Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reigniting Couple's Sex Life

Reading what other women has to say about sex, and what make them make it a priority or not is very interesting. I have to say I have learned a lot from these women as they talk about their sex lives being wives or mothers. It's not so fair as I see it as the women just have too many thingsto do. Anyway, I do love to share this article by Lisa Armstrong as it would really make us womenthink deeply and ponder upon it. I mean, let's not make it or think of it as an"obligation" but look forward to it as a rewarding activity. How about that?

Following is thefull bibliographic reference to the article I am referring here:

Armstrong, Lisa. "How's Your Sex Life?." Working Mother Feb.-Mar. 2007: 33+.

How's Your Sex Life? by Lisa Armstrong
Like most working moms, Elizabeth, a sales associate and mother of two, has a detailed daily list of things to do to keep her northern New Jersey household running. Walk the dog. Buy laundry detergent. Take Nichole to ballet. Juggle a conference call. Have sex. Sex on the to-do list? Has it really come to this? For Elizabeth, the sad answer is yes. Even sadder, it's at the bottom of the list. Though she and her husband are trying to get pregnant, the only time they can squeeze in some lovin' is at 2:00 a.m., while they're both half asleep. "Sex is always at the top of my husband's list, but I have so much to do that I'd have to bump something off my list to find the energy," says Elizabeth.
While men are purportedly the ones constantly thinking about sex, chances are it's on your mind, too-whether you're wondering how to have more of it or calculating ways to fight your husband off so you can just sleep, damn it! We asked 800 working mothers about their sex lives and got responses like "Sex? What sex?" and "Three words: just so tired." A whopping 73 percent said that they're unsatisfied with either the quantity or the quality of sex they're having. One woman said she and her husband were intimate so infrequently that she felt like she had her grandmother's sex life. Yet studies show that-yikes!-our grandmothers had more sex than we do. "Fifty years ago, there was a clear division of labor, and one of the wife's responsibilities in tending to domestic affairs was to fulfill her husband's sexual needs," says Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever. "Back then, the average woman had sex at least twice a week. Two thirds of today's young wives say they are too tired to match that rate."
Okay, admittedly we're exhausted. But is that the only reason our libidos get less attention than the dog and the laundry? It's not merely a matter of energy, said respondents to our survey, it's also a matter of time. More of us hold jobs that are demanding, partly because they're more fulfilling, and yet we still shoulder most of the cleaning, cooking and child-rearing responsibilities. Seventy percent of our respondents said that their sex life got worse after having children; between work, kids and housework, there just aren't enough hours in the day for sex. But that's the simple explanation. Experts say everything from biological instincts to a lack of societal support also plays a role. Here's a look at the surprising reasons we're just not in the mood-and what we can do to revive the sensuous sex life we fear we forfeited for motherhood.
When Jenni, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, had her son a year ago, her interest in sex vanished. At first, she says, "I was breastfeeding and didn't want another person tugging at my breasts!" Then she grew resentful that her husband had time to hang out with his friends while she was up to her elbows in dirty diapers.
Jenni's explanation for their limp love life: "It's hard to let go and enjoy being with my husband because I'm always thinking of all that has to get done." But there's likely a more deeply ingrained reason that Jenni, as a new mother, is giving her husband the cold shoulder in the bedroom, says Edward Laumann, PhD, author of The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Women with children under the age of 6 are three times less likely to be interested in sex than other women, he says. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense: Back when we were hunters and gatherers, a woman couldn't escape danger with more than one young child in tow, so she avoided sex while her child was young to ensure survival. That biological hardwiring is today reinforced by the fact that women are exhausted. "Not having sex is a protective defense," says Dr. Laumann. "You don't want another child if you can hardly stand up!"
While working moms are quick to name indolent husbands as a prime reason for feeling so drained, that blame is somewhat misplaced, says Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic. "Yes, many husbands could be doing more, but the real issue is that there is a lack of support for parents in this country," she says. "This is the only industrialized nation [other than Australia] that doesn't have standardized, paid maternity leave, and where maternity leave is considered a disability." Perel has counseled couples in Europe, where there is more governmental support for working mothers, and says that there she doesn't see the chronic resentment that American women exhibit as a result of their isolation and lack of support.
As moms walk around with this pentup rancor, it sets a dangerous pattern in play, says Perel. The husband is continually asking for sex, and the wife withholds it, which in turn makes the husband resentful. Paige, a mom of two in Gainesville, GA, realized it was time to change things when her husband begged: "Just show some interest in me. It doesn't have to be a night of all-out sex, just a kiss-anything that shows you love me."
"I realized he was right," says Paige. "He was getting what was left over after I'd given to everybody else."
Our husbands may be doing less around the house than we'd like, but they're most likely doing more than their grandfathers did. Even so, most working dads have robust sex drives, while most working moms would rather flop into bed than fool around. According to Perel, women, who are far more easily fulfilled by an emotional rather than a sexual connection, become so enamored with their babies that there's less need for sex with their husbands. "The erotic ingredients necessary for a healthy sex life-novelty, curiosity, imagination, sensuality-are transferred from the husband to the child," Perel says. "There are languorous hugs for the kids, while the grown-ups must survive on a diet of quick pecks. Mothers might say: 'I'm so tired, I have nothing left to give,' but what they really mean is 'I have a sensual connection with my child and am getting everything I need from him.'"
Sally, of Brooklyn, NY, was enraptured by her son, now 3, when he was born. "I had this perfect, soft, cuddly little creature to bathe, nurse and care for," she says. Her six-foot-three husband was, by contrast, not quite so cuddly, and Sally became disinterested in sex. She had seen this with some of her girlfriends, but that was because they resented their husbands for not doing enough at home; Sally's husband was supportive and did his share of the chores. "The problem," says Sally, "is that while my husband and I worked well together, once our son was bom, we forgot how to play together."
Being playful is the key to getting a derailed sex life back on track, says Perel. To recapture the erotic energy that they had early in their relationship, couples must "create a space where you are not Mom and Dad but a couple," she says. Paige found that her relationship with her husband improved dramatically once she started spontaneously hugging and flirting with him. He'd complained that she usually ignored him and ran to her children when she got home from work, so she made a point of kissing him first.
The goal is not just to have more sex but to create a level of intimacy that will allow a sexual relationship to flourish. Every evening at around eight, after Lisa and her husband, of Leesburg, VA, put their daughter to sleep, they lie on their bed together for 15 minutes. They came up with this as a way to reconnect. Sometimes they just talk; other times they make love. "We've worked on it to a point that now it's a habit," says Lisa.
Though working moms are indeed tired and time-pressed, our survey revealed that 44 percent of us have sex once or twice a week. Like Lisa, these women know they must work at it. "When you don't have kids, you can do it whenever you want," says Lisa. "Now it means scheduling and making sex a priority. Just because we're mothers doesn't give us the excuse to stop being wives and lovers."
For the 22 percent of working moms from our survey who said they have sex fewer than 12 times a year, here's some advice from Heather, a northern California mother of two. She and her husband have turned planning their sex life into a fun little competition. During her entire seven years of marriage, she has put a heart on the calendar each time, she and her husband make love. They up their output in months when they notice the numbers slipping. At the end of each year, they tally up and set goals for the next. "Having sex on our standard to-do list makes us accountable to each other," says Heather. "When you measure something, it gets done!"
Putting sex on a to-do list may not be the hottest aphrodisiac around, but a healthy sex life is an integral component of a healthy relationship, say experts. As we schedule and scheme, compulsively drawing up lists to get it all done, we may indeed have to pencil in sex. Disheartening? Not really. We just have to make sure it's somewhere near the top of the list instead of the bottom.

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