Moms Have Sex? Who Knew!

Cathy Winks and Anne Semans's picture

by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans

As soon as we started spreading the word about our idea for this book, we knew we were on to something. Parents instantly responded with curiosity, enthusiasm, and almost desperate nods of approval, while folks without kids looked politely puzzled. And who could blame them? Although volumes have been written about motherhood and sex, the two subjects lie on parallel tracks that rarely intersect.

Parenting books never explore how a mother can expect her sex life to be transformed by the demands of child-rearing. Sex and relationship books for parents suggest tips for "keeping the flame alive" that depend on creating the illusion that you don't have kids. And neither ever address how honoring and enjoying your own sexuality through all the phases of your life sets a powerful example that enables your children to grow up to be responsible, sexually fulfilled adults.

Sexy Mamas reaches out to women who want to integrate the joys of a satisfying sex life with the joys of motherhood. We offer tips, anecdotes, and practical information about sex and parenting, supported by advice from medical experts, sex experts, and the most valuable experts of all-other mothers.

Mothers First

While we like to think that all parents can glean useful information and perspective from this book, it is written first and foremost for mothers. We are unabashed in asserting that mothers need and deserve a book of their own -- their sex lives have been invisible for far too long.

Women simply aren't raised with a sense of entitlement to sexual expression, and mothers face the double-bind of social attitudes that deem maternity and sexuality mutually exclusive. Most mothers can testify that the desire for a fulfilling sex life didn't disappear when they had children, it simply got buried under an avalanche of conflicting demands on their time and attention.

A woman's sex life undergoes significant changes from the moment she decides to have a child, and she has to navigate these changes with no more guidance than the occasional tidbit of information from a kindly nurse or relevant anecdote from a straight-shooting friend. The legions of mothers who visit sex-related discussion boards on parenting web sites -- swapping tips on everything from waning desire to remaining kinky -- reveal a profound hunger for an explicit discussions of sexual issues.

Ask a mom about her sex life, and you'll get responses ranging from, "Sex? What's that?" to "It's better than ever, but it took a lot of work." If you're partnered, you're probably not surprised by the statistic that parents living with children only spend about twenty minutes each week being intimate with each other.

If you're single, perhaps you wonder how to be fully present for your kids without neglecting your own desires. You may have picked up this book because a sexual drought is making you long for "the good old days," or you may be curious to explore how your new found maternal power and passion can enhance your sex life. Either way, we hope you'll find much in these pages that challenges your assumptions and fuels your desires.

The Moms Speak

We wanted our discussion of mothers' sexuality to reflect the concerns and experiences of a full spectrum of moms -- married, single, heterosexual, lesbian, adoptive and biological -- so we posted a survey in several places online, including Hip Mama's web site.

Imagine our delight when over seven hundred impassioned and heartfelt responses poured in. We heard from women whose experiences ran the gamut of maternal sexuality, from sexually-confident fertility goddesses who were reveling in a sexual rebirth to mothers stymied by the practical and cultural restrictions on their sexuality. Their poignant and often humorous quotes appear throughout this book, and their comments guided our writing.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the moms who shared their thoughts -- not just because they sacrificed some of their precious free time to contribute to our book but because their stories reveal how every aspect of motherhood has sexual repercussions: from the roller coaster ride of fluctuating hormones to the challenges of prioritizing personal pleasure with children on the scene.

It's our goal to take as comprehensive an approach as possible in affirming a mother's identity as a sexual being. Throughout this book, we refer to your sexual "partners;" a neutral term we use deliberately, since exploring your sexuality with a long-term spouse or a short-term fling is equally valid.

Using this Book

Whether you're struggling with a shifting sexual self image, you're curious about why your sex drive flew the coop, or you're single and need tips for meeting people, you'll find help here. The early chapters deal with the core components that define a woman's relationship to her own sexuality, including sexual self-image, self-esteem, masturbation, desire, and communication.

The later chapters deal with an array of obstacles a mother may encounter to her love and sex life, and include practical advice on how to make sex a priority, how to share the responsibility for a fulfilling sex life with a partner, how to manage a sex life when you're single, and how to expand your experience of sex. In order to inspire some creative change in your own life, we've sprinkled over one hundred easy-to-try Hot Tips throughout the book, all designed to help you embrace a bigger, better sexuality.

Who We Are

We're lifelong friends and colleagues motivated by the philosophy that everyone is entitled to a happy, healthy sex life. Together we've written two non-fiction sex guides that offer up-to-date information and practical advice on how to enjoy safe and satisfying sexual explorations. Our first book, The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, was born out of our decade-long careers as vibrator saleswomen at San Francisco's women-owned erotic emporium, Good Vibrations.

Our second book, The Woman's Guide to Sex on the Web, was inspired by our appreciation of the Internet's contribution to women's sexual empowerment and self-expression. Both endeavors gave us a provocative glimpse into the bedrooms of ordinary women and men of all ages and backgrounds.

In our lives and in our work, we're dedicated to furthering women's sexual emancipation. Anne wrote the online "Sex and Parenting" column for the popular magazine Hip Mama and is a regular contributor to the women's sexuality site Libida.com. She enjoys firsthand experience as the single mother of two young girls. Cathy is a health educator at The Sperm Bank of California, providing information and support to women and men who are building families through donor insemination. She lives with her partner, Becky, and their son.

As YOU please

We realize that advice books, particularly parenting books, can make you feel like you're back in school struggling to keep up with homework assignments -- after you've finished absorbing details relevant to one developmental stage, you take a breather, and then it's on to the next stage. If you or your child lag behind, you start to feel like a screw up, or that you're missing out on some grand opportunities. The last thing we want is for readers of Sexy Mamas to feel inadequate as a result of our advice, or other mothers' experiences. We offer tools, information, and a lot of encouragement to explore your maternal sexuality, but please honor your own experience and explore at your own pace.

Most of all, we want to send you on your way with our thanks and praises. It takes courage and determination to challenge the cultural conditioning that mothers should practice self-sacrifice, rather than pursue their true sexual desires. We hope this book gives you the inspiration and the means to pursue a lifetime filled with sexual pleasure.

Note: An expanded version of this book entitled The Mother's Guide to Sex was published in 2001 by Three Rivers Press. Excerpted from Sexy Mamas: Keeping Your Sex Life Alive While Raising Kids.

Cathy Winks and Anne Semans have been passionate advocates of sex education for over 15 years. As authors of the bestselling The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex and Sexy Mamas: Keeping Your Sex Life Alive While Raising Kids, they continue to spread their philosophy that everyone is entitled to a happy and healthy sex life.

Copyright © Cathy Winks and Anne Semans. Permission to republish retained by Pregnancy.org.