Sexy Move: Mommy Time

Reader:  Since our second child has been born our sex life has become quite a drag, sex feels like it is a task that she is completing and not something she is too interested in.  I don’t beg, I don’t whine, but I feel like she does it because she feels she has to.  She says she is tired from being with the kids all day (3 yrs old and 8 months) and she feels like pleasing me is “someone else that needs something from her”.
Question: Fitness test?
I know its harder with two kids than one, but we never had this problem when our first child was born, she was eagerly involved and wanting sex probably 2-3 months after the birth.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt like she wanted sex and when we have it it is very task orientated and not all that exciting.  I appreciate what you say about even bad sex is better than no sex, and I agree completely.  But I do have some concerns about the path we are on and would appreciate any feedback that you have.  Maybe I am being too impatient to return to our previous sex life?
Athol:  Two kids are harder than one. With one, it falls asleep for a while each day and she catches a break. Two kids don’t usually sync up nap time. There’s never really a break from it and it’s the lack of break that’s likely the drain on her.
I would find out if the whole over-tired thing really is the problem, as opposed to something else bothering her, and if so, see if you can agree to do a little trade of “chores”. You take both children and get them out of her hair for extended periods once in a while, with the expectation of a more positive sexual mood on her part. It’s a little artificial I know, and it does just boil down to a “childcare for sex” trade, but it’s practical and realistic.
If sex with you is “just one more thing”, then take away a different thing she has to do.
If you really want to have fun, book her a surprise hair appointment or something and just take the kids off her hands.
Basically additional kids increase the payoff/need of the Beta Traits. Just keep the Alpha frame of being in charge and leading the family and don’t turn into the kids’ second mother. Wrestle the three year old. Deploy THE CLAW!!!!

Jennifer:  It’s hard to mentally unplug from being a mommy when they are so small, especially if you’re breastfeeding.  I remember times where I was thinking “I want to want sex…but what I really want is an hour of peace and quiet with no children clinging to me.” An offer of daddy taking the kids off of my hands would go a long way toward my thinking happy thoughts about daddy!  (and I vote for a manicure or a massage instead of a hair appointment lol)
Athol:  Oh and final thought. Actually order her to take a break and go do whatever without the kids. Forcing your Beta on her is Alpha.


  1. This advice is dynamite.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't really love this advice. It sounds very "Oprah-ish" and needy. I'll watch the kids for an hour and you give me sex later. Its pretty transparent what is going on and could leave to resentment. Or her really looking down at you.

    As a father of 5 kids I've got to tell you this is a tough stage. I went years through what you describe. Now some of the issue was my too-much-beta downshift after marriage – but much of it was also just her really being so tired and drained. She used the exact same line on me – "I am pulled in so many different directions during the day and I feel sex is just one more need I have to fulfill".
    Working the MMSL Alpha/Beta split will help but really its just going to be a tough year or so. Take what ytou can get, make her life easier but really manage your expectations for a bit. Having very little kids is just not a major sex driver.

  3. "Athol: Oh and final thought. Actually order her to take a break and go do whatever without the kids. Forcing your Beta on her is Alpha."

    Absolutely do this. My husband used to do this for me and it was wonderful. When he did this I knew he recognized how hard I was working with the kids. Plus I had very little guilt about taking a break because I was being made to go.

    Also, some of what Anon 3:20 am said as well. It is something that you are going to have to get used to with the knowledge that if you maintain your frame, it will get better. My husband used to jump on me immediately after the kids would go to bed. It drove me crazy. Finally (I don't know why it too me so long to do this) I just said "Look. I've had hands on my the entire day. I need some time to unwind or I will lose it. It's got absolutely nothing to do with you, but I need some time. Then after an hour of checking out with a book or a tv show I was far more receptive and good to go.

    BTW, going from one kid to two is an extraordinary change. I thought it was far easier going from 2 to 3 than going from 1 to 2. It's hard, but be patient. It will come around.

  4. Ian Ironwood says:

    Heh. Two kids? That's easy. Just wait until they outnumber you, and you have to go from playing a man-to-man to a zone defense. That's when sex actually goes from being a chore to a personal challenge. Remember: the shower is your friend.

    I wholeheartedly endorse the Alpha-ing of the Beta, and particularly recommend booking a massage for your lady. Pay for it in advance, show up, take the kids and tell her to go, and then go have a cocktail afterwards, if you have nookie on your mind. Then put the kids to bed. Use cough syrup and melatonin if you have to. But a massage invokes her tactile sensations a lot more profoundly than a hair or nail appointment, and it says more "I care for your mental and physical well-being" and less "Honey, I want you to look hot for me." Face it, there's no way a young mommy is going to feel "hot" without a good five-hour bath-and-pampering ritual. And even then it's going to be a stretch.

    The OP should get used to "McDonald's Drive-Thru Sex" for the foreseeable future, but he should also be planning — again, on his own — a parent's getaway weekend no less than every three months. One night of hotel sex and uninterrupted sleep every quarter can have a profound effect on new parent's sex life.

    But if you do all of this (without prompting — that's important), taking the lead in a captain-like way, and it does nothing to improve her attitude towards you or sex in general,

  5. Trimegistus says:

    This is what grandparents were invented for. "Hey, kids! You're going to stay with Grandma tonight so Mommy and I can spend a few hours fucking!"

  6. Ian Ironwood says:

    (con't from prev. comment)
    …then you may have to take more extreme measures.

    But having sex as parents takes practice, and it's just going to suck for a while. That's the price you pay for having babies. That being said, having a healthy-if-mediocre sexual relationship during this time is essential if both parents are going to be in the game. Just give her props for being the trooper she is, understand that this is temporary, and suck it up. I mean, in your teen years you probably went years without sex. Your testosterone levels have actually dropped since then, and even more now that you're a daddy. You can handle a few mediocre months. And it does get better, promise.

  7. Trimegistus,

    Alas, not all of us live near Grandma and Grandpa. Gotta get creative.

  8. Hello All,

    I am the reader that emailed Athol.

    Thanks very much for all of the suggestions, encouragement, and slaps ("suck it up").

    Sometimes it helps to hear these things from people who have been there.

    And Athol, thanks for making it a blog post so I can read all of these other points of view and to read Jennifer's comments as well.

    This helps a lot, because its tough to know if this is typical or not; hearing from others really helps. I do want to make things easier on her, not just as a means to an end, but because I do know how hard it is on her with the two young boys.

    I will be sure to put these suggestions into action.

  9. Try that with four kids. More than twice the chaos of two.

    The Claw? Really, Athol? Gotta be more creative than that. Try giving the kid a Pancreas Pummeler, a Jejunum Jiggler, a Larynx Loosener, a Kidney Crusher…

    You don't have to credit me. You can say they're original.

  10. The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful says:

    The path to every woman's vulva is through her feet. I can't tell you how many foot rubs have ended with me flat on my back, legs in the air counting ceiling tiles. The trick is to not have an agenda. Just give that woman the foot rub of her life. No agenda is the key. NO FREAKIN' AGENDA. And if it's only a foot rub, so be it. Let her drift off. But daily doses of foot rubbing WILL GET YOU LAID.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I remember as a kid, EVERY wednesday – WITHOUT FAIL – we went to our grandparents house so our could "go grocery shopping together"… it wasn't until I was in my teens that I realized that grocery shopping does NOT really take 5 hours…

    We did this every Wednesday from when I was a baby up until the youngest was in middle school and truth be told – we all LOVED it. I have wonderful memories of weekly fun with my grandparents, siblings, and sometimes cousins! And as adults, my siblings and I still try to go visit our grandparents (now 96 years old!!) on wenesday evening. It's a great time for us to reconnect as siblings and with our grandparents.

    I think it's one of the best things my parents ever came up with – 1 night a week guaranteed for just them and 1 night a week for the kids that was guaranteed junk food and fun!

    You say the grandparents aren't nearby, maybe you could do this with friends who have kids and you could trade? Or you or your wife's siblings? Or maybe you could just hire a fun babysitter.

    Also, in a more general sence – the best thing my husband and I have ever done for our sex life was higher a housekeeper!! I swear, that one change made an enormous difference! I'm SOOOOO much less stressed! She only comes twice a month and it runs about $75 each time, but she does all the "hard" tasks – things like scrubbing the walls, toilettes, showers, windows…all the things that were constantly on my running to do list in my head and that was able to be completely eliminated….it's fabulous…worth every penny!!! I swear, give up cable and get a cleanning lady!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    p.s. – on the cleaning lady note – your wife will not want to do this. She will be anxious about giving up control and she'll feel guilty because in her mind you guys OUGHT to be able to handle it all….so just force it…tell her "lets just try it once, if it's not worth it, then we're only out a $75…then hire someone and LEAVE THEM TO DO THE WORK…go out to a movie and dinner or something. Trust me, one time and she'll want to keep doing it, but that first time is nerve racking for some reason…

  13. The original suggestion *can* be bad if it is a covert contract. I'll be nice to you if you give me sex, but you never *tell* your spouse that you want more sex. That is a sure-fire path to resentment. It all needs to be done playfully. "You know what I want…"

    Now, I *nailed* this one time. I came home to the 6yo, 2yo, and my wife were all arguing. (Who argues with a two year old?) The baby was howling. I entered the door and instead of DADDY! Three of them started pleading their case to me. (The baby continued to howl.) You and you! Go to your room. I don't want to see you until I call you for dinner. (2 Humphs! and several stomped feet later they were in their rooms) You! Give me the baby! Now, get a book go to your room, take a bath, read your book and I don't want to see you again until I call you for dinner.
    Her face clouded up like a Kansas thunderstorm.
    "Go!" I said and pointed.
    She went completely limp. "Ohhhh, OK!" and almost skipped to the bedroom.
    She *still* tells her friends about it and the 2yo turns 12 today.


  14. Mama Fish says:

    My first comment here. *bows low to Lord Athol* (don't mean to gush in public, but you are doing such an amazing job)

    Awesome advice from Athol and others and kudos for the OP seeking assistance. Hang in there – we are nearing the end of that intense phase and it has been long and hard and lonely, but like any huge challenge it teaches you things about yourselves that you may never have learned otherwise.

    Your babies are only little for such a short time – suck it up, laugh about it, do whatever it takes to get you all safely to the other side – and know that the sun will rise again! :)

  15. I really love that last bit by Jennifer. “I want to want sex…” That is it exactly. I finally get my kids to bed, and I just need a little while to switch my brain over from mommy to wife. A sitcom and chocolate is great for this. Or try this…
    I had a really hard day and a migraine brewing. Both kids were miraculously napping at the same time and I was laying on the couch. Husband sits next to me and starts rubbing my neck. “You’ve had a rough day.” Rubs my neck a bit more. “Can I get you anything? Some Aspirin; some chocolate;…maybe some penis.” Cue in naughty boy goofy grin which he’s always done irritatingly well. My reaction. Shocked look followed by laughing, calling him a jerk, and shoving his shoulder. Which turned into wrestling on the couch which turned into…well I didn’t need the aspirin or chocolate. ;-)

Speak Your Mind