Sex Life After Children

sex and intimacyHaving children will likely result in countless new responsibilities that can distract from the usual passion and sexual excitement of your kid-free days. Many new parents experience significant sexual dry spells, or they simply squeeze in ten minutes of missionary sex once a month just so they can feel like they are not missing out completely.

It is not surprising that full-time jobs, household chores, and the constant caring of small children can easily spoil the mood. The trick is realizing that sex should not feel like another obligation or responsibility. It should be a desire to connect emotionally and physically with the person you love. Unfortunately, after you become parents, it will take a commitment to spicing up your sex life from both partners.

Here are six tips for adding spice to your sex life after parenthood.

Sex Shopping – Some men may feel uncomfortable entering a sex shop, but it can be an incredibly erotic bonding experience. Try to openly discuss how you can use certain toys and pick out a special outfit. This shopping trip could also spark a passionate conversation about fantasies that could lead to an amazing sexual experience.

Sexy Movies – It is widely know that some women are against pornography, but it really does serve a purpose. It can help set the mood and inspire new moves or positions. Try watching a naughty movie together before attempting to create your own.

Set the Aroma – You may not be in the mood for sex if you have recently changed your child’s diaper. Certain smells will interfere with your libido and make it difficult to get in the mood. Set yourself up for success by placing fresh flowers in the room or lighting sweet-smelling candles.

Location, Location, Location – The bed is not the only place where parents can be intimate. If your kids are napping upstairs in the bedroom (which is close to your own bedroom), then you can always try using the kitchen table or up against the washing machine in your laundry room.

Appearance – Quite often married couples will come to bed with no makeup, unshaved face or legs, messy hair, and occasionally an unpleasant body odor if they don`t shower before bed. Someone may initiate sex despite how unappealing one or both partners might look and it is usually rejected. You can avoid this and spice up your sex life by putting some effort into your appearance. A quick shower, shaved legs, and some sexy lingerie can make a big difference.

Planned Time – It is hard to find any free time when you are married with children and even more difficult to find alone time together. Make sure to block off 30 minutes each week where you can be intimate with your spouse. This doesn’t need to involve physical sex and it may be more beneficial to your sex life if you use the time to kiss, cuddle, or give each other massages.

Always remember that anything you decide to do is acceptable as long as you are enjoying each other`s company without interruptions. Your sex life will eventually improve because it will reignite that powerful connection that you share with each other.

Sexuality During the Postpartum Period

sexandintimacyFor a woman, giving birth to a child is a tremendous experience. Giving birth affects women in various ways and on many different levels – including physically, emotionally and sexually. Many women experience a change in the way they view their bodies after having a child. Even women who are typically satisfied and accepting of their bodies have been known to feel disassociated from a body they feel no longer belongs to them.

Women are quite used to body changes as they have been in flux from puberty to pregnancy – and of course cyclically, from premenstrual to menstrual symptoms. Moments after experiencing the miracle of giving birth, a new mother may suddenly feel dominated by a body that does not feel like her own. The abdominal muscles may have difficulty functioning, which makes even getting up out of bed not the easiest task to complete. A new mom may experience episodes of urinary leakage, which is never fun to deal with. Her breasts may have turned from what was once regarded as private and sexual to more functional and indeed less private – albeit they play one of the most important roles in motherhood, to provide the necessary nutrition to the newborn child.

Each woman will react to these changes in different ways. Some think if they ignore these changes, eventually everything will just go back to what it was pre-pregnancy on its own. For many cases, this does have to some extent. Other new moms may obsess about their bodies, determined to return to that pre-pregnancy state as quickly as possible. However the reaction, both emotional and physical recovery from childbirth can be made smoother by accepting and loving her body the way it is, realizing that it needs nurturing just as her new baby needs nurturing. Take the time to learn and understand the changes that have taken place during this time period.

Along with physical body changes, there can also be sexual changes that may happen as well after childbirth. While some women can ease comfortably back into resuming sexual relations after giving birth, other women may find that they have little to no interest in sex (many women report decreased sexual desire during the postpartum period) and are often too tired to even contemplate sex. When some women do find themselves wanting to be sexually active again, they may find there is dryness (due to hormonal changes) and pain the in the vaginal area. The birth process may have left scar tissue and tears which can make for painful intercourse.

If a woman is feeling that having sexual relations is just another demand on her overworked body, it is important that she communicates her feelings to her partner, who may be feeling rejected without even realizing that she is feeling overwhelmed – emotionally and physically. Also during this time, women often crave physical and sensual touch from their partner, but not necessarily intercourse. This is also important to communicate.

Allow yourself as a new mom to really feel and understand the way your body is now working. Tell yourself what you love about your body. Treat your body (and spirit!) to a warm bath, a massage, or something else that brings you relaxation. Decreasing the demands that you may have made on yourself as a new mother (not to mention partner and any other roles you may have) will help to relieve some of the stress.

Date Night for New Parents

Postpartum DepressionIf you have recently had a child, it is likely that your life has done a complete 180. There is a new little person in you and your partner’s life which will be a source of much happiness from here on out.  However, what about your relationship with your partner? With all the midnight feedings, diapers and laundry currently keeping your iCal filled, a date night out with your partner may seem like an un-scheduleable event.

Spending time together on a date is important into thriving in the transition to parenthood. Granted, your dating priorities have most likely changed, which is normal. You will be more likely to talk about what your new baby is eating verses what the two of you will be ordering at the restaurant. In this case, it is often that we can feel worried or overwhelmed, but with some prior date planning, you can put your worries to rest and enjoy the quality time that the two of you deserve with one another.

The Right Babysitter – Finding a trustworthy babysitter may be the best thing you can do to alleviate your stress about leaving your baby for the evening. On your first date night out, you may feel most comfortable asking your mother/mother-in-law/close friend to do the babysitting duties (it is likely that they will be over the moon to spend time with their new little friend). The most important thing is that you find someone that you trust. Allow plenty of time to show them the ropes – even the grandparents, as baby products have changed throughout the years and some of these products may be unknown to an elder generation. Another great tip is to schedule the specific time that you will call to check in, as you do not want to be rushing home in a panic just because your sitter missed the call due to rocking the baby to sleep.

Scheduled Feedings – If you are bottle-feeding, make sure you leave the sitter with a sufficient amount of formula or pumped breast milk. Also leave clear instructions about how to warm it up, and have the bottles with the nipples that match handy. If you’re breastfeeding and have yet to use a bottle, you will probably want to nurse right before you leave and as soon as you return home. You may want to time your date so it falls between regular nursing sessions.

Release Guilt – Feelings of guilt about leaving your child are common amongst first-time parents. Many parents feel bad about taking any kind of break, as if they should not want to be away from their new baby. However, it is perfectly okay — and human — to need a break. The time away will recharge you and give you more energy for you and your baby in the long run. Also, your child will only benefit from your strong, connected relationship in your partnership.

By following these tips, you are more likely to have a success date night and some much need time for your relationship, which can only help your child and family in the long run.

Taking Care Of Yourself During The Holidays

Most of us tend to be overwhelmingly busy during the last two months of the year with the holidays.  We have our daily tasks to maintain such as work, our partner and children, and the upkeep of our homes, while adding on extra holiday related events and family gatherings. One of the most important things to do during this extra stressed time period is to maintain your health and wellness so that you can show up as your best for all that your busy life demands.

There are many things to do to keep your body healthy – from eating wholesome foods to exercising – but what do you do to keep your mind healthy during this busy time?   Having self-compassion will help tremendously during the holidays.  Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself.  No one in the world knows your feelings as well as you do. Because of this, you are the one most qualified person to bring compassion to yourself, which includes care, sensitivity, warmth, awareness, and kindness.  Having compassion for yourself will help you to bring compassion to others and your relationships with acceptance, unconditional love, and understanding.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself 

Set Manageable Expectations – Knowing that not everything is in your control will help to manage your expectations.  There is likely to be heavier traffic during the holidays along with large crowds at the malls and holiday related events.  Being in the ease and flow of the present moment will help you through these types of stressful situations.

Say “No” To Excessive Demands – Knowing your limit of how much you can handle is a great way to practice self-compassion.  It means that you can decipher when your plate has reached capacity.  When you feel that there is just no more time or space for you to take on another project, holiday party or family member’s specific request, accepting that saying “no” will be one of the best ways you can take care of yourself during this time, as you will be saving yourself the trouble and stress of not being able to handle something.

Spend Time With Those You Love – We all enjoy seeing the ones we love during the holidays, it is a big part in what makes this time so special.  Often times during the chaos of the holiday and family events, our relationships get pushed to the side simply because of hectic schedules.  Remembering to carve out some special time with your partner during the holidays – perhaps an ice skating date or going to see the town’s festive decorations – will likely lead to making special memories.

Find Quiet Time For Yourself – As discussed last week, it is of need to take the time for yourself to help release stress, and not only during the holidays.  Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and practicing gratitude are great ways to do so.  Other wonderful options are  to go to a yoga class or treat yourself to a spa visit.

The holidays are meant to be a fun time with friends and family.  Remembering to take care of yourself with these tips will help benefit your holiday experience.

Parenting and Oxytocin

Oxytocin is often referred to as the “trust hormone” but it is also a brain chemical that does a lot more than just bring couples closer together – it’s an indispensable part of childbirth and parent-child bonding.  Oxytocin helps women get through labor by stimulating uterine contractions.  After birth, mothers establish intimacy and trust with their baby through gentle touches and loving gazes.  In addition, mothers can pass on oxytocin to their babies through breast milk.

This bonding hormone works proficiently in mom, dad, and baby.  The mother will get a large dose of oxytocin near the end of the pregnancy as well as during labor and child birth.  When she attempts to breast feed her baby soon after delivery, oxytocin helps the ‘let down reflex’ which assists in beginning to nurse.  It also familiarizes her with her baby’s unique odor, especially during cuddling with the baby.

Oxytocin works in the mother’s brain to promote her maternal behaviors and aids her to be more caring, more sensitive to other’s feelings, and to recognize non-verbal cues more readily.  These particular characteristics make her a better mother to a baby who cannot yet communicate verbally.  It also has stress-reducing effects on her blood pressure and pulse, which are much needed after the physical stress of child birth.

In the father, oxytocin increases his interest in physical, rather than sexual, contact with the mother.  This hormone makes the dad become devoted to his family.  He also gets the benefit of oxytocin surges in the mom by just being with her when she has oxytocin surges which causes her to prefer him over all other men.  The dad will also get a surge of oxytocin during the times while touching, holding, and playing with his newborn.

In the baby, oxytocin helps connect the smell of the amniotic fluid to the mom’s breasts and milk.  This creates a strong bond in the developing brain of the baby.  Studies have shown that babies prefer their own mother’s scent and milk to formula in the first few weeks of life. Oxytocin calms the baby and permanently reorganizes the baby’s brain to deal with stress. The baby gets large doses of oxytocin when he/she smells the mom, her breasts, her milk and with skin-to-skin contact.  Oxytocin really is the chemical of connection.  The whole family benefit from many opportunities to touch skin-to-skin, cuddle, play, caress, and look into each other’s eyes.

Oxytocin is also referred to as the “love molecule” typically associated with helping couples establish a greater sense of intimacy.  Along with dopamine and norepinephrine, oxytocin is believed to be highly critical in human pair-bonding.  But not only that, it also increases the desire for couples to gaze at one another and creates sexual arousal, in which oxytocin levels increase in the brain significantly.

Simple Things To Do To Increase Oxytocin Levels  

1. Hugs – “Hugging releases oxytocin.” – Professor Dr. Paul Zak

2. Eye contact – Train yourself to make eye contact.  With so many distractions in this world today,  if you learn to give your full attention, you will pick up on many queues that you would not get it you were not fully present.

3. Meditation – Mediation is a powerful oxytocin release.  Meditating in a group will also increase the release of oxytocin.

Dr. Zak, a recognized expert in oxytocin, discovered in 2004 that this chemical in our brains allows us to determine who to trust.  This knowledge helps us to understand the progress of our modern civilization.

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that can make you feel hopeless or sad for no particular reason. It usually occurs within the first few months after you have given birth, although it can also happen after a stillbirth or miscarriage.

Postpartum Depression Compared to the Baby Blues

Postpartum depression is often confused with the “baby blues,” which usually only lasts a few weeks after childbirth. Many new mothers experience drastic mood swings and usually feel like they are overwhelmed by all of their new responsibilities. It is completely normal and safe, as long as it only lasts a few weeks.

The difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is the severity of the symptoms and how long it lasts. Postpartum depression is more frequent and usually makes it difficult for the new mom to care and bond with their baby. It will also last for months instead of weeks.

Postpartum Psychosis

In extremely severe cases, woman may experience postpartum psychosis. This can cause frightening delusions and dangerous behavior. It is absolutely necessary that new moms have a support system and they immediately visit a physician if they are experiencing any of the signs of postpartum depression. An experienced family physician, gynecologist, or psychiatrist will be able to diagnosis whether or not it is severe enough to be considered postpartum psychosis.

The Cause of Postpartum Depression

There is no specific medical reason why some women will experience postpartum depression while others will only get a mild case of the baby blues. It may have to do with how tough the pregnancy or childbirth was on the mother, how often the baby cries, how often the mother sleeps, or how much support is given to the mother. It could also be based on how their body handles the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Are You Suffering from Postpartum Depression?

There is no way to know for certain what causes postpartum depression, but it is important to identify the severity of it and learn to cope with how you are feeling. Once you know that it is affecting you, you will be able to try different coping mechanisms so it doesn’t interfere with spending time with your precious new baby.

Coping with Postpartum Depression

The first step is accepting that you are having trouble controlling your emotions or that you are feeling overwhelmed. Admit it to yourself and to your support system. New moms should never hesitate to ask their spouse and/or family to help out more during those challenging first few months. Make sure to also mention it to your physician, gynecologist, or psychiatrist.

New mothers often feel like they need to spend every moment with their child. They will stop participating in their own hobbies and they may even isolate themselves from social groups. Ask your support system for 20 to 30 minutes a day of personal time whenever it is possible. This time should be spent relaxing, having fun, or exercising. All of those activities will help re-energize you mentally and physically.

Another way to cope with postpartum depression is talking with other moms about how you are feeling. You will be less likely to become depressed once you realize that you are not alone. Being a mom will never be easy, and postpartum depression can make it even more difficult. If you think you could be suffering from postpartum depression, make sure to talk to someone about it.

5 Tips for Improving a Low Sex Drive

Unfortunately, many women and some men suffer from a low sex drive. It is estimated that almost 40% of all women and about 10% of men have issues with a lack of libido at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there is usually an explanation and remedy for their lack of sex drive.

Here are five helpful tips for improving a low sex drive.

1. Determine the Reason for a Lack of Sex Drive

Quite often, women (and sometimes men) will experience a low sex drive because they are not physically or emotionally feeling their best. It could be something as simple as a headache or nausea or something more direct like vaginal dryness. It can also be caused by emotional insecurities, exhaustion, or depression. The first step in treating a low sex drive is determining the root cause.

2. Treat the Reason First

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to revive your sex drive until you are able to treat the real reason behind your lack of libido. Once you have identified the cause of your low sex drive, the next step will be searching for a solution.

In most cases it will involve explaining your personal situation to a medical professional, which could be uncomfortable for some people. Always keep in mind that there is nothing abnormal about a low sex drive and that it is best to share this with a physician in case it is a sign of a more serious issue.

3. Set the Mood for Lovemaking

The phrase “not in the mood” is often used by people who suffer from a low sex drive. Sometimes it is a cover up for physical or emotional problems and sometimes the person is literally not in a sexual mood. In all cases, romance should be brought back into the equation any time your sex life is lacking its usual passion. You can quickly set the mood using simple things like music, candles, and lingerie.

4. Go Back to the Beginning

Many married couples will get into a bland sexual routine of skipping right to the “good” stuff. If your spouse’s sex drive is lacking its usual interest, try being as flirty and affectionate as you were in the beginning of the relationship. Always remember that gentle touching and kissing is just as important to the sexual experience as the physical act of sex.

5. Try Something New to Spice it Up

If reverting to romantic moments from your earlier days does not reignite the fire, try the opposite. Purchase a risqué toy or outfit, try role playing, or any other fantasy that comes to mind. Make sure to always discuss your intentions with your lover or spouse first, so they have an opportunity to share their thoughts and fantasies.

Although a low sex drive is not an incredibly serious medical concern, it is something that deserves your attention, especially if you are married. Sex is a wonderful way to connect physically and emotionally with another human being and it shouldn`t be ignored. Hopefully these five steps will boost your sex drive and make it easier to enjoy sex with your partner.

6 Secrets for Adding Spice to Your Sex Life after Parenthood

Getting married and having children will result in countless new responsibilities that can distract from the usual passion and sexual excitement of your kid-free days. Many new parents experience significant sexual dry spells, or they simply squeeze in 10 minutes of missionary sex once a month just so they can feel like they are not missing out completely.

It is not surprising that full-time jobs, household chores, and the constant caring of small children can easily spoil the mood. The trick is realizing that sex should not feel like another obligation or responsibility. It should be a desire to connect emotionally and physically with the person you love. Unfortunately, after you become parents, it will take a commitment to spicing up your sex life from both partners.

Here are six secrets for adding spice to your sex life after parenthood.

1. Go Sex Shopping Together

Some men may feel uncomfortable entering a sex shop, but it can be an incredibly erotic bonding experience. Try to openly discuss how you can use certain toys and pick out a special outfit. This shopping trip could also spark a passionate conversation about fantasies that could lead to an amazing sexual experience.

2. Watch a Sexy Movie Together

I know that some women are against pornography, but it really does serve a purpose. It can help set the mood and inspire new moves or positions. Try watching a naughty movie together before attempting to create your own.

3. Surround Yourself with Sweet and Sexy Smells

You may not be in the mood for sex if you have recently change a child`s diaper. Certain smells will interfere with your libido and make it difficult to get in the mood. Set yourself up for success by placing fresh flowers in the room or lighting sweet-smelling candles.

4. Find a Creative Spot to Make Love

The bed is not the only place where parents can be intimate. If your kids are napping upstairs in the bedroom (which is close to your own bedroom), then you can always try using the kitchen table or up against the washing machine in your laundry room.

5. Make Sure to Look Your Best at Night

Quite often married couples will come to bed with no makeup, unshaved face or legs, messy hair, and occasionally an unpleasant body odor if they don`t shower before bed. Someone may initiate sex despite how unappealing one or both partners might look and it is usually rejected. You can avoid this and spice up your sex life by putting some effort into your appearance. A quick shower, shaved legs, and some sexy lingerie can make a big difference.

6. Plan 30 Minutes to Spoil Each Other

It is hard to find any free time when you are married with children and even more difficult to find alone time together. Make sure to block off 30 minutes each week where you can be intimate with your spouse. This doesn’t need to involve physical sex and it may be more beneficial to your sex life if you use the time to kiss, cuddle, or give each other massages.

Always remember that anything you decide to do is acceptable as long as you are enjoying each other`s company without interruptions. Your sex life will eventually improve because it will reignite that powerful connection that you share with each other.

Why Men are Just as Insecure about Sex as Women

Most men will try to play it cool and pretend like sex is no big deal to them. They initiate first contact, take control of any intimate decision-making, and act confident while they are having sex – so most women assume that they don’t share the same insecurities.

Men are just as insecure about sex as women, although many of them will not admit it. Even if you have been married for a long time and have enjoyed sex numerous times together, a man’s insecurities can still interfere with his performance. This post will explain men’s insecurities about having sex and how women can help them feel more secure.

Physical Fitness Insecurities

Men are insecure about how they look physically, especially when they are naked. Most heterosexual men find the male body unappealing and they are unsure why women are attracted to them. If they are overweight and not able to handle the physical act of sex without excessive sweating, they become so insecure that they think the woman must find them disgusting and want to stop. Assure your man that this is not the case. Women who want to receive compliments on their appearance should give their men the same compliments. It will improve his confidence and his sexual performance.

Fear of Being Rejected

Because men are usually the ones to initiate contact, they often worry that their sexual advances will be denied. If they are rejected too often, they will become insecure about even trying to have sex. If you are not in the mood or you don’t have time to have sex, make sure to tell your man that you still want sex with him, but you will have to postpone it until later on. Let him know that you will be waiting in anticipation just as much as he will.

Worried About Their Stamina

Men want to last as long as possible. They don’t want the woman they are with to be disappointed with how brief the sex might be or their ability to control themselves from having an orgasm. Sometimes sex will only last a few minutes, especially if it has been awhile since the last time the man has had sex. Make sure to let him know that you are satisfied and try to do things that may help him last longer, like slowing down your rhythm or changing position before he reaches the point of release.

Women are hard to please and a good man will do whatever he can to please the woman he loves, which unfortunately can create insecurities, especially in the bedroom. Make sure to build your man’s confidence and assure him that you are still attracted to him and satisfied with the sex life you share. It will result in better sex for both of you.

 

The Facts About Sex During Midlife

Getting older is just a natural part of life. Another natural part of life is sex. When we are younger, sex is often on our minds. With our youth comes a desire for sex; a desire to have it often. Why not? Sex is natural; it’s pleasurable. However, too often as people age, their sexual exploits become less frequent. There is also the stigma that those who get older don’t need to venture outside the realm when it comes to sex. Why is that? Just because someone gets older does that mean that they don’t have the desire to have sex? Is sex just supposed to stop at “X” age? Sex – even sex during midlife – is a part of being human.

Too often people don’t see sex and aging as going hand in hand, but they do. If wine gets better with age and the flavor of cheese is enhanced the longer it ages, then why can’t sex increase and get better with age? After all, there is no magic number at which sex stops. After all look at Hugh Heffner.

When we mature, we still desire sex. Granted, it’s not going to be like it was when you were 20 but it can still be just as fulfilling. It’s been scientifically proven that healthy people can have sex long into their 70s and 80s. Having an active sex life has been said to keep many “young at heart.” As we age our bodies change, but that doesn’t diminish the capacity for extremely enjoyable sex.

So how is sex more enjoyable as you get older? There are several ways:

  • With age comes experience. So when a person matures, they gain knowledge. Those going through midlife are actually more knowledgeable and willing to take their sexual escapades to a higher level.
  • Individuals are more open to exploration and truly spicing up things in the bedroom. The older crowd is actually open to watching erotic films to entice their partner. They are also willing to try different sexual positions in order to achieve even more sexual gratification.
  • Couples actually get closer during sex then they did in their younger days. When you’re young it’s about lust and temptation. Naturally, as we age it takes a little longer to get to that full arousal capacity. Couples spend more time kissing and cuddling in midlife and this often enhances their overall relationships.
  • During midlife intimacy means so much more. Gone are the days of youthful experimentation. Therefore midlife couples look for more ways to enhance the romance in their relationship. Romance is known to increase during midlife, which enhances the connection between the two people.
  • During midlife, men and women seem to have a self-confidence that can often lend itself to a heightened since of sexiness. Feeling sexy is simply a state of mind.

Sex doesn’t have to diminish just because you get older. If you maintain a level of confidence within yourself and remember that you have true sex appeal no matter what age you are, then you can have amazing sex at any age. Remember, age is just a number; it doesn’t define your sex life.