Intimacy in a Postpartum World

baby almost dueMy wife is about to give birth and, aside from my excitement about the arrival of our third child, I'm thinking about the future of my life in the bedroom. Having been through two other postpartum periods, I'm experienced with my wife's need to physically heal and deal with the demands of infant care and feeding. I'm a veteran of the important process of emotionally recovering from carrying the child and adjusting to the level of unselfishness required of motherhood.

Now, I'm also aware that I should give up much of myself to help nurture and feed the baby while juggling the management of the older kids. I've done it and will willingly do it again. I'm a team player and I do love bonding with my babies. But I'm in a near state of panic about losing my nookie for the foreseeable future.

I can hear the groans (no pun intended -- well, maybe it's intended) from the women out there who are already anticipating the whining about a guy's physical needs. Married ladies, in fact, much of the female population, are veterans of lines like, "Baby, I can't help if I need it more often than you;" or "Really, it will only take a few minutes;" and "I can't help wanting it 'cause you're one hot mama."

In truth, though, I know that following the baby's birth, I will survive the first six to eight weeks without much contact.

But what will happen to my bedroom life for the next year and beyond? Plenty of women's magazines and parenting publications provide insight from the female viewpoint. Now, it's a man's turn.

Without further foreplay, here are a few suggestions for guys who want a fair share of intimacy with the mother of their children.

  1. Beat the Stress Factor. What remains absolutely true is that guys usually take about 0.5 seconds to become excited and they get randy when they're tense. A lot of women take longer to feel in the mood and have little interest in physical affection when they're stressed.

    Considering the fact that pressures build to all-time highs in a household full of kids, a guy needs to get real smart if he's going to do more than kiss his wife goodnight. So, here's a magical trick: communicate.

    Don't just jump her as soon as the kids go to sleep for the night. Call her in the middle of the day and tell her you love her and her body. Kiss her neck before you sit down to dinner. Then, before you watch TV, do bills, or slog through more work, try slightly more intense overtures to get things going.

    Once it gets past 9 p.m. or so, your chances are pretty slim. Exhaustion saps the energy of just about anyone, especially an overworked mom. So, start earlier if you want to get in before the shop closes for the night.

  2. Earn It. You know all that courting you did when you were first dating? Well, children act like little reset buttons that send you back to the beginning of your relationship.

    That's why, when you try to get spontaneous, you often receive the response, "Not so fast, mister. We hardly know each other." Actually, after working and wrangling children, your wife may look at you like a stranger.

    To keep yourself in her recent memory -- aside from being a serious partner in child-rearing -- try calling her two to three times in a given day, especially a day you're hoping to end rolling around in the sheets.

    The advice to talk more is really applicable to anything in your relationship, but it truly works here. When you talk, cover the kid category as usual, but also mix in some grown-up stuff -- about movies, current events, how good she looked when you left the house -- all the things you used to chat about when you were dating. In this way, you earn your way back into her romantic graces.

  3. Keep a Calendar. This suggestion comes up repeatedly, largely because it works. For busy people with dawn-to-dusk responsibilities, a calendar keeps you organized.

    Isn't physical affection a requirement of two people in a committed relationship? Most people would say yes, so the idea of scheduling a bedroom rendezvous makes perfect sense. While the calendar may seem business-like, you can have fun with the concept.

    Make sure that you call your wife to confirm the appointment -- twice. Perhaps you can even be sure you both understand the "meeting agenda" (phone foreplay can never be underestimated). If, for some reason, the appointment needs rescheduling, consider a makeup that doesn't cancel out your next appointment. The benefit of calendar booking is the assurance of regular intimacy.

  4. Get Away. Speaking of scheduling, plan a weekend away. Even one night at a motel down the street will do. The time away from the kids is essential to recharging the love life.

    To accomplish this, be the one to book the trip and set up the itinerary, or at least alternate the planning responsibilities. On that itinerary should be time to just be in the hotel room a fair amount to increase the likelihood, if not the occurrence, of unclothed activity.

    Consider going to different destinations or make it the same hotel every time. Try to plan for this twice a year. It's worth it because it gets you back in touch with each other. It's an old mantra, but scheduling a regular date night can keep the romantic energy flowing as well.

  5. Get it Any Way You Can. Let's be honest. The opportunity for a whole night of wild activity is going to be rare. Also, the time for it may not always be there either.

    Make sure you ponder the definition of physical satisfaction for yourself and your wife so that everything from a serious make-out session to making love twice in the same day works for you. Simply watching TV naked, without having more happen (though that might increase the chances), can put enough affection in your week to keep you going.

Hopefully, these suggestions provide guys -- and the women involved in the equation -- with ways to not only get more physically active, but receive all the benefits of increased intimacy. As much as men like to pretend that all they care about is the big climax, there are a lot of married guys who simply want to keep the relationship communication and spark burning bright.