Sexual Desire and Motherhood

Low sexual desire is one of the most common complaints I hear from mothers. The stress of child care can wipe out a couple’s romantic lives. Sound familiar?
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Amy Howard

For overstressed parents, particularly mothers, sexual desire is usually the first victim of family life.

Low sexual desire. It’s one of the most common reasons couples seek sex therapy. More often than not, the low-desire partner in a heterosexual relationship is the woman.

Add motherhood to the mix, and sexual desire drops even more.

I hear the following sentences weekly:

I’m touched all day by my kids. I don’t want to be touched by my husband at the end of the day. I’m touched out.

I’m exhausted after putting the kids to bed and have nothing left to give.

In her book, “All Joy And No Fun,” Jennifer Senior notes that middle-class parents these days spend a lot more time with their children than previous generations.

Of the 11 wealthiest nations, it’s estimated that the average mother spent 54 minutes a day caring for children in 1965. By 2012, that figure had climbed to 104 minutes.

Men spend less time, 59 minutes, with children than women, but still far more than they did half a century ago, when they spent just 16 minutes directly caring for their children.

Also, more women work outside the home. There is little left to give at the end of the day.  

Still, sexual desire is often the glue that keeps a couple together.  

Modern life has taken a toll on parents’ sexual desire.

To experience desire, one needs to experience self. Sexual desire requires that we tap into those parts of self that want – crave – to feel alive. When those parts of self are chipped away over time with work and parenting demands, we must cultivate a relationship with self so we get some air – some breathing room. 

Sexual Desire Is A Flame That Needs Oxygen

We speak of passion like a flame. What does a flame need to grow? It needs air. To allow sexual desire to return, take care of and nurture the self.

For some mothers that “air” might mean having some time during the day to read and think quietly – to not “do” for someone else. 

Other moms have a regular date with self where they go to dinner alone or see a movie by themselves. Perhaps she takes a day-long silent retreat. 

When women listen to the voice within that says “I want” versus “I should,” or “I probably need to…” they are connecting with their desire. 

There’s different energy around wanting versus needing. Desire is not obligation.  

You Can Bring Back Your Sexual Desire

If you’re a mom experiencing low sexual desire, take a moment to ask yourself what you’re doing just for you. What do you want? What could you get excited about? 

When that spark of desire and passion shows back up in your life, notice how it affects your own sexual energy and desire for your partner.

If you need help finding your desire, call me. I can help.

Photo by Jan Zhukov on Unsplash

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Local Atlanta therapist community Abundance Collective hosted a sexual health panel.

Learn from three experts about sexual health across all ages. Panelists include: 

Amy Howard, Psychotherapist and Certified Sex Therapist
Donna Burkett, MD specializing in sexual health
Natalie Wilton, psychotherapist specializing in sexual health for caregivers of aging adults 

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