Are you the mother of young kids? Do you seem to have swapped desire for diapers?
On becoming proud parents, you’ve seen some of your friends slip into the Not So Sexy Zone, or even the dreaded Sexless Zone, a zone from which few seem to ever fully return. You swore it would never happen to you, but here you are, elbow deep in diapers, and your greatest longings now are centered on getting even one good night’s sleep, or perhaps a relaxing bubble bath. Hot sex, or even sex, seems to be a distant memory, albeit one that may have landed you where you are now.
Babies and young children deserve our love, attention, and devotion. But so do we. And so does our partner. So how is it that the bedrock of our lives–the Erotic Team we formed with another–is undermined just when we need it the most?
As Shakespeare famously wrote “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” We “play many parts.” As the mom of a young child or children, you may find that your current “script” is now called “The Greatest Parent.” Of course, you want it to be a Broadway hit, running to rave reviews for many, many years. Perhaps you idly wonder if they will even make a movie out of it.
For most of us, top billing would go to the “Nurturer” and “Provider,” with “Household Administrator,” “Chauffeur,” “Disciplinarian,” and “Soccer Mom” having bit parts. But as time goes on, you might find yourself seeming forever typecast, by yourself or your mate as “Responsible Mom” or perhaps “Momma Bear.” If you are playing out these roles without respite, this can send you into the Not So Sexy Zone.
Dads who seem messy, undisciplined, or who are just plain horny despite the new responsibilities of parenthood are sometimes dubbed the “Immature Boy/Man”, AKA “The Other Kid.” Mothers can be cast or even unconsciously cast themselves as the “Responsible Martyr.” To make matters even worse, you may remember how before the kids were born, it was as if you were Aphrodite starring in “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” Now she is unemployed, or cast as a short-fused “Medusa.”
So how do we shift out of this state? How can we work with all our parts, including our “erotic parts?” In other words, how can we access our inner Aphrodite again?
Author Chelsea Wakefield encourages women to become mindful of the sexual scripts they carry and to get to know their “inner cast of characters.” This can help access eros-enhancing parts as we go “In Search of Aphrodite.” (the name of Wakefield’s must-read book). Dick Schwartz recommends ways to work with de-sexualized (and over-sexualized) “Manager” parts that mask “Exiles” burdened with shame. Click here to listen to Dick Schwartz.
Mindfulness can also reveal internal prohibitions around letting our sexy parts have play in our life. For example, erotic wounding and fear of being too much may cause us to hide behind the de-sexualized Madonna or ”Cheer-Leader” mom. Although we are culturally conditioned to think of Motherhood as an unsexy part to play, women are whole-body sensual creatures. A regular mindfulness practice can help you shift states and become more embodied.
The key to recovering your juicy, sexy and seductress parts is making time to nurture them. Scheduling dates for solo sex, reading erotica and enjoying sexual fantasies can help you move out of the de-sexual zone. It’s important to pause for pleasure when you’re in overdrive. Stretching, dancing or shaking from head to toe can allow erotic energy to flow through your body when it has been sitting all day or toting kids around town.
When it’s time to include your partner, consider hiring a babysitter and get away for an afternoon quickie at a hotel, an overnight or longer vacation. Be intentional about leaving your domestic goddess self at home and invite Aphrodite to join you. With some gentle coaxing — music, candles, scents, and hot baths – she may come right back for a star-studded encore.