Have you been taking the idea of “Netflix and chill” a bit too literally?
Many mums find that at the end of the day they would much rather zone out than indulge in any sort of physical activity, sexual or otherwise. This is understandable as many mothers feel the pressures of work, taking care of kids and tending to a household, which doesn’t leave a lot of time and energy for them, let alone sex with their partner!
I also hear mamas say that sex can seem like somewhat of a burden — another chore to do. That sex is the last thing on their never-ending list. They say it’s because they’re just not in the mood, or have too many other things on their mind, or it’s late at night and they’re exhausted from the day, or frankly, they’re just bored of the sex they do have! So many understandable reasons. But we all know that sexual connection is an important part of our relationship. So how do you start to tune in sexually when your mind and body just want to tune out?
Tend to your own needs first
We know you’ve heard this before, but it’s so valuable that it’s worth saying again! Mums tend to focus on everyone else, then if they have any energy left, will think about caring for themselves.
Mum guilt is a real thing. The spoken or unspoken message that mothers should always be giving is internalised from our culture and women often feel guilty if they don’t. Some women even feel selfish if they take time for themselves. The outcome though is that if you’re feeling depleted, you’re not going to have any space or energy for sex and connection with your partner, and your kids also miss out. So everyone loses!
In order to have a balanced life, make time to tend to your individual needs like friendships, interests or hobbies, and the basics like getting enough sleep. Ask your partner for support to override these ingrained messages that your needs come last by encouraging time for yourself. Carve out some “Mum Time” and get support with childcare or chores so that you can recharge. Once you get this in order, then you’ll feel more filled up and have room, and most likely, desire for intimate connection with your partner.
Engage in mindful presence
When you do engage in sexual activity, you will get the most benefits out of the experience if you are present in your body and not stuck up in your head. To help feel more “embodied”, focus on all of your senses in the current moment —touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. Use candles, romantic music or massage oil to help heighten your senses and quiet your mind. Take slow, deep breaths to help calm your nervous system and bring your energy back into the body.
If you notice your thoughts drifting to what the kids are doing or a work deadline, remind yourself that you deserve to be just where you are and come back to the moment. Give yourself permission to experience touch and pleasure and take it in. It can take practice to bring your attention back to the current moment, but it’s a practice that comes with sexual and mental benefits.
Create a sexual menu
Sex can be a whole menu of items…from a quickie appetiser to a whole lingering 10-course dinner. It’s about being creative and open to what you’re wanting in the moment and not resorting to the same sexual script each time. You can take turns giving each other sensual massages, or take a shower together to help relax and reconnect to your body.
Either of those may be fulfilling in themselves. Or, they may be turn ons that get your juices flowing and entice you to enjoy other activities together. Give yourself permission to broaden the concept of what being sexual means. Recognise that sexual pleasure is about doing things you both enjoy rather than being intercourse and orgasm-focused. When you take the pressure off expectations and finish lines, and flow with what feels good in the moment, it can be a sexually liberating experience.
Learn to stoke your own fire
We often put the responsibility on our partner to get us in the mood for sex. But that puts a lot of pressure on them. Why not take it into your own hands? Light your own fire and turn yourself on by spending some time cultivating your own sexual energy. Engaging in a little self-pleasuring can get you in the mood and ready to connect with your partner.
Take a nice warm bath and notice the feel of the soap on your skin. Use sexual fantasy to think about what you’d like to experience with your partner, or think about the times in which you had a really positive sexual experience to help turn you on. Each one of us has different moods, emotions, desires and fantasies, so tuning in to your own body and becoming familiar with what gets you aroused is empowering and can be valuable information for your partner as well.
Remain curious and creative
We have this notion that once we have found “the one” we can relax and not have to work hard anymore, but in reality, we have to work even harder! If you want to be with someone for 10 years, 20 years, or more, in order to keep it interesting, you have to be more creative and imaginative than ever before. Passionate energy and anticipation around sex often disappear in long-term relationships because we get familiar and lazy and stop stoking the fire. We settle for the same routine and avoid going outside our comfort zone.
Rekindle the flames by creating rituals to keep the sexual energy going. Sexting or flirting can be a start. Get out of the rut by maintaining curiosity in yourself and your partner. Have you seen sexy things you’d like to try but never spoken about? The same goes for your partner. Bringing this renewed interest can energise your relationship. Showing your partner that you’re open to evolve and expand can help you have a more satisfying sexual life than you ever expected.