Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Let’s Talk About Sex

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"Our society doesn't provide many role models for caring parents who are also sexual beings. We sometimes separate the two roles entirely, as though being a good mom or dad precludes you from giving great head or loving the feel of your partner's naked body next to your own."
-- From The Guide to Getting It On! America's Coolest
and Most Informative Book About Sex
, by Paul Joannides

Why am I writing a sex column when I haven't had sex for over two weeks now?

Exactly.

REASON # 1: MY MARRIAGE
With a tiny, two-and-a-half foot despot ruling our lives, my husband and I may as well be brother and sister, best friends at this point. I call him "Poppy" now. I used to call him "Lover."

He hasn't had the same problems transitioning our love-life into parenthood. His appetite is intact. I could be covered in mush, insane, snappy, bitchy, bloated, stinky, funky, and he's still ready to go. I swear he even hit on me in the delivery room. Something about my robe.

So, I'm using him as my mentor. I'm trying to be more sexy. Not like lose ten pounds sexy, or wear rashy underwear sexy, or put on makeup I'll rub off at naptime sexy.

I'm just trying to think sex. Breathe sex. Have sex. Write sex. And it's working, sometimes. I even thought for two seconds about getting our very own stripper pole, until I was hit with the logistics of it: where would we put it? What would tell our daughter? She already has a trapeze. And the clincher: what if we ever host a PTA meeting?

I read books with titles like: The Passionate Marriage and 101 Nights of Passion. I read articles that offer, "Six Tips To Have You Saying YES to Sex," and, "Ten Ways to End Charity Sex." I am convinced that a woman's most important sex organ is her brain, and that housecleaning counts as foreplay. I am writing a sex column. That's right. Give me some material, baby.

This weekend is it. We won't go to three weeks. We can't.

REASON # 2: THINGS NO ONE TOLD ME
I had a pretty extensive sex education, starting with my parents, ending with a lot of personal mistakes. But when it came to sex as a mom, even the glossy mags with their cure-all sex cures couldn't prepare me for what was to come. Some highlights:

Did you know that nursing can cause vaginal dryness in women, even when they're sexually aroused? It's true. I know. But not because I read it in any of my What to Expect books. No seasoned mother ever gave me a bottle of PROBE or LIQUID PLATINUM in my baby shower basket. It was something I learned the hard way (bad pun!), along with things like understanding it's normal to feel sexually aroused while nursing, and that it's normal to want to make out with your ten-day-old baby because you just love her so damn much.

No one ever told me I might end up forgetting about sex altogether. Or worse,
that when I did think of it, it was just another chore to cross off my list. Another thing to get done, along with dishes and dog-walking and diapers.

No one told me it would take a werewolf-like transition to get in the mood. Shower. Expensive products. Thoughts. Erase all smell of baby, all sight of baby, all sounds of baby.

No one told me to avoid doing it in front of mirrors that first year. Certainly no one told me not to try on my pre-baby lingerie before sex. Or not to walk by a stack of dirty dishes to get to the bedroom. And no one told me to just say up front, "If you touch my boobs, all bets are off."

Finally, the real shocker. No one told me how great post-baby sex can be. No one told me how deep the bond of parenthood is, how waiting, and waiting and waiting and wanting makes it even sweeter, how fun and naughty sneaking off during naptime can be. No one ever said, "Three words, honey: 'quality, not quantity'."

So there you have it. My reasons for writing a sex column. I want to become a thinkaboutsex-aholic. I want my lover back, not a brother. I want to give this confused virgin-mother society a little push in the direction of sexy. And I want all those naughty, sexy, tired, uptight, dry, stretched, sewn, poked, pulled, milked, saggy, hot, hairy, awesomely unstoppable mamas out there to know they're not alone.


Heidi Raykeil is the author of the books Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting it on Again (Collins, 2009) and Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido (Seal Press 2006). She is a contributor to Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth and to several anthologies, including Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding (Harvard Common Press, 2009) and Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined (Seal Press 2006). Her writing has also been featured in Parenting Magazine, Redbook, and online at iVillage.com. Heidi lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters.


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