5 Ideas for Couples Struggling to Connect After a New Baby

Recently I received an email from a woman that had taken an Awaken Love class. Though she has embraced God’s design for sex, the arrival of another baby has left her struggling to connect with her husband.

I just had a baby about two months ago. During pregnancy and now with an infant and toddler our intimate life has been a struggle. I’m really having a hard time getting in the mood. I have a baby nursing all day long and still have some residual healing that needs to take place post birth. My husband is getting sexually frustrated and I’m sort of at a loss. It feels like I serve the kids all day long and then don’t have it in me to serve him by being there sexually. I feel like my body is just a milk machine. Do you have any advice? Is it okay to be less intimate during this life phase? I just mentally struggle with feeling like I’m ‘faking it’ with him because I do not feel sexual or turned on, no matter how hard I try 🙁 Any advice would be wonderful!

Seasons of life filled with exhaustion present extra challenges. But I am so glad this young mom asked for advice. Instead of letting the lack of sex drive a wedge in her marriage, working together they can embrace the opportunity to redefine intimacy. No easy answers exist for the exhaustion that babies, nursing and raising kids create. So let me just offer a few ideas for couples to ponder and maybe try….

Remove the Pressure

Take the pressure off and try to just connect physically. Tell your husband how hard the thought of sex is, but you know that connecting physically is important. Ask him if once you get the kids down, to crank up the heat, and just get in bed with you with no expectations or pressure. Wives need to relax and warm up to their husband’s touch again. Their husband needs to be touched too, regardless of whether you have sex. I would suggest that you do this at least weekly or a couple of times a week.

Give Your Body Time to Heal

If intercourse is still painful and your body needs time to heal, then take the time and do not force things. The two of you can share manual or oral stimulation together until intercourse can be a positive experience for both of you.

Take Care of Yourself

You need to take care of yourself and your husband needs to help. Even if you are nursing, he can care for the baby and toddler at least for an hour or two. Get out of the house, or take a bath and just relax. The more that your husband cares for the kids by himself, the more he will understand why you are so tired. The more he takes care of you, the more capacity you have to engage with him.

Avoid Lust

Your husband must carefully guard his eyes from lust – especially when you are unavailable. Lust can happen with his eyes, his thoughts, or even through the lyrics of songs. Avoiding lust will help him see you as a person and not just as the sexy wife that he loves to have sex with.

Ways to Release Tension

You could have a conversation about him taking things into his own hands once in a while. Be careful and discerning about whether this is a good idea. But better to talk about it then to just ignore it.

When we had 4 little girls, my husband did not even want me to feel guilty about being unavailable. Once in a while in the shower, he would think about me, and release some tension, so that he could be a gentler, kinder husband. Other men will masturbate next to their wife so that she can share in the experience if she wants to.

Better to be open with your husband, then to ignore the situation. If you decide masturbation is a helpful option, he must think only about you. Ask him to share with you every time so that nothing is hidden. Pray together and ask for discernment on whether masturbation will create intimacy in your marriage or division.

Final Thoughts

Though raising a family can create challenges in marriage, I encourage you to embrace it as an opportunity to create intimacy. Open up your definition of sex and connection. Learn how to talk to each other about hard things. Create a new realization for each other’s strengths and challenges. And learn how to love each other in a new way.

Anxiety – The Destroyer During Sexual Experiences

One of the biggest destroyers of having great sex is anxiety.  Worrying about sex prevents our body from naturally responding the way that God designed it to. Anxiety draws us into our head instead of letting ourselves enjoy what happens. Worry creates fear about performance that can  cause us to avoid sex. Even a small amount of anxiety can impact connection and enjoyment during sex. Anxiety can make you feel like you are drowning with nothing to grab hold of.

When my husband and I weren’t having sex often, my body often felt nervous each time we engaged. I remember telling my husband, “I don’t know if I remember how to do this.” It took me a long time to relax and to warm up. Each time I felt like I was starting over during sex because I didn’t know my body well enough and trust it to respond. I felt anxious and worried.

What it Does

Anxiety causes our body to release stress hormones epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. The stress hormones narrow blood vessels which decreases blood flow which negatively impacts sexual responses.

Worrying about getting an erection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Wondering whether we will maintain an erection, leads to loosing an erection. Worrying about having an orgasm creates a barrier to finishing. But even beyond our body’s natural functions, worry creates disconnection during sex.

If you spend your time worrying about whether you can last long enough during intercourse, then do you actually enjoy what is going on? When your mind constantly wonders whether you will orgasm, then can you enjoy the moment? While worrying about  loosing your erection, can you even feel your wife?

Worry gets in the way of enjoying the moment. Striving prevents being.  Rather than looking forward to discovering new things our fear of failure keeps us trapped in a tiny box. Anxiety can even cause us to avoid sex because we dread messing up again. Ultimately, worry prevents us from creating intimacy during sex.

Causes of Anxiety

Expectations create anxiety during sex. Cultural messages can make a man feel like he needs to satisfy his wife with his penis, or that sex needs to look a certain way. Rather than a shared experience, sex becomes a burden of responsibility. Women worry that their body needs to look like the magazines, or that she needs to compete with porn. Men who have struggled with masturbation or pornography might worry that their body will not respond during intercourse with their wife. People that struggle to orgasm worry that their body will fail them one more time. Expectations create performance pressure, anxiety and prevent us from simply enjoying what happens.

Solutions

Secret struggles or worries carry much more power than they should. Recognizing expectations that cause anxiety and vulnerably sharing with our spouse can be the first step towards freedom.

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Talk to your spouse about your expectations and worries. Rather than fear the unspoken,  speak it out loud and pray about it. Let your spouse be part of the solution.

Take off the pressure and redefine sex to focus on connection rather than the finish line. Expand your definition of great sex as getting to know each other and discovering new things. Remove the pressure on your penis by learning new ways to create pleasure for your wife. If your wife doesn’t finish during intercourse, then offer to help her finish other ways.

When you start to worry, bring your self back to being present by focusing on one of your five sense – touch, taste, smell, sound, or sight. As your mind starts to worry again, breathe deeply and gently refocus again on the point of connection.

Sometimes it is easier to get out of your head when you are serving your spouse. Get lost in what you can do to create pleasure for them. Allow your body to get excited and aroused as you serve them.

Practice thankfulness by noticing the small steps of connection and growth.

If you really struggle with performance pressure or anxiety, then get help. Find a counselor to help you learn to stay present and regulate your emotions. It will not only impact your sex life, it will allow you to experience more of life in general.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety is the destroyer of sex. It will not only short circuit God’s design for our body to relax, respond and lean into pleasure, but it will create disconnection. Worry will keep you from experiencing intimacy and life to the fullest. Talk to your spouse about what creates anxiety for you and come up with ways to remove the pressure. Pray over your sex life, and ask for a new mindset of thankfulness and discovery.

Stepping Into Freedom

Before my awakening, I had no idea how much freedom God wanted me to experience in our marriage bed. Though we explored more than missionary position, I felt uneasy expressing myself. At times I reined myself in out of fear of going too far or losing control. Where were the guardrails? Could we enjoy what the world enjoys? What was okay and what was not? How much pleasure was too much pleasure?

There does seem to be this connection between overindulgence and sin. You can drink one glass of wine, but ten? Well, that’s a different matter. So, we hold ourselves back and only allow ourselves to enjoy sex this much or to be that free. We safeguard ourselves by disassociating with anything that has a connection to what the world does.

Is it possible that we are holding ourselves back from exactly what we need in marriage? Maybe the freedom that goes on outside of marriage is what God wants us to enjoy within marriage.  God wants to give us a glimpse of His original intention of being naked and unashamed. Have we let the world’s corruption of sex keep us from receiving an amazing gift from Him? This gift is so powerful that it will literally transform our marriages.

Steps of Change

Change did not come overnight for me. As I recognized lies that I believed, I started trusting my husband. When I understood God’s design, I measured sex by whether we were getting to know each other. Dealing with my baggage released a newness in me. Stepping into freedom was both terrifying and exhilarating.

It was not about trying to compete with the world. I wanted to claim the freedom God intended for us. I cared far more about connecting with my husband than about creating a show.

When I wanted my husband to watch me during sex, it wasn’t an attempt to create a pornographic scene for him. I simply wanted to maintain connection through eye contact. I wanted him to know who I was rather than just enjoy stimulation. This was me opening myself up to him.

When I performed a strip tease for my husband, I was not trying to compete with strip clubs. I wanted to put a stake in the ground that said, “I want to be free”—to share my naked body, to entice, and to move sensually. This was me, no one else—gangly arms, big feet, droopy breasts, and a C-section scar. Though terrified, I wanted to give my husband permission to feast his eyes on me.

Most of us don’t immediately go from years of believing and behaving like sex is a duty to embracing all that God has to offer. You might even feel overwhelmed by the divide between who you are and who God wants you to be. It’s okay, sister. I am right there with you. Change happens one small step at a time. Stepping out into the water, grounded in truth, and steadied by our heavenly Father, we tiptoe in. As we get more and more comfortable, we wade in a little deeper.

But we have to take a step.

(Excerpt from Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage)


Maybe your first step is picking up a copy of Awaken Love

Discover the Freedom God Wants for You

Until Feb 14th buy the paperback for just $9.99 (normally $14.99)

Get the ebook  (normally $9.99) for

$0.99 on Feb 4-5 

$3.99 on Feb 6-7 

$6.99 on Feb 8-9 

Tell your friends and don’t wait.

Take a step towards discovering freedom!

Adapting to Physical Limitations During Sex

A few weeks ago, I had a molar pulled that had bothered me for years. The recovery of an implant has been slow. With activities like kissing eliminated, my husband and are learning to adapt. Rubbing noses and burrowing into each other’s necks have helped us stay connected during sex. Rather than avoid sex we are learning new things, and grateful for what we have – not unlike a friend of mine.

I will never forget the night that Stacy showed up in class. With eyes that sparkled, and a smile that lit up the room, she rolled into class on her scooter. Years of a physical disability might have limited her mobility but God filled her soul with a passion for living that made me just want to hang out and learn from her.

After reconnecting with her at my book signing party, I asked if she would share a few thoughts to help others challenged by a physical limitation. What follows are her words.

(more…)

Finding Miss America

Marie is guest posting today from the mission field. For years has quietly spoken truth to women about sexuality, one woman at a time. This year she discovered Awaken-Love and is facilitating video classes to other missionaries.

I was on my way to another house visit in Asia. Temperatures were sweltering over 120 degrees and no one had air conditioning. I was soaked with sweat down to my underclothes, with my hair flat, wet and clinging to my face. Then I heard a desperate cry: “Miss America, wait”.  Images of Miss America in her tiara and evening gown began to flood my mind, and they just did not mesh with the hot, dusty, dirty streets surrounding me. “Miss America, please don’t go.” I turned around, and a lady who must have been following me began running toward me, crying.

(more…)

The Beauty of Our Vulva

God created women with amazing bodies. Our vaginas stretch large enough to birth a baby and still shrink to hug our husband’s penis. Breasts nurse our babies, provide hours of entertainment for our husband, and are sensitive enough to trigger an orgasm. Our clitoris created solely for our pleasure can provide a lifetime of new and pleasurable experiences. And yet, how many of us really know our vulva? Song of Songs 4:7 says, 

You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.

Early Messages

Girls and boys have completely different experiences discovering their bodies. When boys learn to go to the bathroom they form a very hands on relationship with their penis. A part of everyday life, their penis can quickly become a best friend. They know what it looks like, what it feels like, how it changes with temperature and what creates pleasure. Their penis, just a familiar part of their body doesn’t feel dirty or scary.

(more…)

The Challenges of Seeing Sex as Refreshment

I remember when we had young kids and feeling so exhausted that the last thing I wanted to do was have sex. Sex felt like one more thing on my to do list. It was one more thing that would suck my energy dry, something else to give. The last thing I expected from sex was refreshment.

Yet there were times when my husband would be so patient and would gently take me to that place. Afterwards I thought to myself, “Boy, did I need that.” Somewhere, deep down, I knew that sex was a good thing. That it would refresh me and that it was for me too. But this truth was buried deep beneath a pile of lies.

(more…)

Battling Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth

We are in a battle. Satan loves to fill us with lies that render us impotent to growth in marriage, parenting or even ministry. He picks at the broken parts of our soul causing us to feel defective, unlovable and stuck. We either lash out trying to prove ourselves or retreat into hiding. But when we embrace God’s unconditional love, rather than striving to measure up, we can learn from past experiences, conflict or suffering. Instead of shrinking into isolation, shame and believing Satan’s lies, we choose to move forward in confidence. We have the courage to live fully known by sharing our  insecurities, failures, hopes and dreams. But Satan doesn’t stop coming at us with lies. He waits for just the right moment and then he’s right back at it, speaking the same old lies, and trying to make us doubt who we are.

(more…)

A New Strategy for Overcoming Gridlock

Women need to feel emotionally connected in order to enjoy sex.

Men need to have sex in order to feel emotionally connected.

It sounds like gridlock to me. Women can’t have sex until they talk, and men can’t talk until they have sex, so they just stop connecting. The gate is put up by the wife, the husband retreats feeling rejected and they spin away from each other. It’s like that age old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is no right answer, there is only debate. We need a new strategy. 

(more…)

Connecting is a Two Way Street

The other night my husband and I had an awesome time connecting. I had gotten him to open up about a fun scenario that he found particularly enticing, and so naturally my wheels started turning. Really it wasn’t anything that took much planning.  It was just catching hold of the small nuances that would take him back to that place we talked about. You know things like lighting, sleepwear, positions, ATTITUDE…But he knew that I had heard him, and he knew exactly where I was taking him. It was a great night!

Feeling Naked

The next morning I woke up feeling absolutely naked – like the skin had been stripped off of me – naked. It was as if I had been in a show and poured myself out and there was nothing left. It was like when I started teaching my classes on sex, and shared so much of myself, that I felt absolutely vulnerable and attacked afterwards. I was raw.

(more…)