5 Ways to Turn Off 'Mom Brain' & Enjoy Your Sex Life Again

woman thinkingYou and your husband have finally found time alone together, while you're both still awake, and in bed. It's the perfect opportunity to have sex. It starts out fun, but then a very unsexy barrage of questions invades your brain: Did you remember to put Meghan's tap shoes in her school backpack? What day next week are the kids doctors' appointments again? How are you going to find time to make two dozen birthday cupcakes? 


It's Mom Brain! How do you turn it off?!?

We can't be blamed when the Mom Brain keeps running at moments like these. We're juggling so much, and we're so used to multitasking, it's almost inevitable. But we can still turn our attention away from it. We mined Emily Nagoski's book Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life for ideas on how to do that.

1. Manage your feelings of stress. Nagoski talks about sexual inhibitors -- the things that make you hit the brakes, sexually. The script that runs on our Mom Brain is definitely one of those things. And most of the time, it's a sign that we're stressed out. "When you're stressed out, your brain interprets just about everything as a potential threat." 

You may not be able to change all the things causing you stress, but you can change how you feel about it all. "Do things that communicate to your body, 'You have escaped and survived!'" Nagoski suggests. Here are some things she recommends:

Physical activity

Sharing affection

Primal scream or a good cry

Progressive muscle relaxation or other sensorimotor mediation

Body self-care, like grooming, massage, or doing your nails

2. Make a plan for having great sex. Before the next time you have sex, think about what's going to help yourself feel turned on? And what are you going to do that will help you turn off your Mommy Brain?

Nagoski gives a lot more detail on this in the book, but I think the idea of making a plan makes sense -- because for a lot of parents, it's not like you have the time and luxury to set the stage for sex every time. You often have to jump in when there's a moment. So what's your plan for getting in the mood and enjoying that sex? 

3. Try on the identity of a woman who loves sex. Part of the Mom Brain problem is that you're still connecting to your identity as a mom. When you're having sex, you need to connect with a different identity -- a woman who loves sex. But what if that just doesn't feel natural? 

That's an opportunity to do some important work, to Nagoski. "If you find it difficult to embody the identity of a woman who loves sex, that's crucial information! Think about what makes that identity such an uncomfortable fit." And then do something about it. Easier said than done, she admits. But it's worth doing, not just for the sex but for you as a person.

4. Practice mindfulness. A big part of this problem is learning how to stay in the moment in general. "Notice what you're paying attention to, and then shift your attention to the thing you want to pay attention to." That's hard for moms to do, especially. 

Nagoski recommends an exercise that can help you practice mindfulness. You can practice it just about anywhere, at any time. "Let yourself notice your breathing. In. Pause. Out. Pause. In. Pause. Out. Pause. Two breaths, just like that." Try this noticing exercise five to ten times a day.

And notice, above all, when your attention wanders during those two breaths -- which it will. That's normal. When you notice your mind wandering, smile at those other thoughts, let them go, and gently return your attention to what you want it to be.

The more you practice this mindfulness the easier for you to turn your attention away from your Mommy Brain and back to your partner and what you're doing.

5. Give yourself permission to enjoy feeling sexy. Nagoski writes about a woman who compared her feelings about sexy pleasure with her feelings about the pleasure she gets from being a mom. "'It's not selfish of me to enjoy being with my kid -- enjoying it makes me a better parent,'" the woman tells her. "'So how come I can give myself permission to have that pleasure, but I can't give myself permission to enjoy other kinds of pleasure?'"

Think about whether consciously or unconsciously you are denying yourself that permission. And remember, you are the only one who can grant it. What are you waiting for?

Do you struggle with the Mommy Brain running during sex? How do you deal with it?

turn off mom brain

Image © iMarin/Shutterstock and © gpointstudio/Shutterstock

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