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needwoodEver since my lover and I adopted two kids our sex life….well, if it were in the library it would be filed under “Fiction.”  The problem is that I’m too tired to have sex after staying home and taking care of the kids.  Every time my lover unzips my pants it just feels like one more mouth to feed.  He, of course, feels rejected.  We’re both sleeping on…

needwoodHow Do We Get That Spark Back?

Hey woody!

Ever since my lover and I adopted two kids our sex life….well, if it were in the library it would be filed under “Fiction.”  The problem is that I’m too tired to have sex after staying home and taking care of the kids.  Every time my lover unzips my pants it just feels like one more mouth to feed.  He, of course, feels rejected.  We’re both sleeping on opposite sides of the bed.  It seems I’ve gone from hot lover to loving Dad to boring husband.  I resent how little he does around the house to help me and I don’t think he knows how exhausting it is to take care of little kids (we have a one year old and a three year old).  We’re in our early 30’s—way too soon to bury our sex life.  How do we get back on track?

 — Tired and not horny

needwood coupleDear Tired,

You know what they call people who are paralyzed from the waist down?  Married with children. Listen, you guys are trapped in a vicious circle of failing each other.  You feel emotionally abandoned so you abandon him sexually which makes him even colder which makes you even more resistant.

Whose fault is it?  That’s like asking who came first, the chicken or the hawk. Wait…wrong metaphor. Anyway, both of you have to take responsibility for the contribution you’ve made to that yawn factory your sex life’s become. Best way: Talk it through when the kids are out picking crops at the booger farm. Here’s what you say to each other: “In many ways I have failed you.  I have allowed my anger and resentment to get in the way of expressing my love and sexual desire for you.  What can I do to help you feel more cared for?” And then for God’s sakes do what I never do: Listen. The best way to do that is called the “Mirror Technique.”  Basically, it involves paraphrasing what your lover says. 

Example: Your Husband: “Whenever I initiate sex and you don’t respond I feel rejected, like you don’t want to have anything to do with me.”

 You:  “So, when I say ‘no,’ you’re interpreting it as a reflection of your desirability, that I don’t find you attractive.”

 Your Husband: “Exactly. I want to feel like I have a husband who’s attracted to me.”

 You:  “So you’re saying that you want to feel wanted in bed.”

Now let’s switch roles with you starting the conversation.

 You:  “I’m so exhausted from taking care of the kids that when you initiate sex it feels like one more person grabbing at me, needing something.”

 Your Husband: “So you’re saying that you’re so overwhelmed with raising the kids and running the house that sex feels like another demand being placed on you.”

 You: “Right. I want sex to make me feel like a whore but instead it makes me feel like a maid.”

Each time you paraphrase, or “mirror” your partner, you’re acknowledging his point of view.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, just that you understand.  It’s from this understanding that you can move to a set of mutually agreed changes. Basically, you need downtime from the kids and he needs to help around the house. Put regular babysitters at the top of your To Do list. Then, write the following down on a post-it note and stick it on the bathroom mirror: “Woody says if you want my heels to fill with helium you’re going to have to fill your hands with cleaning supplies.”

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