No surprise when parents are too tired for sex...

With the new Royal baby about to arrive here's advice for you when you feel too tired for sex - from my Yummy Mummy Beauty column....

Dear Dr Pam,

I am just too tired to have sex with my partner. We have three young kids and we just never get any ‘us’ time any more. But now I’m beginning to sleep at the edge of the bed in case being close to him gives him a signal that I want to make love.

I still love him but just don’t want to sleep with him at this point. My kids come first, then my work, then my partner. We are arguing more and I’m beginning to think I want out. Any suggestions?

Dear “Too tired for sex”,

Is it any surprise you’re too tired for sex when you have three kids plus work, plus partner, and everything else we juggle?

We only have so much available ‘brain space’ and when it’s taken up with planning meals, shopping, washing, schoolwork, work deadlines, and countless other things there’s no space left for desire. Inwardly parents think, Huh? What happened? Where did the sex go?

Your brain is your biggest sex organ and if there’s no space in it for desire, there won’t be any sex. But the fantastic starting point is you still love your husband. You can build on this:

*It’s crucial he doesn’t feel constantly rejected. So the starting point is agreeing that affection is important and yet you shouldn’t feel pressured that it leads to full sex before you’re ready. This means having a little bit of a chat.

*This chat shouldn’t be undisturbed by the pitter patter of little feet so make sure you have privacy. Always begin with a positive and say how much you love him and that you want to rebuild intimacy.

*Let him know you’d love some affection but feel you have little left over for full-on sex. Ask him what he feels about this? He might feel the same or he might be dying for physical intimacy. But at least now you’ve opened the dialogue.

*Suggest a little “code” where you agree you’ll say “I’d love some affection,” and that means you want to stop at cuddles.

*In the meantime encourage him to indulge in self-pleasure. Some men feel they need permission to masturbate and don’t want to upset their partner. There’s nothing wrong with releasing sexual tension this way while you two sort things out.

You’ve opened up about this tricky topic. Now move forward to where you rekindle desire. Some tips for this include:

*Absolutely prioritise spare time with him. It’s easy to fritter time away on, e.g., social networking sites or other ways.

*Focus your mind on the importance of you two improving your situation. Each day say a quiet thanks for why he’s a good man.

*Together look through photos from happy times because relationship research shows this is very good at bonding couples.

*Enlist a grandparent or trusted friend to take the children as regularly as possible. Stay home when you have free time, light candles and put on music you love. Cuddle up and agree to a little caressing.

*Keep the romance going by surprising each other with little gifts and compliments.

*When you have time together ban ‘baby-talk’ - don’t discuss the children, instead discuss things like a film you’d like to see, a holiday you’d like to plan in the future, etc.

Hopefully you’ll find there’s a time when you want to put the full-on sizzle back:

*Make sex easier by stocking a lockable ‘pleasure chest’ at your bedside that includes a luscious lubricant, sex-toys, candles, your favourite mood-music, blindfold, etc. You're more likely to jump in the sack for sex when not faffing about looking for these.

*Definitely use tried-and-tested techniques that used to turn each other on but remember desires can change. Ask if he wants good old-fashioned pre-children sexy fun but add you’re happy to try new things.

*Fantasy sex-chat takes you straight out of daily stresses. Give each other permission to suggest fantasy scenarios. He might fantasise you’re a sexy vixen he picks up in a café and you might fantasise he's a hot traffic cop who pulls you over for speeding. You suggest exchanging sex for not getting ticketed!

Finally, never lose sight you as a couple are important - making time for yourselves ultimately benefits your children.

If within a reasonable time your desire doesn’t return discuss this with your health visitor, GP or other healthcare professional to ensure there are no other underlying problems like postnatal depression or hormonal issues.

Good luck!

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