- At Home
“The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.” Margaret Atwood
Do you go to bed knowing exactly what will happen next? Instant sleep, a snore or two. You might be thinking: Is this what my fairytale romance has turned into?
Especially if you’ve just had a baby, your new idea of hot romance might be a guy who can burp your newborn and swaddle in ten seconds or less. Sweep you off your feet? Your newborn has managed to do that for you through sheer exhaustion.
It’s Valentine’s, but now when you see Cupid, all you see is a chubby baby with an arrow and think: Somebody get that sharp stick out of his hand!
It’s a fact: Motherhood changes us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s a change so biological that new moms sometimes feel our body is the driver, and we are just passengers along for the ride. Body aches. Swelling. Hormone shifts. Mood swings. Worries that the belly fat will never go away. You may be feeling a little less sexier than usual thanks to the spit-up on your shirt and stretch marks that weren’t there a year ago.
After dealing with these issues while holding a baby all day (and night!), you may be feeling more than a little touched-out, and your love meter may seem stuck in reverse. If you are a new mom and this sounds all too familiar, it’s okay - in fact, I felt the same way. But just like in pregnancy, this is a phase, and all things shall pass. Be patient. Give yourself time to adjust to all the enormous changes that are happening.
The best love advice I ever got was "Be Yourself." Instead of comparing your current romantic life to what it used to be, consider accepting and appreciating your new “love” life for what it currently is. The real art of love is radical acceptance. A new baby in the home pushes both parents to the limits of endurance and beyond. We get a little tarnished and stronger. The illusions wear down, and what’s real gets more real. To see your partner (and yourself) in all the highs and lows - and to keep loving through it all - is one of the most powerful experiences in life. With so much going on, it’s normal that romance sometimes get sidestepped. Relax and take it slow. There’s no need to “fix” anything. Start from where you are and work with what you’ve got.
If you’d like to give your love meter a little boost, here are six sexy ways you can ramp up the romance:
1. Stay physical. The “love and bonding hormone”, oxytocin, is released just by touching the lips or cuddling, as well as during sex. Wanna get back in the swing? Boost your love hormone. Did I mention that the hormone has a strong effect on maintaining marriages and long-term commitments? Of course I want it! Just thinking about your significant other releases oxytocin. So start listening to one another, and giving each other hugs. If you’re feeling sexless, you can still dance, listen, laugh, and talk about your love. Say what you admire about each other. Remember how grateful you are for his patience, or whatever qualities you treasure in your partner. Intimacy comes in many forms.
2. New foreplay. The secret to a sizzling sex life is to keep it fresh, new, and exciting. Or if you’re tired, try something relaxing like a foot rub. A sensual foot massage stimulates the brain region that connects to sexual arousal. No wonder it feels so good!
3. Indulge the senses. The biggest sex organ is the brain. Imagination is directly tied to romantic mood, along with the senses of sound, sight, touch and taste. So go for it: A candlelight dinner. Soft music. Perfume. Anything that makes you feel sexy is sexy.
4. Food for love. Dark chocolate is as good as sex. Eating dark chocolate releases the same endorphins as making love. Not only that, those who eat a cube a day have more desire and sexual function, according to scientific studies.
5. Get away. If you can get away, do it. Never underestimate the power of a change of scene to spice things up. Parents, just like kids, need time to play.
6. Pencil in some play time. Just because spontaneity isn’t exactly an option for you like it used to be, it doesn’t mean that all the excitement has to be gone as well. In fact, “scheduling” sexy time with your spouse can actually be a major turn-on. There is a lot to be said for anticipation, and it will give you both something to think about - and look forward to all day. And if you know that’s where the evening is headed, it will increase the likelihood of it actually happening (instead of one of you falling asleep on the couch at 8:00!).
Wishing you and yours a loved-filled Valentine’s!