My husband is an attractive "man of steel" - fit, successful and socially active. Me, I'm formerly fit, formerly successful, formerly socially active. Currently, I stay at home with our two small children, who engage my every moment and keep me up at night. I have very little time to myself, to exercise or get groceries, or for personal care. Here's the problem: We have very little sex - only about once a month. I don't feel attractive, I'm often exhausted and I seem to have zero desire. I find my husband attractive, not just physically, and we have a close, loving relationship. But I just can't seem to get "involved." I'm not worried he's going to stray, but I need to know how to solve this. I'm curious what you and your wife Pam have to say.
Thank you for entrusting me, and Pam, with your problem.
I do think you've come to the right place, though what I have to say might sound different from what you'd hear from a marriage counsellor or therapist or other "relationship expert."
Beware soi-disant "sex experts" in particular, madam. Sex is a holy mystery, different for everyone, and is fully understood by the following number of persons on the planet: 0.
That being said, I'll recommend one book that I think contains some good sense and insight into your type of situation: Michelle Weiner Davis's The Sex-Starved Marriage.
Basically, I think you've got a case of kid-kiboshed marital sex.
Happens to a lot of us, honey. The comedian Louis C.K. calls his children "the assassins of my sexual identity." Nora Ephron went further and said that having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage.
But we don't need be so histrionic. Basically, you're in a garden-variety dry patch. You're experiencing a bit of turbulence as you fly through a no-nookie zone.
Add to the mix you clearly don't feel as attractive as you used to, before becoming a stay-at-home mom.
Of course! Once upon a time, you were trading witty, innuendo-laden banter with your colleagues, wearing dry-clean-only skirts, and silk blouses with just a hint of black bra peeking out, driving all the men in the office wild.
Now, you're in your sweats, hair pulled back, a dribble of barf-stain where once your naughty bra strap peeked through - and starved for adult company.
Having kids has been a bit of a hand grenade to your self-esteem, Ms. Formerly This, Formerly That.
First off, lose the formerlys. Convince yourself it's sexy to be a stay-at-home mom (if you don't believe me, Google "housewife"), and also a form of success. You have the privilege of being with your kids, watching them grow, nurturing them. I don't want to sound too much like Paris Hilton here, but: That's hot.
Next, you need to recapture your lady mojo. I know it's hard to find the time. I remember: I was a stay-at-home dad myself. But these days there seem to be tons of stroller-jog/mom-cercize-type options to multitask your way to feeling like a stronger, sexier you. (You'll also find plenty of other new moms in the same boat to vent to.)
And of course, your husband could babysit. Where's he in all this? If he wants to get any action at all, ever again, he should be giving you some "me time," as well as taking you out, taking over as many of the household chores as possible, getting up in the night, and reminding you constantly what a smoking hot mama you are.
He's "socially active" but you're not? That doesn't sound quite right.
Okay, enough from me. Now, since you asked, I'd like to introduce everyone to my first-ever guest columnist, the mother of my three children, to weigh in with her thoughts. I'm curious myself what she has to say. Take it away, Pam:
"I'm honoured to be included. I can reassure you that what you're going through mirrors my own experience and that of almost every mother of young kids I've ever talked to. Sex once a month? In those days, as Dave has often joked, that was a good month. Even then, it was more as a favour to him - sorry, Dave, but it's true. Who wants to have sex when you're exhausted and a toddler can come bounding into the room at any minute?
"My feeling is when your youngest hits about four you can start feeling more like a normal person again, getting your groove and your body back, which, by the way, I am only in the process of doing now, nine years after my last pregnancy! So my advice? Don't worry about it."
There you have it, madam. Two POVs for the low, low price of one. BTW, I knew about the charity-sex part, folks. That's not news. Some of our encounters during those early days were so charitable in nature I'm convinced Pam could have written them off on her tax forms.
Basically, just ride out this dry patch. Stay loving, keep cuddling, be a team - you and the "man of steel" versus the world - and both Pam and I confidently predict this too shall pass.
David Eddie is an author and the co-creator of the TV series The Yard, airing this summer on HBO Canada.