By Heidi Raykeil
You wanted the hot guy. You wanted the diamond ring. You wanted the adorable baby in the hip-but-affordable stroller. Now you've got it all. But you're not "getting any." Yet, somehow, between choosing bridesmaid dresses and recommending breast pumps, your girlfriends neglected to mention this.
1. Not everyone glows. Yes, it's true that some women take to pregnancy like a fish to water. They look great; they feel great. They shrug sheepishly when they admit to never suffering even a day of morning sickness. That's some women. The rest of us are just trying to keep from pulling over and puking on the drive to work. We feel fat. We're tired all the time. And while we're counting the days until the misery of pregnancy ends, we're also just a little bit terrified about what comes with that finish line: labor, delivery, an actual living, breathing baby and, basically, the end of life as we know it.
Having an awesome pregnancy? Great! You have my eternal envy (and you can skip right ahead to the next tip). But if you're not exactly lit from within, don't worry about it. And don't worry about sex. It's tough to feel hot to trot when you're not feeling so, well, hot.
2. You might want sex more than ever. Once the waves of morning sickness ebb in your second trimester you may be raring to go. You're feeling better, your hormones are raging, and you're not so big that intercourse is awkward. When I was pregnant, I also noticed a surge in sexy dreams. Not the worst side effect, all things considered!
Seize the moment! Take advantage of those sexy dreams, and use your shift in hormones as a good reason for a roll in the hay (before you get too big to roll anywhere).
3. But your husband might not. Books and websites will tell you that the changes that accompany pregnancy are natural and beautiful, and that men think so, too. Well, not always. Sure, pregnant women can be gorgeous. But that doesn't always translate to hot sex. Let's face it: Pregnancy sex can be physically awkward. With a baby bump between you, it's easy to feel like there's a little witness to your X-rated adventures. Your man may start to see you as a mother, not a lover. He may be worried he'll hurt the baby (near impossible, by the way). And, let's face it: Some guys are just weirded out by pregnancy sex.
Don't pressure him. It's okay to wait until after your baby is born. For now, you'll just have to take matters into your own horny hands, so to speak. But that shouldn't mean that you lose your intimacy altogether. Take the time to kiss, hug, cuddle and talk now. Pretty soon, you're going to wish you had the time to do it.
1. Sleep will sound better than sex. To both of you. Of course you're exhausted: You've got a needy new baby on your hands, your hormones are screwy, and you've just experienced one of life's biggest changes. No wonder you stagger into bed at the end of the day, grateful for even just a few hours of shuteye. As stressed as you feel, your guy is probably just as tired. Maybe he isn't the one waking up every few hours to feed your baby, but trust me when I say that, at least early on, he's going to choose sleep over sex, too.
Get some Z's, please! Sleep deprivation has been used as torture, right? No one ever died from lack of sex. It's easier said than done, but try to let go of your to-do list and nap when your baby naps. Your sanity will thank you.
2. There might be technical difficulties. Once you do start having sex again, you may notice that things aren't exactly as, er, wet, as you'd like. Not only is this normal, but it's practically a given if you're breastfeeding, which triggers shifts in hormone levels.
Sex doesn't have to be uncomfortable, but there's no reason to go without, either. It's perfectly fine to get a little assistance if you need it. So get thee to the drugstore or your local sex shop and get yourself some lube.
3. You will sometimes see your husband as a giant, hairy baby. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about here. You feel like you're the only parent who knows what she's doing. He's just some doofus in your peripheral vision who doesn't smell as sweet as your precious little one. But he's doing an awfully good job of ignoring Junior's cries, not noticing that poopy diaper and leaving his own toys all over the floor. And now he has the nerve to whine that he's not getting any attention.
Put yourself in his shoes. If your guy is acting like an infant, it's probably because he's playing second fiddle to the real baby in the house. He has needs, too, and when they suddenly stop being met, can you blame him for throwing a tantrum? Look outside your baby bubble before judging him. Give your guy a chance to help out with the baby, and make sure he knows you still love him, too.
1. Date Night is overrated. I know, I know: You need to make time to be together as a couple, especially after you have kids. But Date Night is just so loaded. You go through the trouble of finding (and paying) a babysitter, you go out to dinner, and then you end up bickering about who changed the last diaper, or who walked the dog, or what he's thinking, or why you seem to have nothing to talk about. Then you go home and feel pressured to have sex because, hey, it's Date Night (even though you're both simmering with resentment).
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for spending quality time with each other. One way to take the pressure off? Stay in. Wait until the kids are in bed, cuddle up on the couch or in bed, and watch a sexy movie or TV show. Or have a Date Day: Get your parents to take the kids out and spend a weekend morning together. Bonus: Your sex hormones are naturally higher in the a.m., so nooky will come more naturally.
2. Grunting isn't foreplay. Here's a shocker: You have to actually have to like your husband to want to have sex with him. Oh, of course you love him. But to get in the mood, it helps if you actually enjoy his company, too. You need to get along. You need to have positive interactions. Passing a bag of chips back and forth and grunting at each other while watching Netflix doesn't cut it.
Marriage is the toughest job you'll ever love. It isn't all happily ever after once you toss the bouquet. You've got to work at it. All the time. Make an effort to communicate, to grow and evolve together. When that happens, sex will follow.
3. These can be the best years of your (sex) life. I know what you're thinking. I just painted you a picture of screaming kids, sleepless nights, and grumpy husbands. And you signed up for it all, ideally 'till death do you part. But in truth, the very things that can make marriage both chaotic and boring can also make it awesome. On one hand, you're so comfortable together that things can get routine. On the other, that sense of comfort allows you to be freer with your husband than you might be with some random guy.
Experiment! Yes, new and different can be hot. But you know what else is sexy? Knowing his, and your own, body inside and out. Comfort can beget confidence, and you might find yourself trying things with your husband that you wouldn't with, say, a one-night stand. So think outside the box, and watch your sex life blossom.