switch into "husband", whereas for me I need some serious mommy downtime before I can get in the mood for anything (even a good long kiss). I often feel like telling him that he should just put it away for the long term and wait until I wean Monroe, because there's very little chance at getting anything resembling true passion from me in the meantime.

what gets me in the mood, these days, is being all alone in a bed with no one, not one single person, needing me or touching me or saying "mommy mommy mommy!". ahh, if only.

So, I am not at all turned on by him doing chores. I totally expect that he does his part. I know it sounds harsh, but that's how I feel. I am lucky I wasn't born the 1930's.
Beyond that, I feel like doing "it" when I am happy which means I have (for that day) attained some resemblance of balance in my life. I got a work out in. I talked with friends. I put some time in researching what I want to "do" with my life career-wise when it's time to return to work. Basically feeding myself a bit, not allowing myself to be completed depleted. It seems a touch selfish, but I don't think it is. There are many days this balance does not occur and on those days, there is limited action being had besides a possible h.j. Yes, I came out and said it. It helps him over the hump, (no pun intended) and gets me off the hook. With that said, sometimes it leads something... Total TMI, sorry, just keepin' it real. Hau, I totally understand if you say euww! and delete this comment. :)

The thing about sex is once you start doing it, you like it. It's just getting to that point. We like weekend "naps" when baby is sleeping and we are lounging around. I also recommend vibrators, however, be warned - children are not allowed in It's My Pleasure. I learned that the hard way with a sleeping 3-month-old. :)

Elaine
www.girlgonechild.com

What a great topic! IMO, sex is critical to the long-term success of a marriage. With that said, I can also totally relate to being "touched out" (if one more person touches me, I'm gonna lose it!). However, with the added challenges a child brings to a relationship (exhaustion, no time to communicate, focus on baby instead of hubby, money, reduced intimacy...) withholding sex will only make everything else worse. I have found that when we are regularly intimate, everything else in our relationship works a bit better too. Often that means just telling myself to "do it" whether I'm really interested or not. My husband knows that I'm not generally passionate right now, he can sympathize. But he appreaciates me giving that extra effort to meet his needs too, and I feel good for having done something for him. I explained to him that right now I'm just not into sex and hopefully after baby's a year and finished breastfeeding my libido will return. Until then, he's satisfied with what I CAN give. My greatest piece of advise is this, don't stop having sex with your partner, it will only drive you further apart. Even if you're not in the mood, sex really isn't that bad, usually doesn't last that long (especially these days when it's a quicky at nap time) and by doing it, it will create a stronger bond between you both.

I have to agree with Elaine above. Once you get into the habit of doing it, it's not a chore, it's fun. I have been on both sides. We used to have some long dry spells but since having kids I have become proud of my body. Sex is more fun because we have it a lot more and it's something to look forward to, not to avoid. My advice...buy some sexy nighties and figure out how to get yourself in the mood. Your husband will ask for it less if he gets it more. They usually only ask every day because they don't want to miss that one opportunity;) Enjoy yourself!

I find, post-kid, that sex is somewhat of an issue because I am almost always in the mood in the morning (when kids are all around) and almost never at night (after a day of kids, it's very hard for me to get there). It wasn't as much of an issue when there was just one child (ah, those mid-morning naps) but now with two, it is truly a struggle. I agree, though, that the more you do it, the more you WILL do it. We've also started to schedule dates where teenagers take our kids to the park on a weekend day and we stay home.

I've been thinking of this topic more and more since I made my first post. And while my opinion hasn't changed, I do remember being given a book to read in my first year of marriage. We all know how difficult that first year is and so a friend gave me a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I am not a big self-help book reader, so I was very skeptical, but I read it anyway. And my husband even read it, too. The very basic point was that we all feel loved in different ways: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. At the end you take a quiz to kind of help you determine how you feel loves, and it can be in more than one way. It has some good points and more than that I remember it being an eyeopener, making us look at our situation from all angels. The book was passed on a couple of years ago, to another newly married couple. But I thought I would just pass it along to you all as well.
I also like a couple of points that the others made. I, too, expect my husband to do his fair share, just as he expects me to do mine. Just because he works outside the home, doesn't mean that his job is "over" when he gets home. And second, if not having sex can just become a habit, then why can't having lots of sex become a habit too? Once you get back into the habit and remember what you enjoy about sex as well as what your partner does, it will get better over time. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want and add other elements to spice things up. You owe it to yourselves and your relationship!! Also your kids will see how you connect, not in the act itself, but you know what I mean, and grow up understanding how to give and receive the kind of love they deserve!
Sorry that I've gone all sappy and crap on you all and that this is so long. I am going to liquor up right now, yes at 11am, to get back to my regular self :)

Becky, what do you mean liquor up? Are you going to get drunk this morning?
I have heard great things about that book.

No I am not really going to get drunk this morning, or tonight or for a good long while. I am 36 weeks pregnant and intend on nursing in the future. It's just a little joke that I have with a few friends, from way back in the day around the time we were in college and we laughed about something that would take our minds off getting too serious. I apologize if this offended anyone. I did not intend for it to!

Well, first things first. you HAVE to turn the TV and the computer off. As a person who has more than my share of lust, I can tell you that for me and certain partners I've had, these are things that kill it. They suck energy and time and obliterate opportunities for actual sensual fun. Would you really prefer to surf the web for 45 more minutes or get it on? On your deathbed are you going to be saying "I wish I had surfed the web more instead of [insert your favorite sensual activity here]"?

[Hopefully, you've shut the lid of your laptop already and are heading straight to the bedroom. But if not...]

As a guy I've observed a weird contradiction in my relationship with the female partners I've had in my life. Normally I'm the one pushing for sex, so it seems like they don't need it as much as me. But when I get really busy and for some reason don't come on to them, they get *really* troubled. On an emotional level they need it more. Girls sometimes need pity sex too. :)

The problem with getting it on here in this child-rearing stage of life seems to be this. Sex is about having your senses awakened and your logical mind obliterated (or at least put on hold). But all the challenges of caring for children -- from providing them with a stable house to getting them to bed -- inevitably put you in an armored and logistical mode. You bristle with details about money and cars and dishes. You turn your senses off to make it all work. Now how do you turn them back on?

Three suggestions that have worked for me and partners I've had:

1) The very best way, IMHO, is to get alone and get bored. If you have enough time by yourself to do nothing and to not check email and to forget about those bristly logistical details, you will start seeing and smelling things and (sooner or later, depending on your drive) thinking about sex.

Unfortunately this can take many hours or days to work -- time that sometimes isn't there. As alternatives:

2) Masturbate. It'll help you remember what it's all about and make you want the real deal more.

3) Do stuff that breaks you out of our domestic rut. Show up at your partner's work. Take them out for a drink even when it makes no sense. Go down on your partner in the bathroom of an art gallery. A little surprise can go a long way towards waking the senses up, whether you're male, female, or whatever.

Becky, I wasn't offended, just curious. A little Bailey's in the morning coffee, who knows, sounds good. :)

ok, first of all, Monica in Cali- i'm so glad you mentioned HJs. mostly because my friends and i always joke with this (and similar) acronym(s). i got a great laugh out of that!

i think these are great threads - the sex ones. i always tell my girlfriends (all young, childless and unmarried) that these are issues that are real and should be discussed as much as possible!

i particularly agree with turning off the TV. no matter who you are and how many kids you do or do not have, this is sure to make sex a greater possibility.

since i'm not married anymore, it's hard for me to put a valuable 2 cents into this thread, as my sex life has become a totally different animal then when i was married, of course. but i can relate to so much of this from when i was married and had a tiny nursing babe, and i appreciate these discussions.

I vote for spontaneity.
My husband and I went on our third date since our daughter was born(15 months), this weekend. We first went to some fancy place, waited two hours ....still didn't have a table. So we left. Decided to grab a bite at some dive... too smoky. So we left. We had 45 minutes before we had to pick up baby. So we parked. I won't say where, just in case that was you that walked by! But, ya know, sometimes it's great to act like a teen-ager again. It only took me two hours (and two absolut & sodas) for me to switch to my pre-mama mode.

I love these comments and that we are able to share thoughts and suggestions. I have been thinking of this a lot, of late, as it is indeed a resolution of mine for me and my husband to "feel closer".

Over the past few years, Sunday nights are reserved for chores done together, followed by a romantic comedy ("chick flick" & this is a way that my husband indulges me since he knows that this is my brain candy), then some nice bedroom action. Sunday night sex is a fun way to end the weekend and start a week.

Lately, though, he & I have been on an all-together good wavelength, communicating well on all fronts. And, even when we had a small tiff the other day, it ended with some nice bedroom action as well.

We are active these days and I think that some things that have helped us get over the hump:
- Kids are older (4 and 7), and nursing is almost 2 yrs behind us! I feel like I am more stable (hormonally) and my body is mine.
- Husband & I have our independent interests/hobbies/careers, and we try to support one another in them. In our over 10 yrs together, we are constantly working on better communication. A good relationship is a major turn-on.
- We agree to not fall asleep on the couch watching ESPN every single night. This is a major turn-off and source of irritation for me.
- We recently talked (with painful honestly) about likes and dislikes. Even when we are "in action", we talk about likes and dislikes, and it forces us to be more attentive to one another and sensitive to requests.
- Reminiscing. We found old love notes and mix tapes to one another. It brought us back to our young lustful times, which we reenacted it later that evening.
- Putting the computer away. In our household, we are just always on the laptops - paying bills, keeping in touch with the family, working, etc. We need to have an after-dinner drink without the computer and feel like we connect.
- Work trips. He & I travel for work, and we try to have long phone conversations when one is away. In a strange sort of way, we talk even more when the other is out of town. When the other returns, it feels like absence has made the heart & body grow fonder.

Okay, I really don't have much to add, except for we have a nice lock on our door and we do "it" in the mornings. We would never, ever have sex if we waited until night time. We don't even go to bed at the same time--I'm usually asleep for hours by the time DH gets in bed.

So it's like 5 in the morning. Don't get me wrong--we both hate waking up early, and it's not like we're setting the alarm clock or anything, but about 2-3 times during the week, one of us will gently wake the other (usually kisses to see if the other one will wake up), we'll get it on, throw our clothes back on, unlock the door and go back to sleep until the alarm goes off at 7:15. And, seriously, the post-coital morning sleep is probably the best few hours of sleep I get all night.

We are, though, pretty sexed up people, I guess. After both boys were born I made 3 week appointments with my midwife to get the go-ahead early to resume relations with DH (seriously...6 to 8 weeks?!). Now, though, I'm prego with #3, and my sex drive is still there, but I just can't orgasm. It's kinda strange--we all know about the potential libido drop during pregnancy, but I've never heard about that...

My husband and I have been together for 14 years and without a doubt the toughest time to have regular sex was the first year of my now 5 yr old daughters life.Here is our little trick for making time-we have only ever let our daughter watch movies when we need some "lovin".We joke that a good week is when my daughter watches 3-4 movies. The Dora episodes are great-20 minutes for a quickie,let her watch 2 if were not done and if its really good we let her watch the whole 60 minutes.Its actually nice to have a time cap,it gets me in the mood right away.We are expecting again in a few weeks and we have talked about what to expect this time around and I hope it will be easier to get back into the swing of things again,sooner.When can babies watch tv?? Da da da da da Dora

I have read all these comments with immense interest. Sex wasn't an issue for us after baby #1, but after baby #2 and a very difficult vaginal delivery and recovery, I'm finding that things down there just don't feel as good, and that I'm usually too scared of the pain associated with it to ever be in the mood.

My youngest is still under a year, so I'm hopeful that as I wean her things will get better, but definitely like everyone has mentioned, when there is no bedroom action, the relationship just isn't as good. I wish we were having 3x a week regular sex, but right now once a month is the reality, and even that once a month isn't good for me anymore (hello orgasm, where have you gone?) I also have kept on quite a bit of weight, and that combined with feeling "broken" down there still makes it really hard to get in the mood for lovin.

For women who had difficult deliveries, when did things down there feel normal again? I was never as lusty as my husband, but have considered weaning my daughter just to get my mojo back.

Douglas Brown, a feature writer for the Denver Post, just wrote a book called "Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!)"

It looks funny, I think I'll see if there's a copy at the library...here's an excerpt about the book:

"What began as a whim (and a great idea for a book) became a marvelous and often exhausting adventure, one that challenged Doug and Annie's notions about sensuality, sexual intimacy, and their own relationship -- and ultimately brought them closer than they'd ever been."

Here's the interview with them on Baby Center:

http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-one-busy-couple-had-sex-8211-every-single-night_10301967.bc?scid=pcbulletin_20081111:7&pe=flcZ2r

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