7 Ways New Parents Can Improve Their Sex Lives
Expert advice on how to get your groove back post-baby.
You're lying in bed with your hubby next to you. You wonder if he'll make a move. You hope he doesn't because you're soooo tired and you want to go to sleep. But you also kind of wish he would just so you know that the whole pregnancy, childbirth, haven't-taken-a-shower-in-three-days thing, hasn't completely turned him off for good.
Sound familiar? Then you must be a new parent! If you feel like since you had a baby, your sex life has been MIA, you're not alone. While your little one has brought you a ton of happiness, he's also flipped your world upside down.
"Studies have shown that 90 percent of new parents actually experience a decrease in relationship satisfaction," says Ian Kerner, a therapist and author of "Love in the Time of Colic: a New Parents' Guide to Getting it on Again." But fear not -- just because "The Joy of Parenthood" has replaced "The Joy of Sex" on your nightstand, doesn't mean that you've lost your mojo forever.
"You just have to work on your relationship more than you did before you had a baby," says Kerner. "There's so much isolation and fatigue when you first have a baby, you have to remind yourself to have a good time."
Once you get your doctor's okay to start sex again, try these tips to reclaim your sexual connection:
Figure Out the Sitter Situation
Hire a date night sitter to watch your baby (look for one who specializes in newborns) -- or ask a trusted friend or grandparent to come over -- and have a date night out with your spouse. "It's never too early to find a babysitter," says Kerner. "You've got to reconnect as grownups if you want to find your way back to the bedroom."
Get Thee to the Waxer
Or manicurist. Or stylist. It's hard to feel sexy when you're covered in spit-up and haven't shaved your legs in a week. Trade baby duties with your partner or book a sitter so you can visit the salon, take a relaxing bath or get a pedicure. If you feel sexy, you'll be more interested in sex.
Make a Sex Date
"Now that you're a parent, you don't have the luxury of spontaneous sex that you had in the past," says Kerner. Plan ahead for when the baby is down for the evening and make an effort to solely focus on your sexual relationship with your partner.
Put the Baby in Her Crib
It can be pretty weird to have sex when you're in the same room as your baby, even if she's sleeping. So put your baby to sleep in her crib in the nursery and break out your monitor. "Keeping a monitor on -- set to a low volume -- may actually help you relax so you can enjoy yourself," says Kerner.
Just Make Out
Not comfortable going all the way yet? Kiss, cuddle, spoon or give each other massages to feel intimate without intercourse. "Be sure to talk to your partner about your expectations or limits, so that you're both on the same page," says Kerner.
Have a Quickie
Once you've gotten back into the saddle, so to speak, use baby's nap time for a spontaneous lusty interlude. And break out of your bedroom routine -- find love on the dining room table, kitchen floor, in the shower or the backseat of your car.
Just Do It
The next time you're lying there, wondering if your partner will make a move, beat him to the punch. That's right -- you make a move -- even if you're not completely into it. Chances are a little kissing and groping will lead to more, and that's a good thing. "The less you have sex, the less you want it," says Kerner. "And the more you have sex, the more you want it." Translation: Sex begets sex. Now go get sexy back.