"I have seen a significant number of married couples who come to therapy to deal with lack of sex after baby," says Irina Firstein, a relationship specialist. "I don't think time is the issue here." When babies arrive, it can be the best time of your life. However, for many couples, their intimacy takes a back seat. "Many women, in particular, become exclusively focused on their newborn for many understandable reasons," Firstein says. "They get caught up in the minutia of baby care issues and lose the sight of the big picture: The husband." It's deadly to marriages, Firstein points out.
So before times get tough for you and your hubby, keep these tips in mind...
It's no secret -- when you have a baby, you gain a little bit of weight, and sometimes that can cripple someone's self-esteem... and sex life. "Many women have difficulties feeling sexual and sexy due to weight gain, tiredness and having many of the affection needs met by baby," Firstein adds. "Please don't let this get in the way of your love and sexual expression to your husband." Firstein reminds that the weight will come off.
Also, don't forget to take naps while the baby is also napping, Firstein suggests. And, most importantly, be excited when your husband walks through the door. If you're visibly stressed, there's nothing sexy about that. And by the same token, your husband should be just as excited to see you, as well.
You know how foreplay is sometimes more fun than all the action? Imagine how fun foreplay before foreplay is. Before you go home to engage in whoopie with your honey, entice him while he's in the office or running errands with a seductive e-mail. Not sure if you can do this from your work e-mail? Try a service like HoochyMail.com, an online service that brings couples closer together safely and securely. You and your man can share your fantasies via cyberspace. And the best part is, it's free. This is also a good service to use for long-distance couples and ideal when you are out of town for work. When you and your man finally get together, it'll be on!
Couples can't help but be busy. Not only do you have careers to worry about, now you have a baby. "If you must, schedule time alone with your spouse," Firstein advises. "Go out for a glass of wine once a week. Leave the baby with a sitter or a relative."
"Do not lose a sexual connection," Firstein warns. "It's hard to get it back, so don't let it dissipate to begin with." One way to stay connected with your spouse is to communicate your feelings, your worries and your triumphs. Talk to each other before you fall asleep, for starters. E-mail and text each other during the day --but please, keep it positive!
Actually, we're talking about your baby's sleep patterns! "Most babies sleep for at least a few hours -- even newborns -- which should give you some time to brush your teeth, your hair, turn off the lights and light a candle," suggests Stacey Nelkin, an actress and author of You Can't Afford to Break Up: How an Empty Wallet and a Dirty Mind Can Save Your Relationship. "After all, women want to look good for their men and candlelight can be very flattering for even the most sleepy face."
We're talking to the men, by the way. "Make time for some serious foreplay, guys, as fatigue can definitely lower one's desire," Nelkin says. "Women usually need to get warmed up, so to speak." Ladies, don't forget to give this special hint to your man. Or, you can always "drive the ship" when you're in bed together. Don't be afraid to ask for things!
Who says you can't have a little fun, right? "Sneaking off to another room, that is not the bedroom, can keep things fun and fresh," Nelkin says.
The hormonal changes might lower your sex drive, and that's okay. "That is when giving pleasure to your husband -- as in, oral sex -- can keep you both connected and keep him happy," Nelkin advises. "Sex does not have to be intercourse, and oral sex performed by you is sometimes easier than penetration."
Yes, the baby is a gift. But don't lose sight of why you and your spouse got together in the first place. "Make time to keep the spark alive. They say good sex begins for a woman when she wakes up, so keep the intimacy and love alive," suggests Dr. Eva Ritvo, psychiatrist and author of Concise Guide to Marriage and Family Therapy. "Plan and commit to date nights. Remember your baby will grow up and hopefully leave -- you want your spouse to be there forever. All relationships take work so create time for all family members."
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