Despite the challenges, there are women who are enjoying an increased sex drive after kids, but for many it remains a continuing problem. Here, moms share their hints and tips about what has helped them improve their sex drive.
One of the reasons many women report an increase in sex drive as they get closer to age 30 is because they begin to feel comfortable with themselves. Having a child forces women to focus on the good things their bodies do, and for some this feeling carries over and permanently changes how they see themselves.
"Having a son made it actually 'hit home' that I was a woman. A lot had to do with my inner feelings about myself," says Joyce Anthony of Pennsylvania.
Don't try to do everything yourself. If you're too tired to stay awake for sex, it obviously isn't going to happen. Ask your partner to help out. If they know that it will make you more likely to be open to sex later, many partners will jump at the chance. Aline Zoldbrod, PhD, a Boston-based sex therapist and author of Sex Talk: Uncensored Exercises for Exploring What Really Turns You On urges women to "stop being a superwomen." "You will never feel sexual if you are exhausted and depleted and up to the gills in responsibility. Ask for help. Buy the brownies, don't bake them."
Sometimes all it takes to get things moving again is a change in scenery. Try staying at a hotel for the weekend to get away from your regular life. Look at your partner suggestively while at a party. Sleep in the nude. Try something different sexually that you have always wanted to try.
"Initiate sex," recommends Rhea Palmer from Tennessee. "Buy some sexy panties and wear just them to bed. Take control and be sure he knows what you want. I think foreplay is the key to anyone who has a lower sex drive."
Getting physically active can help women increase their sex drive in two ways. First, we feel better about ourselves, so we are more likely to feel comfortable enough to be intimate with our partners. Second, according to Debbie Mandel, author of Turn on Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind, and Soul, exercising releases hormones that raise your libido. Strength training in particular helps releases testosterone, which increases sexual desire.
Many women, especially those with younger children, are very reluctant to give up sleep for sex. When they are "on call" 24/7, sleep becomes a precious commodity.
"I really think it all boils down to exhaustion in my case" states Kate*, a mother of two in Pennsylvania. "I'm just too tired. If I get a few minutes to myself, I just want to sit, and veg, and interact with no one."
While many women agree with these sentiments, some pleasantly discover that when they give in and forgo sleep for sex, they really enjoy the results. The key is remembering these times when libido is low. Sex is actually a great stress relief.
Anthony reminds women that "great sex calms your nerves, actually gives you greater energy, helps you sleep sounder and generally increases your mood."
If, even after trying various things, your desire level is still low, you may want to try these two tactics:
One, if you had a sex drive before, think about what has changed. Zoldbrod recommends making "a list of the ingredients of your 'sexual recipe' back in the days when you were feeling more desire. Look at the list and see how far your current experience has diverged from your old experience with sex."
Make sure you discuss this with your partner, but be careful to not lay blame. You are simply trying to brainstorm ways to make things better, not point fingers.
Two, go to your doctor. The cause may be hormonal. Sometimes problems with the thyroid can cause desire problems for women. Also ask your doctor about birth control pills. Some doctors, including Dr Andre Guay, the director of the Center for Sexual Function/Endocrinology, think that the hormones in birth control may have something to do with low desire.
Whatever the cause, increasing your sexual drive will benefit your marriage and your well being. Make the effort. Kelly Muzyczka in Pittsburgh recalled telling her husband that they were so likely to be interrupted that she would rather say no and be frustrated than say yes and be annoyed later. "I think now that I was wrong. Try anyway. It's worth it for the times you DO succeed."
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