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Health & Sex

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No Time for Sex

Does having kids dampen your sex life? It doesn't have to.

Talk About It continued...

Instead, experts suggest, sit down and talk about the gigantic changes in your life and how you can still find time for sex.

Dierdre Powers and her husband decided they would try to stay up an extra 15 minutes to have sex at night. The strategy works, she says. She and her husband also agreed to give each other permission to "push the point" if one felt like having sex and the other did not. That meant, says Dierdre, that if her husband was "feeling frisky" and she wasn't, he could keep pursuing her after she initially declined. She could do the same with him.

But the pursuing partner had to try to get the other in the mood (give him a back massage, tell her she looks great) and to stop if the one pursued really wasn't up to it. Sometimes, Dierdre says, it just takes a little extra cajoling, trying something like, "Oh, sweetheart, are you really sure you're all that tired?"

Rediscover Each Other

After kids are born, spouses can become so wrapped up in their parenting roles that they lose sight of all else, says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington and past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. "People stop seducing each other," she says.

To rediscover each other as lovers, rather than parents, spend 10 minutes in bed after waking up and before going to sleep, suggests Kate Wachs, PhD, a Chicago psychologist and relationship expert. During these times, she says, "be positive and dedicated to your partner, just in conversation." It doesn't have to include sex, though these 10-minute appreciation breaks may lead to sex.

Schedule a Regular Date Night

Once a week, experts advise, get a baby-sitter or lean on your friends and get out together as a couple. "Couples need a date night to be by themselves," Wachs says. "Find friends with whom to rotate child care and date nights. Arrange sleepovers at each other's houses so you can take turns having date nights. And don't feel guilty about hiring baby-sitters. You're not just a mom, you're a wife and lover. When you become just a mom, that's when you start telling your husband what to do all the time, just like you tell your kids. You have to switch modes."

During the date, Wachs says, you shouldn't talk about home, work, or kids. Instead, talk about goals, dreams, and other fun topics. "Think like you did at the beginning of your relationship," Wachs says. If you had a passionate, romantic relationship before, you can reignite it, she says.

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