For many women, loss of desire for sex tops the list of sexual health issues.
Ask any busy mother what’s been sacrificed in the years after having children and she’d probably say that her sex life was the first to go, followed closely by a full night’s sleep. Aside from a never-ending to-do list, mothers have to contend with exhaustion, post-baby body issues, work stress and a lack of time for herself.
So how do you reconnect with your sexual self?
1. Ditch the guilt
Cape Town sexologist Marlene Wasserman, also known as Dr Eve, stresses that sexual dysfunction in the modern mother is not abnormal. In fact it’s totally understandable for a busy mother who is constantly exhausted ‘not to feel sexual desire’. Instead of beating herself, a woman (and her partner) should accept that in the busy child-rearing years, it’s okay for sex to be on the backburner for a while. It doesn’t mean that all intimacy stops. Cuddling and reassuring each other that reconnection will take place when the time is right is very healthy. Sexual desire will return, even more so when a partner has been understanding during the lean years.
2. Do it for yourself
When you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re less likely to feel sexy. Remember to invest in yourself. Whether it’s a spa treatment, losing a few kilos or buying pretty underwear, remember it’s about pleasing yourself and feeling good in your skin.
3. Take responsibility
If you’ve not been enjoying sex, don’t simply blame your partner. Identify what the problem is. Antidepressants and certain other medications can suppress libido. Ask your GP if this may be the case and rule out any other medical reasons for flagging desire.
4. Talk about it
It’s not always easy to tackle sexual problems in a face-to-face conversation with your partner, but ignoring them will only result in increased awkwardness. Perhaps a trusted friend, therapist or women’s group where you feel more comfortable with the dialogue is the best place to start. You might find that being more comfortable with the subject makes it easier to discuss matters with your partner.
5. Change your self-talk
Stop telling yourself you’re no longer a sensual person, or you don’t enjoy sex anymore or you can’t have an orgasm. Our biggest sexual organs are our brains, so if you’re having problems, your head is a good place to start.