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Girl Talk: In the Mood for Love

Q. I know it's usually the mom who loses interest in sex after the baby comes, but I have the opposite problem. I practically have to beg. What gives?

A. It's hard to know. Perhaps pregnancy freaked him out because your body transformed from his personal pleasure station to a round, life-giving vessel. Or maybe it was the delivery, with its mind-blowing visuals.

Or, you suddenly remind him of his mom.

No matter what's holding his libido captive, the only way to set it free is to allow him to see you in all your splendor -- and I don't mean your birthday suit. I mean all of your womanly splendor, which includes your identity as both a wife and a mother.

Sometimes we're told that we should dress in sexy lingerie to bring our husbands to their senses -- as if the only way they would be aroused by us is if we gave them enough eye candy to make them forget that we are moms. The dotted line connecting what a guy sees and feels is pretty straight -- if you greet him in a trench coat and a smile, your mission will probably succeed -- but the minute the lights come up, you're back to being a great gal with a winning personality.

Go the quick-fix route if you're desperate for lovin', but to find real intimacy, you're going to have to take a different tack, one that's more talk than action. It's not an easy subject, so he probably won't tell you flat out that your body just doesn't do it for him anymore. What you may hear is the vague: "Things just aren't the same."

Resist your urge to needle him for specifics and ask a big-picture question: "What do you think is the biggest difference in our lives?" He may say that he's incredibly tired or that he doesn't have as much independence as he used to. Before you snap "How do you think I feel?" take a breath and nod. This is your opening to bring in sex. You might say that you miss the old days of eight hours' sleep, last-minute get-togethers with friends, and... sex. If this doesn't work the first time, try again. If he refuses to open up or come near you, it might be time to think about a three-way (no...a third-party intervention with a counselor, you naughty reader!). Best of luck.