Today's Family Man - 'Intimacy in a Postpartum World'
By Gregory Keer
My 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
post-partum 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 9pm 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.
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.
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
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.
© 2005 Gregory Keer. All rights reserved.
BIO: Gregory Keer is a syndicated columnist, teacher, and on-air expert on fatherhood. His
Family Man™ column appears in publications across the country, including L.A. Parent, Boston
Parents' Paper, Bay Area Parent, Long Island Parenting News, Metro Augusta Parent, and Sydney's
Child in Australia. Keer's concurrent column, Today's Family Man, is found at his online
www.FamilyManOnline.com. He also writes for Parenting magazine and the
Parents' Choice Foundation as well as such sites as Parenthood.com, Pregnancy.org, FamilyResource.org,
GardenAndHearth.com, SheKnows.com, KeepKidsHealthy.com, and CanadianParents.com. On television,
Keer has appeared on morning shows and cable specials. He is the father of three sons and husband
to Wendy, a professor in child-development.