Dear Dr. Judy,My husband and I are thrilled to have our first baby. In many ways our relationship is better since little Kara came into our lives. We have more to talk about together and spend more time as the three of us. There's one problem: when it's just the two of us -- in bed -- things have gotten worse. He doesn't approach me for sex as much anymore, and when he does I feel like we're just going through the motions. What's wrong and how can we get back to the way it was?
Don't fret. First-time parents losing their sex-luster is extremely common -- and curable! There are many solutions. First, address the practical problems: having no time alone, being too tired for sex. Solution: insist on at least one hour two evenings a week. or in the middle of the day on weekends, just for the two of you. If necessary, have someone else (a family member, friend or trusted neighbor) watch after your little girl while you have this private time. If someone doesn’t immediately come to mind who could fill in, brainstorm: who might be a baby-sitter, like a neighbor, family member, even a local day care center personnel who wants some extra work. ALSO, accept that your hormone changes may affect your sexual desire for now! Don’t be so hard on yourself; trust that these hormone balances will shift back. ALSO, fairly allocate "baby chores," so not just one of you is exhausted while the other has energy – for sex or other things. ALSO, unearth psychological changes: perhaps a belief that "parents" should not behave erotically, or repeating your own parents emotional stand-offishness, or projecting unresolved childhood angers towards your parents onto your partner. Another one of my favorite pieces of advice for couples in this situation: if you think of, or refer to each other exclusively now as "mother" and "father," you can trigger unconscious incest taboos that make you avoid one another sexually. It’s okay to sya to your child, “your father” or “your mother” but when addressing eachother instead of saying “daddy” and “mommy,” use your real names; better yet, use pet loving names. ALSO, spend romantic time together. Plan "dates" where you treat each other as lovers. See your body as nurturing but also sexual (e.g. separate breast feeding from enjoying breast pleasuring in lovemaking). Don't expect perfection as parents. Resist power struggles about who's the best parent. Face and dispel fears: you may feel insecure about your body or attractiveness; he may feel overwhelmed, resentful or worried about extra financial or paternal responsibilities, or even competitive for your attention. Here’s a very fun – and unusual -- piece of advice: Take turns playing "who's the baby" so you both also get cuddled and pampered!
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