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I’m obsessed with sex these days. Let me clarify. I’m obsessed with how my mama friends and I feel about sex and our bodies now that, at least for the most part, our baby-making days are behind us. What I’m discovering is not at all what I expected ten years ago, before marriage and motherhood.
Many of my friends and I dated and experienced most of our sexual adventures right around the height of the Sex and the City era. Oh, those were some heady days, especially for me, since I happened to be living smack in the middle of sex central, New York City. I didn’t know exactly what Samantha Jones was talking about when she declared that a woman could now have sex like a man, but there I was, fist-bumping every weekend, not waiting for the phone to ring, and reveling in my newfound freedom and power.
Then, as Carrie and the gals polished off their last cosmopolitans, many of my friends and I got married. Very soon after, we discovered that contrary to our expectations, married sex could be complicated. It was also, unlike the dating days, not something you talked about with your friends. In the rare moments when we did reveal our frustrations, a few things became obvious. The first was that no one’s sex life was perfect. And the second was that we were feeling guilty that those sex lives, once so wild, had quieted considerably.
But we muddled through that period and, for the most part, survived it. Even triumphed. Then the babies arrived. Well, first came trying for a baby, which was a whole lot of fun until you didn’t get pregnant as quickly as you would have liked. But we’ll save that fun talk for another time. For those of you ladies who do not have kids but plan to someday, let me tell you what your mom friends should have shared already but are hiding so that you’ll join them in the fun and follies of motherhood.
1. Your body, particularly your midsection, will be floppy after you have a baby. Yes, that’s right. Floppy.
2. Your boobs may be bigger than your baby’s head and will no longer seem to have a purpose apart from producing milk, even after you stop nursing.
3. Your first poop after labor will feel like as much of an accomplishment as earning a Master’s degree from an Ivy League institution.
4. Weird stuff may fall out of your vagina after labor. Big gobs of weird stuff.
5. Preparation H is your friend.
6. A Sitz Bath is also your friend.
7. Six weeks after the baby is born, you will look in the mirror and not recognize yourself, particularly your ass.
8. The first time you have sex after labor, it will hurt. Actually, sex might hurt for the next few weeks or months. Or longer.
9. Liquid may squirt out of your breasts (milk) or bladder (urine) when you least want or expect it.
10. Your sex drive may go down the toilet.
Of all the points above, number ten proved the most surprising for me. I had no libido in the year (or two) after having a baby. None. Instead, I found myself watching old reruns of my beloved Sex and the City and feeling like a cultural anthropologist. Why are these women so horny? Wouldn’t they prefer a Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate chip muffin and a nap? Doing a quick survey among my friends, I was not surprised to find I had company, lots of company.
Here’s the truth: for the first few years after having kids, the majority of moms I know sometimes go weeks, months, and yes, even longer without having intercourse with their partners. And just like in those early days of marriage, we feel guilty about it. So much so, in fact, that many of us have sex with our spouses anyway so as not to disappoint them. And just like in those early days of marriage, we often suffer in silence, too embarrassed to talk about what’s going on in our minds and bodies with even our closest pals.
Which leads me to ask myself, and now you: What happened to us, the bold, adventurous women who once reveled in our sexual freedom? Will we triumph again?
I’ve got no magic answers here, though I do know this: we need to get rid of the guilt we feel around sex and jump-start those libidos. We also need to realize that we’re still the same sexy women we were before marriage and motherhood. I’d even go so far as to say we’re even more alluring, because we’re less insecure than during our single days, when we often felt the need to pretend we had it all figured out. Sure, we got married, had kids, and now have a new set of responsibilities. And yes, we’re exhausted, still wrestling with our floppiness, and still struggling to balance family and career. But that doesn’t — it just can’t — mean that we give up that huge part of ourselves that should yearn and crave sexual pleasures.
To get my juices flowing, so to speak, I recently took not one but two sex classes at the wonderful G Boutique, where I (re)learned the fine art of digital and oral stimulation. While I can’t divulge all of the secrets of these incredibly fun and enlightening experiences, I can share the most important message I took away from them, which is that women deserve to feel sexual and enjoy the pleasures our body can provide us. We deserve to want and need sex. I also learned one other very crucial tip, which is don’t ever, and I mean EVER, forget the Uberlube (and step away from KY). Turns out, it’s a companion even the Samantha Joneses of the world should never do without.