by Alexis Barad-Cutler
The other day, I asked Mom Group: “What cuts through the Mom Thoughts so you can feel like being intimate?” We had just had our inaugural event — which was amazing, by the way — and of course, sex had been a part of the evening’s conversation. One mama in the audience had brought up the question of how to re-find intimacy with one’s partner after the giant smack-down that is becoming a mother happens. And that question led to other questions about how we are even supposed to go about wanting to have sex, if we can’t even bear to look at our own postpartum bodies. Motherhood presents a tidal wave of change. So. Much. Shit. Happens. Physically, mentally, emotionally — its a miracle that a couple survives their first year after having a baby together. Even the second, third, ninth year, it doesn’t get easier. The mental load of motherhood fucks with your brain, and can make it nearly impossible to muster a single erotic thought. So how do we do it? Literally, how do we get our Mom Brains to want to “do it”, so that our Mom Bodies want to go along for the ride? I threw this question out to the Mom Group community, and here’s what you all said:
For some women, it’s all about knowing like their partner cares and demonstrates that care through actions, without they’re having to even ask:
For other moms, touch, eroticism, and physical expression of desire helps get them in the mood:
There are mamas for whom the ear or the mind is the key to lighting their sexual fire.
A good old-fashioned date night is never a bad idea:
And of course, for quite a few of us, we’re still figuring what the fuck we need to do to find our sex drives:
It seems like we are waiting for our partners to validate our sexiness, before we are allowing ourselves to feel sexy.
There is a common thread in many of the comments above that is worth giving some thought to: That in the path towards getting in the mood, we rely heavily on our partner’s desiring of our bodies, or expressions of desire towards us. It seems like we are waiting for our partners to validate our sexiness, before we are allowing ourselves to feel sexy. And really, the only people who can make us feel sexy is ourselves. If a woman doesn’t feel confident in herself, or like a person worthy of desire, how is her partner supposed to see her as such? I feel like this is a big burden to place on our partners — to throw our definition of sexual worth onto their laps, and requiring that they reflect it back at us.
I don’t have the answers about how one can begin to regain the “sexiness” one may have lost after motherhood — though I have some vague ideas about it, and I know what worked for me. This is not to say that our partners are completely off the hook, and that they should not do the types of gestures above to help move things in a good directions. By all means, we need their help (and frankly, all the help we can get). But, none of it will move the needle an inch if we don’t put energy into re-instilling our confidence in ourselves first. We have to both be willing to pour our energies into rekindling our sensual and sexual fires. You can’t light a fire without a spark. (Also: Sexting doesn’t hurt, either.)