5 Rules for a Satisfying Sex in Marriage
Relationship advice for married couples from sex therapists, relationship experts, and moms who put the spice back into their love lives
Engage in choreplay
Ask your man to sweep the kitchen floor, and you may well find yourself swept off your feet. That's because pitching in together can spark passion. Splitting the household to-do list helps fend off the special kind of libido-killing exhaustion that stems from an unequal division of labor. Not only does this nonstop activity tire you out, when it's your sole responsibility it can also tick you off, till you're in no mood for any adult entertainment.
By the way, this sort of tiredness is different from the usual type of sleep deprivation (though you'll have that, too, long after your newborn starts sleeping through the night, due to your kids' bad dreams, late-night potty trips, vomitous viruses, and your own worries about why your 6-year-old isn't reading or your 12-year-old Googled "jugs" on the family computer). A garden-variety snooze deficit is fairly straightforward to deal with: Squeeze in a nap or sleep late on Saturday morning and you'll be right as rain. This other form of slacker-partner -- fueled fatigue produces a chronic case of the low-energy blahs and sends desire down the drain. Sylvia, a mom of two in Westchester County, NY, uses a direct approach to make sure both she and her husband get what they want. "I'll say to him, 'Take out the garbage and clean up the kitchen and then I'll be in the mood,'" she explains. Don't be shy about politely delegating to Dad -- he may have no idea that you're shouldering more of the load.
Crowded house? Channel your lusty, sneaky inner teenager and get busy in the basement.
Lock in some lovin'
For many privacy-deprived couples, a simple bedroom-door lock is a sanity -- and sex-life -- saver. And no, it is not, repeat, not cruel to make it physically impossible for your kids to come into your room anytime they please; in fact, it can help you all avoid some truly awkward moments. Take it from Marilyn*, a mom of two in Los Angeles: "It was late one night and my kids, then seven and four, had been asleep for hours. We locked the door, turned on some music, and it was all heat and fireworks -- until my daughter tried to open the door. She kept asking, 'Mom, are you okay?' and trying to barge in, but she couldn't, thanks to the lock. In seconds I went from ravaged woman to Mommy, got dressed, and put her back to bed."
"Our sex life is way better POST-kids. Maybe 'cuz we value it more. Ha-ha!"
As Marilyn's story so vividly illustrates, while many things get easier after your kids are out of diapers, it can be even harder to find the opportunity to make love with anything resembling abandon. Says Pamela Goldsteen, whose children are 4, 7, and 10, "Now that the kids are older, the sex window is actually narrower. Logistically, the only time we can do it is when all three of them are out of the house, which is practically never." One solution is to channel your inner lusty teenager and be sneaky. "We sometimes resort to 'going to the basement to check on the furnace,'" says Lisa. "Once we even had a quickie while putting out the garbage -- romantic! These occasions tend to be more fulfilling for my husband, but they create a shared playful, sexy memory that keeps things going."