Is Your Marriage Normal?

It's normal to lump sex in with the rest of your chores.

A friend once told me that she'd rather clean the toilet than bed down with her husband. And I totally get it. After all, it's fairly quick and easy to clean a toilet. Just squirt, scrub, and flush. It might be a dirty job, but it's over and done in a minute flat. Sex is more complicated, especially when you're not getting enough sleep or you feel overwhelmed. That's when sex can start to feel robotic and monotonous, and when your mind keeps drifting to unsexy thoughts. "I ask couples about their sex life because that is one of the best barometers of the overall functioning of a relationship, and they often will tell me that their sex life started to decline after the birth of their first or second child," says psychologist John Friel, Ph.D., who, with his wife, Linda, wrote The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do. These are some ways to turn a lackluster sex life around.

Switch to daytime sex. If possible, look into ways to have sex when you are feeling more energetic. Can you meet at home (or even a hotel) for a lunchtime romp? Also, get creative about prioritizing rest and relaxation. Maybe take turns sleeping in or napping on the weekends.

Be more assertive. If you're still fuming over the dinner dishes that he never got around to washing, you'll have a hard time relaxing. At the same time, withholding sex punishes you more because it cheats you out of an orgasm (which you deserve). He's not going to figure out you're feeling frosty because of the dishes, so tell him about the dishes.

Teach him how to get you in the mood. My definition of foreplay shifted once I became a parent. Like me, you might need to slowly transition from your role as mom to your role as sex kitten. Maybe you start with a massage. Maybe you start with a bath. Maybe you start with cuddling and talking about your day.

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