Life with babies and kids gets significantly hectic and with all the energy aimed at the li’l ones, there’s not always much left for the ‘ol bedroom. In fact, Breezy Mama has been receiving requests to cover this topic so I sent out an APB on the Seahorse Lounge to send me questions and many of you did. Thank you for reaching out, you Mamas who shall not be named, and here are your answers from the Masters and Johnson sex therapy trained Dr. Mark Wiesner, and with help from Cindy of Comprehensive Therapy on bringing sexy back.
1) I have a toddler, a job and a messy house. I’m tired. Come bedtime all I want to do is go to sleep. Friends and Nike all say the same thing- just do it. But I resent having to just do it when I’m exhausted and have a thousand things on my mind. Any tips on how I can get myself more in the mood without feeling like I’m taking one for the team?
Have the “team” pitch in and help with the chores to free up a little time for yourself before bedtime. Take a relaxing bath with lotions and potions. If you’re in the mood “do it,” if not don’t. Its OK to tell the “team” you’re not ready for the game, he’s going to have to play this one on his own!
2) I’m pregnant, it’s hot, I’m uncomfortable, and my hormone changes have squashed my sex drive. Any tips to re-light my fire under these circumstances?
The good news is: it will cool down, you will have the baby, your hormone level will even out, and your sex drive will come back. If your fire does not rekindle on its own, write back. You may find it helpful to read an erotic story or better yet write one.
3) My husband loves racy lingerie but I feel ridiculous wearing that stuff. I also happen to think it is a HUGE waste of money (um, hello I have a crotchless onesie but not a pedicure?!). I keep thinking, “What if there’s an earthquake? Do I really want to be pulled from the rubble in this get up??” What are some fun, sexy, mildly inexpensive alternatives to the standard see-through lacy, wiry, nipple baring, butt flossing torture devices I keep seeing at every Fredrick’s? Also, any tips for keeping a straight face?
What’s erotic is like beauty, it’s in the eyes of the beholder. Have your husband come up with some ideas. Men do rely on visual cues more than women for erotic stimuli, see what he has to offer. Have him wear a leopard jock strap, that way if there’s an earthquake the rescuers can enjoy him as well.
4) With my son, I went into labor 2 weeks early hours after my husband and I had sex. Did our having sex trigger my labor? Should I avoid sex during my last trimester to avoid pre-term labor?
This is a really good question for your OB-GYN. We do know that semen contains the hormone prostaglandin which is sometimes used in hospitals to soften the cervix and induce labor. There is no medical evidence that orgasms in the third trimester induces labor. There are, however, many wives’ tales that suggest it does. Maybe from wives who are looking for a reason to avoid sex. Refer to question #2.
5) I’ve come to the realization that like my Taco Tuesday menu, our love life could use a little variety and a lot of spice. What can I do to mix things up in the bedroom (without giving myself a Charlie Horse)?
This is a case where too many cooks do not spoil the pot. It’s not only your responsibility to create the sexual menu, its up to both of you. With that metaphor in mind, each of you create a sexual menu: appetizers, main courses, desserts (intimate or sexual behaviors). Print it menu style and each of you can alternate choosing from your partners menus for that evening’s activities.
6) Maybe it’s the stress of having two kids, but I’d almost prefer just to get sex over with and rarely have an orgasm right now. Any tips to help out?
Create a time buffer between your day as a mom and your evening as a lover. Take at lease 20 minutes for yourself and take a hot bath or do a meditation or anything that gets you out of the mom mode. See answer to question one.
7) Is it important for couples to share intimacy?
It’s generally more important to share emotional intimacy than physical intimacy to maintain a healthy relationship, however if one of the partners is feeling physically deprived it can lead to conflict and warrants professional attention.
8 ) Outside of moms being exhausted, can there be physical or psychological reasons they may not want to have sex or are unable to enjoy it when they could pre-baby? If so, what are your tips?
Yes, many. For pregnant women, refer to www.umm.edu/pregnancy/000214.htm and the answer to question #2 above.
And Cindy says for women that aren’t pregnant:
This is a common question we hear from moms. Clearly sleep deprivation and plain exhaustion from caring for kids stomps on your libido. Other common causes include post partum hormonal changes which may even lead to post partum depression (and more sleep deprivation). Many moms don’t even realize that breastfeeding also leads to lower levels of estrogen, which can contribute to a lower sex drive and also happens to lead to vaginal dryness. It’s not a reason to end breastfeeding, but it is a reason to get a great lubricant to help with dryness which often leads to pain (We recommend Slippery Stuff — click here to purchase for $5.40. It’s glycerin free). Body image issues also play a role in how we feel about ourselves. If we can’t wear our “sexy” clothes because they just don’t fit the way they used to, we tend to feel a bit more self conscious. Of course, pain from vaginal dryness or from scarring from a tear in the perineum or episiotomy can decrease libido. Nerve damage and weakened muscle strength may also lead to loss of muscle control and decreased sensation. Plain and simple, if have pain or numbness with intercourse, it’s not fun. Other contributing factors leading to low libido include the side effects from prescriptive contraception and anti-depressants (SSRI’s). If your taking one or both of these types of medication, ask your physician about other options that don’t stomp on your libido.
What can you do to increase your libido? First, get some sleep anyway you can. Second, exercise! Cardiovascular and Core Conditioning can do a lot for body image, sleep regulation, hormonal regulation, and pelvic strength. If you need help starting a program, contact a physical therapist specializing in women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction. The right exercises just might be the prescription you need.
9) Do you have any other pointers to share regarding spicing up/ keeping the sex life alive?
The answer to this question could be a book and there are many out there. If I continue to answer questions many suggestions will made similar to the “sexual menu” above.
10) Can you give a few book recommendations?
– Touch Me There!: A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots (Positively Sexual) By Yvonne Fulbright
For Amazon’s price of $10.17 (vs. $14.95), click here to purchase.
– Getting the Sex You Want: Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together By Tammy Nelson
For Amazon’s price of $15.61 (vs. $22.95), click here to purchase.
About Dr. Mark Wiesner
Dr. Mark Wiesner received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1976, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on sexual dysfunction. He did his post doctoral training at the Crenshaw Clinic studying the traditional Masters and Johnson technique of sex therapy. Dr. Wiesner has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of sexual dysfunction and uro-genital problems. He spent 15 years as a consulting psychologist at the Navel Medical Center San Diego in the Department of OBGYN evaluating and treating women with chronic pelvic pain. Dr. Weisner has treated many children with enuresis (bed wetting). His treatment of enuresis is an integrated approach utilizing the most successful methods of behavioral conditioning and physical therapy. He has extensive training and experience in bio-feedback and clinical hypnosis; however, utilizes an eclectic therapeutic approach in his practice. Dr. Wiesner is a strong advocate for integrative health care and finds it extremely important to work closely with allied professionals.
He has written numerous articles on sexuality and holds three patents; two are for sexual pharmaceuticals and one is a treatment device for enuresis. Comprehensive Therapy is excited to have Dr. Weisner as an adjunct to our pelvic rehab program!
Cindy Furey, PT started Comprehensive Therapy Services, Inc., a full service physical therapy clinic in San Diego, which specializes in Women’s Health and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in 1997. Cindy graduated from Northwestern University Physical Therapy in 1990. CTS is now a multi-disciplinary clinic, including physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, psychology, personal training and clinical nutrition for clients battling the conditions of incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, and obstetrical/gynecological/urological complications. Cindy’s ongoing continuing education in the areas of orthopedics, women’s health, and pelvic floor is extensive. She also works as guest professor at the University of St. Augustine Physical Therapy Program here in San Diego. Cindy Furey, PT partners in research projects, educates the fellows in physical therapy options for clients, and participates in grand rounds with UCSD Pelvic Medicine and the Naval Medical Center San Diego-Balboa. She is currently involved in the Interstitial Cystitis Collaborative Research Network for the study of manual physical therapy effects on bladder pain. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health, International Pelvic Pain Society, National Vulvodynia Association, and Vulvar Pain Foundation. She lectures throughout the local San Diego community on topics in Physical Therapy and Women’s Health. She is the proud mama of a 3 year old daughter.