11 January 2013

Mojo

(This is a post about my sex life, so if we're going to be making eye contact with each other in the next few days you may want to skip it to avoid an uncomfortable situation.)

  Like with so many new relationships, when my husband and I first started seeing each other we were consumed with physical and sexual attraction for one another. If I'm going to be completely honest, our connection was based a lot on sex.

Obviously things progressed and we fell in love, moved in together, got engaged, I got pregnant and we married.

Before I gave birth, the thought of having to wait six weeks postpartum to have sex seemed like forever. 

 When you're trying to make a baby you have sex every chance you get. So much so that it can stop being fun and seem more like a chore. Still, it was something that happened frequently and I didn't think it would be possible to abstain for so long even with the stress we would face as new parents.

 Once expecting, I read all about how my pregnant hormones would rage and the desire to make love would go through the roof. I had also heard of men who are really attracted to and who lust over pregnant women in a creepy fetish way, so I figured Matt and I would want to do it as much as possible before the baby was born.

This wasn't the case for either of us. I wasn’t a glowing sex goddess like I envisioned but for a while our sex life continued without much hindrance, other than my lack of energy and occasional constipation getting in the way.

Once I got further and further along in my pregnancy though not only did my sex drive decrease but Matt's did too. I remember going to my doctor's for a routine prenatal checkup, maybe around 30 weeks, and as I was being checked out the midwife said she could feel the baby's head down there. I was a little bit freaked out. I told Matt all about my doctor's visit and he questioned how safe it was for us to be intimate. I assured him it was completely okay, but I felt weird about it too.

The only thing I could think of was how nonsexual sex felt while carrying a child inside me and being so close to delivery. Things in the bedroom slowed way down because it just felt wrong and awkward to both of us and I'm sure to the baby too.

After Natalie was born I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my libido returned. Once it was time for my post baby checkup my doctor gave me the green light I was ready to resume a sex life. We definitely made up for the time in between. Maybe it was the long break, or maybe it was the new bond and closeness that Matt and I now shared due to becoming parents together, but things were amazing. Natalie slept a lot when she was a newborn and this gave us plenty of opportunities to have some "alone" time multiple times a day/night.

I don't remember what age it was, but she got older and slept less and less. She needed more stimulation and attention, which we gladly gave to her. We were still having sex multiple times a week but the flame was starting to dwindle as parenthood took its toll on us. Longer and longer periods of time would pass without sex. A week, two weeks, three weeks and so on.

And then here we are today.

The older she gets, the harder it is for us to do the deed. I'm not going to get into the different stages we've gone through in order to get her to sleep (i.e. rocking her in her car seat, going on an hour long drive every night...) but know that it is exhausting. By the time she is asleep neither of us are in the mood. We get lazy and just want to veg out and enjoy personal free time to ourselves. Plus dealing with a cranky baby minutes before isn't exactly an aphrodisiac.

I guess I'm writing this to see if anyone else has had a similar experience and if you have any suggestions on how to boost the desire to get down? I know the Internet is full of advice but I want to know what works (or doesn't work) for real couples.

Anonymous comments are allowed for this post, so feel free to shamelessly dish it out if you're not comfortable using your real name.

23 Thoughts :

Shannon January 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM  

I really don't have a ton of advice. My jaw dropped when you said it was happening multiple times DAY when Natalie was a newborn. WOW -rockstars!

Andy & I have consistently been a few times a week kind of couple. And that never really changed through pregnancy up until now. But of course, Tay is a better sleeper than Natalie so that could be the big factor. For us, even if we aren't the mood, we do go up to the bed and have "laughy sex". We just joke around and laugh in bed and eventually just do it. It's often not very sensual and probably funny more than anything, but we normally glad we did it.

And funny story - as you probably know, my sweet girl has a floppy ear. We say it's from having sex up until the day before she was born. Hahaha. So yeah, I totally get the awkwardness of having sex late in the pregnancy.

Hilary @ Peanut Butter Spoonfuls January 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM  

I really love you for posting this, although I don't have any good advice to share. More just commiseration. If anything I thought it would get easier as time went on but nope, found the same thing you did. They sleep less and you are MORE tired and therefore LESS interested. How does anyone ever have a 2nd kid? Looking forward to reading words of wisdom here.

Ali January 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM  

Me and you are kindred spirits... I am now convinced. When I got to the huge pregnant stage (like, 30ish weeks) we were in the middle of sex and I felt Presley moving and was like, "Oh my gosh - give me your hand - Presley is moving!" Ummmmm.... BUZZKILL! Lol... we were both just awkwarded out of that sexual experience.

And our sex life hasn't been too much to talk about up until this point. Presley sleep schedule (at night at least) is more predictable now and for some reason I've just been wanting sex like crazy lately for the first time since being a mom. I went through a stage where having sex felt weird because no matter what I am doing a fraction of my brain is always thinking about Pres... so it was just weird at first. Now we're good.

This is going to sound lame as hell, but I find that when Tony is well rested and getting good sleep each night, that's when he's more regularly in the mood. And definitely just spending some quality time together at home actually talking and looking at each other rather than just looking at our phones/computers/etc! We are so bad about that.

Ashley January 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM  

Holy crap, I can't believe you did it frequently as you did after your baby was born. I had NO energy, and was just worn out. We didn't even attempt to do the deed until my son was almost 2 months old. Even so, sex was painful, and unenjoyable. Sex finally became more enjoyable for us, and our son is almost 5 months old.

We are getting back in our groove. I find it that it is helpful to laugh through difficult situations. For example, we are currently sleep training our son, and it has been hard; so we find humor in it, and not stress out about it. When we are just in a lazy mood, we simply do what we call lazy sex, spooning while watching TV, and sometimes it turns hot. Sometimes it doesn't. The physical connection is nice...just make sure your emotional connection is going strong too!

Megan January 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM  

With 3 kids we never have alone time during the day so our only chance is at night when I'm exhausted. I've gone days with telling Anthony, "nah I'm too tired" etc etc. And those days turned into 2 weeks (at the most) and it wasn't until Anthony finally gave up trying to have sex with me that I finally tried to do something about it. Sounds bad, but he said he just knew the answer would be no so he'd just go to bed. So even though there were times I didn't want to do it I acted like it anyway. And acting like I wanted to do it turned into actually wanting to do it. Fake it til you make it right?? haha.

Nessa January 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM  

Babysitter!
I'm kidding, kind of. But really.. multiple times a day?
I'm the opposite, because I was exhausted the first few months of Chloe's life (and single, so this whole sentence is pointless) and had I had the opportunity, probably wouldn't have wanted sex very often. Now Chloe sleeps amazingly. So I might be no help, but I can tell you some things I would try if in the situation. Force it every now and then. Sometimes if me and boyfriend go awhile without doing it, the first time feels.. odd.. but that's the best way to get started again. And maybe make more effort to flirt and such throughout the day, so it's on your mind. Dirty texts? Haha. Either way, if you find the trick, I hope you'll pass it along. So many people go through this at some point or another when kids are in the mix.

Stephanie January 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM  

Haha Shannon, your floppy ear comment cracked me up!

Stephanie January 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM  

I second what Megan said. I've never had much of a sex drive and I was one of those weirdos that was convinced that sex while pregnant harmed (or at least wasn't good) for the baby. So we weren't having much when I was pregnant before and then after, holy hell did it hurt! I'm fine to go with out. JJ however is not. Our schedules are off by about 4 hours, so when I am tired and ready for bed, he's ready to do the deed. I told him flat out if he wanted it, it'd have to be earlier in the evening while Chloe napped. Now that she only naps once a day, that's a bit more difficult. Putting her to bed earlier helps now. But yeah, he got to the point where he said he knew the answer would be no, he felt rejected (and was REALLY bothered by this - which I didn't realize until we had a long talk) so now I do a much better job making the effort. Even if I don't think I'm in the mood, once we get going, that's quickly out the window. We kind of made a game of it where once a week we would each initiate it. No excuses, didn't matter when, but that at least bumped us up to twice a week. Just know, you are certainly NOT alone!

Kate @ Daffodils January 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM  

I'm pretty sure that whole 'pregnancy makes you horny' thing is a big ol lie! Although, I love that line from Sex in the City where Carrie tells Miranda 'That's where dimples come from' haha. I think it is normal to have ups and downs and eventually you will find a place (and hopefully a sleep schedule!) where things feel normal again. Sometimes, Saturday/Sunday naptime for kids will do the trick ;)

Kristin January 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM  

What you are going through is completely normal and like others have said, WOW you did it A LOT during pregnancy and the newborn stage!! And I just feel like this is a temporary lull in the sex department of our marriage due to having little babies and it will get back to normal one of these days... :)

PS- Sorry the Hawks had to beat you guys last week! ;) It was a close game!!

Marjorie January 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM  

I heard that once a week is the norm for hooking up. lol Sounds like you guys were above norm before which is a goid thing :) To me I think the not sleeping thing is not right. It should be older they get better they sleep. What did her doctor say? Have you tried sleep training?

Kelly January 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM  

I just burst out laughing at the floppy ear comment. Scared B who was eating breakfast....

Kelly January 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM  

Thank you for such an honest post! I'm not sure I have any advice but I can tell you what we "try" to to do get in the mood.

When I was pregnant I wanted it ALL THE TIME..it was crazy. When I was about 34 weeks preg we were messing around one day and all of the sudden my husband was like "I can totally feel her head". Freaked me out but totally intrigued him...no more sex after that. I actually think he was a tiny bit happy about it because I had been wearing him out for months!!!

When B was a newborn I was surprised that I wanted to do it all the time too. I guess it was the connection you were talking about...and newborns do sleep a lot. But my problem was that it hurt soooooo bad. I had a bad tear and I swear sex hurt until B was at least 9 months old. I did it anyway (suffered though/cried a lot) because we didn't get to have sex a the end of pregnancy and then we waited until B was 8 weeks old. I felt bad for my husband! He wasn't pressuring me or anything but I felt like the more we did it the sooner it would stop hurting...anyway...

Now here we are and B is 15 months old. She sleeps well but I am worn out after a day of chasing/disciplining/feeding/playing with a toddler. My drive is the lowest it has ever been...ever. I do try to initiate sometimes but I don't do as well as I probably should. I'd say right now we are about a once a week couple? We used to be much better. I keep thinking it must be a hormonal thing since weaning but I don't know. I guess what I'm trying to say is we have had ups and downs in the sex department as well. People tell me it is normal? But it does feel weird to not be "like we were".

Sorry for writing a book!! And I do hope her sleep gets better soon.

Also, B goes to my moms on Sundays....perfect time to get down!

Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM  

I have to agree with many of the others above, it seems to come and go for us. Right now we are definitely in a down period but working to get back into a sexual groove... even more so after reading this post and reminding ourselves that we can't just be 'tired' every night! ;) I am sure you'll get back there soon too and I would not worry at all. My husband and I have had periods of way too long inbetween but we are still in such a happy, loving relationship. I know it must be odd after being SOOO into it before (which we haven't been like that (once a day or more) in years!). I actually just told my husband a few hours ago about Stephanie's idea above and said we should try that. We each have to initiate it once a week and the other can't say no. And in our 'rules' it can be any 'sort' of thing the initiater wants, in order to spice things up. You could always try something like this? Don't worry, it will come back.. there are ups and downs for sure!!! :)

marie January 12, 2013 at 7:40 PM  

Oh you're a brave one, hats off to you for such an honest post. I can tell you after 16 years of marriage, 3 kids, health ailments and the busyness of life it's still my husband's #1 priority. I love when my husband's happy, just makes for a happy home, so I make it a priority too. Sometimes it's easy, other times not as much, but I make the time.

I cringe when I hear woman complaining that they just don't have time for it and say they never have sex. I think in my head "well, maybe you aren't, but I am sure your husband is......"

Mama January 13, 2013 at 7:04 AM  

Haha omg the floppy ear..... Shannon this is too funny!

Mama January 13, 2013 at 7:07 AM  

You are so BALLSY for writing this!!! My in laws read my blog every day so there is no talking about dirty deeds for me. I remember the lull around 1 year.... it gets better. It took me awhile to figure this out myself but once I remembered that I am the adult and the grownup and wouldn't let a small child's bad sleep habits dictate my life..... everything fell into place and life got easier.

Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 9:25 AM  

I love your suggestion for the 'game' you made of it!! Thanks for sharing. I suggested this to DH last night because we have been in a bit of a lull so we're both excited to try this... and no excuses! :) At least twice a week will do for us right now.. and any more can be a bonus!

Nadine January 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM  

Hi. Great post as this is an issue for I would say 99% of new parents.

I am usually not in the mood but if my husband initiates and I am not half asleep I go along with it and within minutes I am in the mood. I also will initiate even if I am not fully feeling it and once again within minutes I am all about it. That is my suggestion as it works for me. If I went with my mood initially we would never do it.

I am not a fan of fitting it into a schedule. Having set days makes it job like. Hopefully you find something that works for you and your husband.

Also, how about a nice warm bath before you put your daughter to bed. That helps relax my daughters. We do a bath every night followed by some play time (that tires them out) followed by dinner and a book.

Yesterday someone also told me to youtube abc's so we did. We picked out the most relaxing and soothing song from the list and both my daughters fell asleep right where they were. One was on the play mat and one in my husband's arms and we put them right in bed. :) It was hilarious. Hopefully something I wrote was helpful. :)

ana January 13, 2013 at 10:33 PM  

Our daughter is 2 1/2 and we FINALLY feel like we are at the point where we aren't too exhausted for intimacy... I just wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you.. sounds to me like you two will always be attracted to each other (multiple times a week?!!) and will find a way for some "alone time" ;)

Sarah January 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM  

Hey lady - Crazy weekend and I'm just now getting to read this. I'm kinda like Stephanie where I don't 'NEED' to have sex to survive. We're a couple-times-a-week couple and except for a couple months before Drew was born, it's been pretty consistent. I honestly keep it up so as to not let the hubs down as I'm sure he'd love to do it 4-6 times a week. I am getting more tired now with a trying toddler and sometimes it's more of a get-it-out-of-the-way type sex at night.

One thing we've noticed is that sex earlier in the day is better as we're both less tired and have more energy. So like RIGHT when Drew falls asleep for his nap, we sometimes do it then! If Natalie takes a morning nap still, maybe utilize the weekends to do it then instead of waiting until nighttime? Just a thought!

Nessa January 15, 2013 at 10:29 AM  

I also love the game suggestion!

Noel Bressler January 17, 2013 at 9:49 PM  

I'm so glad I read this, especially since my husband is nearby and I could share it with him...we just had "a talk" recently in which he said he felt as though I must no longer be attracted to him because our sex life has dwindled...

allow me. What he means by dwindled is it went from nearly 7 days a week, sometimes multiple times a day prebaby (yes, we liked to do it! also...we drank a bit more back then, lol) to just a few times a week. And when it's really bad, ONLY TWICE A WEEK. What a poor deprived hubby, eh? Honestly though, I blame it on my birth control pills (more often than not, I'm just not in the mood!..I also blame those for my sweet pimple explosion on my chin lately but that's neither here nor there...) Point is, I tell him all the time to whine to his friends about his sexual drought and when they ask how long it's been, and he responds "at least two days", then he'll probably get kicked in the balls and be more appreciative :)) or something like that!