Q. Ever since our baby was born this year, my husband and I can't find the time or energy to make love more than once a month. Each time, it seems like my vagina is tighter and penetration is more uncomfortable. It's almost to the point where I don't want to have sex anymore! What's going on?
Ow. Nobody could blame you for wanting to throw away your lingerie if sex hurts, but please don't accept that pain as inevitable or permanent. You just need to find out why it hurts -- a process that might involve addressing both physical and psychological factors.
Finally, remember that fatigue and resentment are also big libido bruisers. Raising a brand-new baby is wonderful -- but "exhausting, draining, and very time-consuming too," acknowledges Dr. Tisherman. If you can't get a moment to yourself, you're bound to feel pretty resentful and withdraw from him physically.
Schedule regular dates to see friends and exercise. Arrange nights out with your husband at least twice a month, too, even if you have to enlist family and friends as babysitters. "You don't want this problem to evolve into a permanent state of unhappiness," notes Dr. Tisherman. Instead, focus on appreciating each other and on remembering the love and friendship that first brought you together.
Holly Robinson, a mother of three, is a writer who lives outside of Boston.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, April 2005.