Monthly Archives: April 2012

He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie

Arrow up (his & her drive)Last Monday, I began to tackle the subject of He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives. This post was in response to several reader questions about what to do when the wife wants to get it on more than the hubby does. (Okay, okay, I hear all of you jealous husbands wondering what is wrong with these men.)

The reality is that about 1/4 of the time, the wife is the higher-desire spouse. In fact, it’s the secret that never gets discussed because:

1. What husband wants to admit he isn’t a normal, sex-craving man?

2. Wives who express their desire for more sex are often shut down by other wives with statements like, “I wish my husband would lay off” or even “You’re lucky.”

3. We tend to discuss all topics from the point of view of the “typical.” Don’t believe me? Read a parenting book. If only my kid was the “average,” my child would have slept through the night within weeks, stayed in time-out after three tries, and potty-trained at age two. But no person or marriage is “average” or “normal” in every way, and some marriages have a higher-desire wife.

But today, we are talking about it here. Last week, I covered Internal Factors that might affect a husband’s lack of interest in sex and gave some tips for bringing up the subject without starting a wildfire in your home.

A few of you said that he won’t listen no matter what. If that’s your situation, here’s my advice: Stop talking about it. “Wait!” you say, “How are we going to solve the problem if we can’t even address it?” I’m not saying to stop addressing it, I’m saying to stop addressing it with words. If the subject is so volatile in your house, you both need time to diffuse. Lay off for a while — 3-6 months maybe. In the meantime, communicate — but not with words.

For both those marriages where the husband will listen and the husband won’t, there are external factors that might increase your mate’s interest in sex. As I stated last time, I eat when I’m hungry (internal) and when someone places a brownie in front of me (external). By the way, you church potluck cooks are brutal with the brownies! Too many, too chocolaty, too delicious.

Anyway. While talking with your spouse can help reveal and address internal factors, you can also influence your husband externally. Let’s take a look at this approach.

EXTERNAL FACTORS

Your words and actions can be external factors (like brownies) that make him more likely to want to have sex (eat). You want to be the kind of wife that would draw a husband closer. In essence, you want to Be the Brownie.

Brownie

“Be the Brownie.”
Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Note that I say be a particular kind of person, not just look sexy, throw yourself at your husband, etc. I’ve heard some suggest that the way to get an uninterested husband’s sexual attention is to don a lace teddy and stilettos, call him “Big Boy,” and offer to live out some sexual fantasy.

Hey, I’m not opposed to such things, but they are the toppings not the cake. You might get a guy to have sex with you by looking like a Cosmo cover, but that’s not marital intimacy. Ultimately, you want a sex life with substance and intimacy, so you have to invest in the relationship cake before you add a little icing.

Moreover, you can end up feeling worse if you decorate your bedroom like a love den, put on candles and music, show up in your sexiest get-up, and he ignores you or outright refuses you. You don’t want to end that night with him snoring and you dripping tears into your pillow as you wonder what’s wrong with you.

Let me help you out with that issue too: There’s almost certainly nothing wrong with you. Some of the couples I know who have amazing sex lives are people who would never get a call from a modeling agency or were poster people for the geek club in high school. It’s a fallacy to think that rock stars and Victoria’s Secret models are the ones with high sex drives and satisfaction. Maybe, maybe not. Most wives don’t need to look like Jessica Rabbit to get their hubbies hopping. The problem most likely lies within your husband.

But getting back to the subject at hand, how can you “Be the Brownie”?

Invest in the friendship. Sheila Gregoire has pointed this out well in her book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. You want to be the kind of wife your husband wants to be around generally and then you can move toward being together sexually. When the relationship is stressed, it is harder for most people to engage willingly and become vulnerable in the bedroom.

Do everything in your power (knowing that it doesn’t all rest with you) to be an appealing person to spend time with. Are you a nagging person? Do you disrespect him with your words or your body language? Is your home always a place of tension or mayhem? What negative issues might you need to address?

Have you forgotten how to play and laugh with one another? Do you make time for a date night — even if it’s hot cocoa and conversation on the couch after the kids have gone to bed? Do you ask about his job, his interests, his friendships, and then listen and support his answers? Do you find activities that you both enjoy to do together?

You spouse may be more willing to discuss the issues and/or engage with you physically if he feels accepted and valued emotionally in the relationship. Make sure you haven’t neglected this area. You want him to be your friend, right? Be his friend too.

Focus on affection. While friendship is an important aspect of marriage, sexless marriages often look like roommate arrangements with friends. I don’t know about you, but I have friends who would make easier roommates than my husband. Some of my girlfriends can cook like Paula Deen, aim at the toilet more successfully, would watch chick flicks with me, etc., and I’d never have to clean facial hair out of the sink again. But I didn’t get married simply for a roommate. I want the other goodies too.

But even if you aren’t getting the main event, you can get more than you would from a roomie. I don’t snuggle with my BFF, but I do with my husband. Physical affection is a precursor to more intimate physical affection. Hold hands, kiss (check out my post on kissing), hug, stroke him lovingly, etc. All without expectation of it leading to the bedroom.

The paradox is that ongoing physical affection without the expectation of sexual reward more often leads to sexual reward (see Must It Always Lead to Sex?). Moreover, an embrace lasting longer than 20 seconds can cause a release of Oxytocin — the body’s bonding chemical which is also released by men at sexual climax. So that affection may begin to awaken the physical arousal side of your husband and introduces loving touch in a low pressure context.

Engage in skin-to-skin contact. Beyond simple physical affection, try to engage in skin-to-skin contact. There is something about having your skin brush up against your spouse’s that can tap into inner arousal. Go to bed wearing as little as possible without being obvious that you want sex. For instance, keep the lace teddy in the drawer, but wear a cotton cami and undies to bed. Play footsie under the table at breakfast. Offer to put lotion or oil on his tired muscles or give him a massage. Ask for lotion or a massage yourself. Whatever gets you touching each other may help to reawaken his natural desire for physical intimacy.

Change your timing. Some people struggle with feeling stressed or tired by nightfall and having enough energy for lovemaking. You might try the morning since a man’s testosterone levels are highest at that time of day, and men typically awaken with a “maintenance erection.” I know a couple who has sex like clockwork every Saturday morning; that happens to be the best time for them to engage. My hubby and I have found that an afternoon or early evening are often better for us. See if you have better results at a different time of day.


Once again, you can do all the “right things” and still have an uninterested spouse. Your sex life does not all depend upon you; your spouse must make the decision to engage. But be assured that I hear stories quite often of married couples who had poor sex lives for years and then a turn-around occurred and they are livin’ it up in their bedroom now. Those couples are glad they didn’t give up.

Also, if you are in a sexless marriage, you may reach the point of needing to invite intervention from a godly mentor. Your spouse does indeed have a duty to you and to the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). You are supposed to be “one flesh” — emotionally and physically. Once again, I turn to Sheila Gregoire who did a fabulous post on this: When Your Spouse Withholds Sex.

Are there guarantees? No. Is there hope? Absolutely. God desires you both to have a healthy, fulfilling intimacy, and He can redeem any situation (see The Gospel in the Bedroom and My Personal Testimony).

I know I have included a LOT of links in this post. But I’m happy to provide other resources if they might help, so here are a few more:

From Kentucky Colonel of A Grown Up Marriage: Wives Who Are Sexually Refused

From Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage: Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren’t Getting It

From Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum: When Your Spouse Isn’t Interested in Sex: Communicating Your Needs

From Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband: High Drive, Low Drive: A Harmful Dichotomy

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your marriages.

Where to Have Sex: Part 2

As I mentioned in Where to Have Sex, Part 1, one of the ways to spice up your marital intimacy is by changing up your location. I covered some places you think might be good for sex, but not so much. My readers also added a few places that you should avoid, and the one that gets my vote for the biggest ick is a port-a-john (aka port-a-potty).

Clearly, my post didn’t reach some of you in time, though, as I heard stories of insect bites and other issues post-outdoor coitus. *smile*

Let’s face it: There is a reason why we so often choose our bed as the place to have sex. It is comfortable. There is a flexible mattress, cushy pillows, cool sheets, warm blankets, and plenty of space. However, there are other options besides the bed, an elevator, the beach, the table, and — heaven forbid — a port-a-john. I’m all in favor of varying the location to introduce a little spice into the experience!

Places that May Be Fun for Sex

Outside. Wait! Wasn’t that on my no-no list? Yes, but here’s the thing: The outdoors can be a beautiful setting for lovemaking, and the feel of a breeze on your skin can heighten arousal with your lover. The trick is to pick your outdoor location with care. You do not want to find yourself naked among the ant beds or poison ivy. Head to your backyard (assuming it’s fenced), your porch or deck, or find another private outdoor location. If you have a playground structure or treehouse in your yard, try that. Bring a blanket or quilt and let the moon provide the mood lighting and the birds, crickets, and cicadas provide the music. You could also set up a tent in your yard and camp out together.

A Vehicle. Well, it depends on the vehicle. Those of you who drive a Smart Car should put this one in last week’s “not so much” category. Also if you’re in a classic Corvette, you’ll find the stick shift kind of gets in the way. In the United States, however, vehicles have gotten larger and larger, so if you’re driving a van, an SUV, or a truck, you likely have ample room to get it on in the back seat or truck bed. Find an out of the way location or even your garage, pack a romantic picnic, and turn on your car radio. Turn off the vehicle’s engine and rev up your own engine. Pretty soon, it will be humming and purring with delight. Steaming up the windows and shaking the car are added bonuses to this activity.

A Chair in Your House. A chair is not a bed. But find a cushioned chair nonetheless, not a hardback wooden one. A chair is a great place to vary your intimacy routine because there are sexual positions you can get into with the assistance of a chair that are not easily done on a bed. The wife can sit on her husband’s lap facing forward or straddle him facing the back of the chair. The couple can use the chair for leverage or kneeling. You could also use a bench seat for the same purpose.

(I was tempted to link to a site with some positions, but I admit to being sensitive about such visuals. While tastefully drawn images can help, you don’t need a demonstration; you can explore and figure out what works as a couple. Just use your imagination.)

Water. By water, I mean any place where there is water — your shower, your bath, a hot tub, a river, the ocean, a pool . . . you get the idea. And by sex, I mean the whole kit-and-caboodle, not just intercourse. With those clarifications, I assert that adding a little H20 to the lovemaking can be a scintillating experience. Thus, the shower, pool, etc. is a fabulous place for foreplay, but not for penetration. (It’s too difficult to get into a good position, the surfaces are slippery, and the water can wash away the necessary moisture for comfortable entry.) But go ahead and get naked and explore one another’s bodies. Kiss and fondle. Lick and grope. There is something about the water against your skin that can enliven your senses and make you even more responsive to your spouse’s touch. When you’re ready for more, move the party to a more conducive location for lovemaking.

Pic from Romeo + Juliet

On a cozy rug or blanket. I’m not talking about a scratchy oriental rug that you bought at a garage sale and never cleaned. Or your childhood Holly Hobbie Quilt. I’m talking about a soft fabric placed on the floor — maybe in front of a fireplace or covered with rose petals and lit with candles. Aaaaah, inviting.

In a homemade fort. I’ve seen this idea on a fellow marriage blogger’s site, but for the life of me, I can’t say whose right now. (Step right up and claim credit if it was you.) However, I found a great picture, courtesy of a blog called Hill City Bride.

Homemade fort

Just like you did as a kid, build a sheets-and-blankets fort and decorate it however you want. Make it your love den. Then climb inside and get going. Doesn’t that photo inspire?

A boat. Actually, I don’t know if a boat is a good place to have sex. It’s just on my list of “I’d like to try it.” One reader last time said that they had a good experience on their boat. It seems like you’d need a big enough one to stay steady in the water, but a gentle rocking motion might be nice too.

Little Mermaid boat scene

Was I inspired by Disney?
from The Little Mermaid

And the strangest place my husband and I have ever had sex is . . . Actually, I can’t tell you. If that information came out, it could cause a little embarrassment to the people whose property we were on. I promise we were private and respectful. And it was rollicking fun. We still refer to that time now-and-then with a “Wasn’t that something?” grin and wink.

Okay, it’s time for you to gimme your best spots! If you need to do a little research first, I’ll understand. But share your best places for intimate marital lovemaking below.

He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives

Arrow up (his & her drive)Each Monday for a while, I will be responding to questions posed in my Q&A with J at HHH post. In the past couple of weeks, I received five comments from wives saying that they have a higher sex drive than their husbands. Rather than print the entirety of their comments here, this is the gist:

My husband thinks I am crazy cause I have a much higher sex drive than him!! What can I do to help him be more relaxed about sex and to get his sex drive up?

My sex drive is up the wall compared to him. . . He thinks I’m sex crazed and most times I think there’s something wrong with me . . .

Yes Yes, please help us wives who are the higher drive partner.

My husband and I are having a problem in our sex life. I think it’s serious, and he thinks it’s no big deal. I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he gets very angry at me, and it causes him to close up and not talk about it. I am a very sexual person, and [he] really doesn’t put very much importance on it . . . he makes me feel dirty for wanting it . . .

I yearn for him at night, and during the day I just stare lustfully at my husband. Wondering why he doesn’t want it as much as I do? I’m frustrated.

I have covered this topic some in previous posts: 

She Wants, He Doesn’t Want – A look at why your husband may not want sex

Wives Want Sex Link-Up – A link fest with other marriage bloggers’ thoughts

Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum also has a relevant post today on How a Marriage Changes.

Today, I want to talk about how to biblically and practically approach the issue with your husband.

Let me start with this gem: You cannot change your spouse. 

Hey, don’t blame me. I wasn’t the one who created free will. 

But it’s true. You cannot make your spouse have sex with you. The transformation in your husband must come from him.

There are, however, internal and external factors that influence our decisions. For instance, I eat when I feel hungry (internal) and when someone puts a brownie in front of my face (external). Don’t judge me. I won’t eat unless I make a decision to, but things happening in and around me impact my choices.

INTERNAL FACTORS

Internal factors are what’s going on inside your husband. Internal factors may include:

  • issues (past or present) with pornography that distort his perception of sexuality
  • low testosterone
  • depression
  • a history of sexual abuse
  • stress from job or other responsibilities
  • guilt from prior promiscuity
  • a lack of self-confidence

Like your spouse’s hunger, you cannot control these things, but you can help him identify what’s happening. However, we often choose the worst ways to get him to recognize the problem:

  • nagging
  • pleading
  • demanding
  • shoving information and research in his face
  • sharing the story of your cousin or your friend’s husband
  • over-the-top crying
  • quoting scripture at him
  • threatening
  • giving ultimatums
  • saying “If you loved me, you’d . . . “

These tactics make conversation unpleasant and tense, and many husbands will run from that faster than the Roadrunner from Wile E. Coyote.

Yet 1 Corinthians 7:4-5a says: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” That verse indicates that it’s a sin to deprive one another; the Bible commands us not to. So how can we gently point out that sin?

Consider Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you . . .” If a husband is struggling with depression, a pornography addiction, past abuse, or whatever, he doesn’t want to be slammed on the head with what else is wrong with him. But he does need to deal with the issues. So you need to ask how to best create a safe environment in which the two of you can openly discuss your marital intimacy.

Find a good place and time to talk. Here’s a hint: The worst place is in the bedroom and the worst time is after you’ve offered sex and he’s declined. Choose a time when you are not sexually charged or feeling particularly hurt. Get away from the house even, although make sure you are in a private setting. Keep your clothes on. Men often talk more easily shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face, so try a fishing trip, golfing, a nature hike, touring a sculpture garden — whatever suits your fancy and his.

Don’t make statements. Ask questions.

  • How do you think our marriage is going overall?
  • Growing up, who were your role models for marriage? How do you think they influenced you?
  • What do you wish you had done differently before marriage regarding sexuality? What are you glad you did right?
  • What did you think our sex life would be like before we married?
  • What would you like our sex life to be like?
  • How frequently would you like to make love?
  • What turns you on? What turns you off?
  • How can I be a better lover to you?

Now don’t grill the poor guy. This isn’t the Spanish Inquisition where you expect him to recant his heresy and adopt your doctrine on the spot. Choose a question or two at a time and let the conversation unfold. It may take several outings and weeks or even months to get to the heart of the problems. But you aren’t simply gathering information. You are demonstrating by your attitude and approach that you are a trustworthy confidante regarding this topic and want the best for both of you.

Adopt a “we,” not a “me,” attitude. Whatever his issue is, treat it as a WE problem. Even if he had brought some problem into the marriage, it is yours to tackle together. You are married — one flesh. Indeed, he could return that favor if someday you struggle with hormonal issues or depression that affects your own libido. Assure him that whatever the issue is, you aren’t there to wave it around in front of him. You want to be the helper that God described in Genesis 2:18.

Express your desire for intimacy, not just frequency. No one likes to be used. Which is one of the reasons why a lower drive spouse can react like prodded cobra when the higher drive spouse says they want more sex. They may not feel loved so much as used to meet a physical need.

Of course, you know and I know that’s not the reality. If you only wanted to release sexual tension, you could get that done without engaging your husband. Sex, however, is a physical expression of closeness and also fosters closeness between you. Focus your discussion on how you desire to engage with your husband in intimacy because you desire that closeness.

Ask for a win-win. Ask your husband to help you find a win-win solution that is not merely a compromise but meets both parties’ needs and desires. You may require a mediator to find that win-win. Perhaps he’ll agree to meet a few times with a counselor or your pastor and brainstorm ways for both of you to get what you want out of your intimacy.

Pray. Cover every step with prayer. And don’t make it, “Dear God, Please change my husband from being a selfish, ignorant jerk to a sweet, passionate lover. Amen.”

Pray for your husband to have the delight of sex with you. Pray for you to delight in him. Pray for you to reach accord. Pray the scripture itself when words fail you, and when they don’t. For instance, pray Proverbs 5:18-19. Here’s my translation: “Dear God, I pray that my husband’s fountain will be blessed, that he will find reasons to rejoice in me and our marriage. I pray that he will see me as loving and graceful and that my breasts will always satisfy him. I pray that he will become intoxicated by my love.” Can I get an “Amen”?

So do my suggestions place the burden on you? Um, yeah. Remember how you can’t change your spouse? The person you can control is YOU! You have to decide to take that deep breath, commit to being the best wife you can be, and do what you can to create a more intimate marriage. In the end, if you did 90% of the instigating, but you both are 100% satisfied with a fabulous marriage and sex life in the future, you’ll be fine with that.

Now I would love to address the External Factors, but I was told that my word count is not allowed to rival the IRS Tax Code — at least not in a single blog post. So rather than give terse treatment to the remainder of this subject, I’ll come back next week with more! Here’s the teaser for next Monday’s post: How to Be the Brownie.

Where to Have Sex: Part 1

At times it seems that we married people are a rather unimaginative lot. After all, most of have 99% of our sex in — can you guess? — a bed.

One suggestion for introducing a little playfulness, creativity, or adventure into your sex life is to vary where you have sex. Consider location, location, location. Besides atop the king mattress set, where else can a husband and wife be intimate? In the spirit of the medical ethics principle of Primum non nocere (“First, do no harm”), today’s post will focus on . . .

Places You Think Would Be Fun for Sex, But Not So Much

The Elevator. The thought of being alone in an elevator with your hubby, stripping down, and doing it against the wall or on the floor as you go up or down sounds adventurous. In fact, there seems to be a lot of innuendo, making out, and sex going on in elevators in the movies. There is even an Aerosmith song, Love in an Elevator (“Livin’ it up when I’m goin’ down”).

However, many elevators these days have cameras. So unless you’re trying to entertain the security guard with a free porn movie, why go there? Plus, if you push the Stop button on an elevator, someone might call for help, and you may be preventing someone from getting someplace they need to go. Finally, are you putting a plastic cover down, or messing up their carpet? I’m just sayin’.

Think of this: An elevator is simply a moving closet. If you want that experience, put full length mirrors along the walls of your closet, install a handrail, pipe in some easy listening tunes, and pretend to push the Lobby button. Same thing, no photographic evidence.

The Beach. Remember that great scene in From Here to Eternity in which Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr roll around on the beach in each other’s arms and everyone thinks, “Wow.” The sun’s rays beating down, the waves licking your bodies, the wind blowing through your hair. Could it get any sexier?

Lancaster & Kerr kissing on the beach

Now for the reality of sexual activity on the beach: Sand gets everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If you think the worst place to pick grains of sand from is your ear canal, you are sadly mistaken. Throwing down a blanket won’t stop that wonderful wind from blowing the sand your way. Plus, there are birds. You do not want a flock of seagulls watching you mate or dropping their souvenirs on your head.

The Kitchen Table. Another movie-inspired idea, I think. Thanks to Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham, it’s appealing to a lot of women to imagine the husband clearing off a table and taking her right then, right there. This could also be a desk, as many have imagined making love at one or the other’s workplace.

Sarandon & Costner in kitchen

Newsflash! Tables and desks are hard. It is not comfortable to have your hips, back, derrière, etc. slammed against a surface with as little give as a concrete sidewalk. Positioning yourself appropriately for intercourse is not easy, and if your back and knees are over 30 years old, grab the pain reliever before you even begin.

The Ground. Mosquitoes, chiggers, and ants, o my! If you lay your naked bodies down right on the dirt or grass, you can expect to make contact with nature. Sometimes nature is beautiful, sometimes it is harsh. You do not want to have an orgasm followed by a poison ivy in the same place. Even if the sex is fabulous, is it worth scratching your nether regions for two weeks? Of course, this is preventable with a little planning.

Blue Lagoon movie scene

Bring a quilt, a blanket, or at least a tarp. Put something between you and God’s green earth. Yes, I know that the Song of Songs speaks of the married couple being in the vineyard and under the apple tree, but I imagine that smart chap having a bed linen at the ready.

The Church Parking Lot. Seriously, dude. Whoever you were several years ago who left his used condoms in our church parking lot, uncool. Very uncool. I had to get a latex glove and paper towels, grab your icky prophylactic, and trash it before a child could pick it up and ask, “What’s this?” You probably should not have been doing it to begin with (assuming that was fornication), but even if you were married, you could have chosen a more conducive location.

In reality, any place where children are present and could see you or your evidence is not an appropriate location for sex. There’s a reason why people advise, “Get a room.”

Next Thursday, I’ll give a few suggestions of great places to have sex that don’t involve a bed. In the meantime, leave your comment below with the worst place you or someone you know has engaged in sexual activity. Let’s help our fellow married couples avoid a bad intimate encounter.

A Month Without Sex?! Advice for New Moms

Last week, I invited readers to submit their questions to me with the promise that I would answer in future posts. For the next few weeks, I’ll cover one topic each Monday. Today’s question was the first submitted, and perhaps the most time sensitive since the reader is pregnant and expecting “any day now.”

My husband and I (married since last May) have what I would consider a healthy sex life. We are expecting our first child any day now, and I’m worried about that month after the birth of our child. How do we keep the spark while we are both dead tired and unable to have intercourse? I have always had a fairly high sex drive, so because I know I’ll be able to satisfy my husband in other ways I’m quite worried mainly for myself. Any post-birth coping tips for that first month? It makes me sad to miss out on a month of sex before we even have our one year anniversary.

First, what a great attitude about your marital intimacy! Your husband likely feels lucky already. 

Mom kissing baby

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Second, congratulations! Psalm 127:3 says, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” I love my children with parts of me I didn’t know existed until they came into the world and stole my heart.

That said, children are also an interruption, a frustration, and a pain in the posterior at times. (Just ask God about His children.) They can seriously disrupt a couple’s sleep schedule and sex life.

And it starts on Day 1 when the hospital, for some inexplicable reason, sends you home with a small human being and no instruction manual. Here you are, wiped out from childbirth, with nothing more than high hopes, a collection of baby supplies, and tidbits of advice from here and there, and you are handed a living, breathing infant.

Consequently, in the first few days, most wives are not thinking, “Oh no, why can’t I have sex?” They are thinking, “Why can’t I have sleep?!” They are wondering how they can afford food now that half their budget goes toward diapers. They are eyeballing the section of their belly that used to be a taut baby bump and now looks like a satchel of blubber. They are considering how scared they are to let out that first bowel movement. (Am I telling the truth, moms?)

Even the husbands may be wondering when the little guy will stop crying or how much pee and poop an eight-pound baby can manufacture! Daddy may feel a bit overwhelmed too.

So yeah, “dead tired” as the reader describes sounds about right.

Then there is the medical restriction on not having intercourse while your nether regions heal from pushing out a head that felt the size of a Mount Rushmore resident. (Okay, it’s not that bad. You’ll do fine! I promise.)

Now that I’ve instilled dread into every pregnant wife out there, here are some tips. Because you are a beautiful, amazing wife and mom; your marriage can stay strong; your intimacy can be managed; and children are a blessing from the Lord.

Let yourself heal. If you attempt intercourse too soon, you may traumatize that area more and have to wait longer before trying again. Expect that there will be a period of time when your focus is on physical recovery and getting to know your baby. In fact, the Old Testament required women to refrain from sex for at least 1-2 weeks (and based on an interpretation I don’t want to cover here, up to 80 days) so that they could heal. These days, most doctors suggest waiting 4-6 weeks to resume intercourse.

Remember that sex isn’t only intercourse. If you can’t score the touchdown now, kick a field goal. (I’m American and don’t know how to translate that to soccer/futbol.) You need not define sex narrowly as the Tab A/Slot B conjoining. You can perform a “hand job,” give your husband a “blow job,” or mutually masturbate. As long as you are comfortable with it and focused on one another, find other physically intimate activities while your lady parts heal and your baby learns to sleep for longer than a movie lasts. In fact, you might look at this time as an opportunity to try something different, explore your spouse, or master a new skill.

If it’s time to resume and sex is painful, report it to your doctor. Then ask for a physical examination. For example, after the birth of one of my children, our attempts to copulate felt like daggers being stabbed into my vagina. Thankfully, I discovered that I was very low on estrogen, and my doctor prescribed a treatment cream which remedied the problem (see Pain & Pleasure). The first time won’t be as comfortable, but intercourse shouldn’t make you cringe and cry.

Engage in plenty of non-sexual affection. Baby will need lots of attention. It’s easy to redirect affection onto this little one and find yourselves not touching one another as much. But even if you can’t be sexually intimate, you can convey intimacy through touch. Reserve some hugs, hand-holding, brushes against a body, and cuddling for your husband. Remind him through affection that you still desire him and, when the time is right, you can resume sexual activity. A 20-second hug has even been shown to release Oxytocin, the body’s bonding chemical, helping you to feel connected.

Be amazed by your body. After the birth of the baby, your hormones can get as tangled up as a twisted slinky. Your body takes time to readjust. Plus, your body doesn’t look quite like it did before. Thus, many moms are prone to having low to no sex drive, crying for any and all reason, and standing in front of the mirror in a full-fledged pity party over the changes in their body. But moms, believe it when your husband says that you are gorgeous, he is amazed by you, and he wants you as much as ever. So what if you have circles under your eyes from 3:00 a.m. feedings? So what if your jelly belly hangs over your undies? You gave birth to a new life. You rock! You are beautiful, desirable, and sexy!

Remember “This too shall pass.” This proverb is often attributed to King Solomon. (It’s the same phrase you’ll want to repeat to yourself when your child learns the word whatever accompanied by an eye-roll, circa age 13). You’re spending the rest of your life with your hubby, so you’ve got umpteen years to go at it like wild monkeys. Having to sit on opposite sides and snack on bananas for a few weeks won’t seem like such a long time when all is said and done. Re-establish your sex life as soon as you can, but don’t sweat every moment either. Resume activity and increase sexual frequency as your body heals and the demands on your time decrease.

For even more tips on what I wish I had done in those years just after having children, see When My Sex Life Sucked, Part 1 and Part 2.

I wish you, Reader, and other pregnant wives the best with childbirth and the infant years. The days are long, but the years go fast. Enjoy your little one and let this time bring you and your husband together.

To ask me another question, head back to the original post HERE. I’ll get to each and every one eventually!

Feel free to post your own suggestions for pregnant and new moms in the comments. How did you get through those first months?