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My Wife Doesn’t Want Sex. She’s a Busy Mom. But Still.

His wife is a stay at home mom to their toddler and not into sex anymore. He's working to change that but is frustrated — and losing it a bit. Our Cool Mom has thoughts.

Hi Cool Mom. My wife and I have a one-year-old daughter. Our life is great (I work outside the home; she’s a stay-at-home mom) but our sex life is…not so much. We have sex maybe twice a month. It’s not a sexless marriage but it feels like it’s coming to that point. Are there some nights where I just roll over to her side of the bed and lazily try to get her in the mood? Sure. But most of the time — because she’s told me she doesn’t feel that into sex any more after child birth, feels exhausted and generally “touched out,” — I try to manufacture nights for us. I schedule sitters and plan date nights and dinners to have fun and help us both feel like husband and wife. But she’s never really in the mood anymore. And when we do have sex? It’s not great. It feels connection-less and she doesn’t seem into it.  Honestly it’s frustrating. I need sex and I need that connection. In the meantime, Pornhub and I have become good buds. I really don’t want to turn into one of those couples or that sad American Beauty-type dad who quietly masturbates in the shower. — Kyle, via email. 

The other night, my husband and I were getting drunk off fernet branca while watching Friends, as one does, and it was the episode where Rachel refuses to go to one of Ross’s dinosaur museum benefits for one reason or another (I could google it, but honestly, they’re all the same and I’m  not 100 percent convinced that Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston aren’t the same person, so why bother?) At a certain point, Rachel finally relents and emerges from the bedroom in this quintessentially 90s buttercup-colored slip dress, and Ross is flabbergasted. “Wow,” he says. “You look…wow.”

It’s a small but sexy moment; had Friends existed in a decidedly less TV PG (not to mention more diverse) universe, the next scene would definitely have been Ross and Rachel boning under a reconstructed mastodon skeleton. Immediately following that scene, I glowered at my poor unsuspecting husband and said “You’ve never said that to me before,” leaving him stammering in confusion. (For the sake of transparency, we did ultimately bone that evening, but let it be known no mastodon skeleton was involved.)

So why do I bring this up? Just to say this:

If there is one piece of advice that I could give men, time and time and time again, it’s that every woman, whether they tell you so or not, wants to be the Rachel in that scenario. Every woman wants to feel like they can walk into a room and momentarily rid a man of the capacity for speech. Every woman is turned on by the knowledge that they turn you on, and the sooner men realize that, the more (and better) sex they’ll have. Seriously, they’ve done studies on this, and it bears out: for many women, the key to unlocking their sexual desire is the knowledge that you really, really want to fuck them.

Now, this is obviously something of an oversimplification, and in many cases it’s much easier said than done: making a woman feel sexy is an art, not a science, and no matter what ladies magazines say it’s almost never as easy as using handcuffs or butter or putting a grapefruit on your wang or whatever. But I often wonder how many more couples would be having truly amazing Beto tweet calf cramping-level sex if men knew the value of a well-placed “Wow” every now and then. And I imagine this is especially true for your wife, who, regardless of how sexy you personally find her, is probably feeling pretty damn unsexy right now. How can she not? She’s a stay at home mom of a toddler. I ask you, how can any sane woman watch the Peppa Pig zoo song all day and still muster up the interest in sitting on someone’s face at the end of the day? It simply can’t be done.

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Further, there are many extremely legitimate reasons why your wife may not be all that interested in sex right now. The biological and hormonal changes that come with new motherhood are profound (particularly if she’s still breastfeeding, which causes hormonal changes that can make vaginal sex pretty painful). While a year skews on the longer side, it’s extremely normal for couples to experience dramatic changes in their sex lives post-baby, and if she’s experiencing any pain or discomfort during sex, she should see her gynecologist to make sure everything’s copacetic down there. And let’s not even mention the effect that having an infant takes on your time and energy. Remember that surreptitious blow job you got in a hall closet at your cousin’s grad party for literally no reason? The time it took to do that is now valuable pooping/showering/sleeping real estate.

Sorry. It just be like that now.

That is why, unfortunately, you’re going to have to do most of the work here. On top of that, you’ll have to tread lightly: The last thing you want to do is pressure or cajole your wife and make her think of an orgasm as just another box to check off on her to-do list. You want her to feel sexy, and desired, and wanted.

So does this mean that you should go charging at your wife’s vulva like Ferdinand from the eponymous children’s classic “Ferdinand”? No, it most certainly does not. What it does mean is you should establish a pattern of doing something that makes her feel sexy every day. Whether that’s an (honest) compliment on her new high waisted jeans or giving her an impromptu 2 am back rub or leaning over during dinner and telling her that all day, try as you might, you just couldn’t stop thinking of hiking her skirt up around her waist and going down on her on the couch, you want to get in the habit of doing small, fairly effortless — and, above all else, organic — things to help build her up and convince her that you find her just as foxy as you did before she pooped out a kid — although you probably shouldn’t use that exact phrasing.

Above all else, remind yourself that the post-baby sex drought is fairly normal, and that just like the 3 am feedings and diaper blowouts and constant spitting up, constantly browsing Pornhub thumbnails shall soon also become a distant memory. This too shall pass.

Have a marriage or relationship issue and want to seek the council of our Cool Mom? Send an email to Askacoolmom@fatherly.com