5 Ways to Get Rid of Your 'Sex Guilt'

overwhelmed woman with baby

It's hard to feel in the mood when you've got twelve loads of laundry, a work thingy due, spilled Cheerios on the floor, and a cranky toddler -- who may or may not be coming down with an earache. So when your partner comes home and has sex on the brain, who can blame you for gritting your teeth?

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You, that's who. It's called sex guilt, and it's just another way we women are oh so unfair to ourselves. Why can't we vacuum the house in a bikini and mean it?

What we conveniently overlook is the fact that "parenting is not a part-time job or a hobby. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," says Paul Hokemeyer, JD, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist who practices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Telluride, Colorado.

True, we XXers are enviable multitaskers, thank you very much. But most women, says Hokemeyer, "find it incredibly difficult to segment their sexual self from their matronly self."

No kidding. Going from baby talk to talking dirty to your partner can give anyone identity whiplash. And when you've got a to-do list a mile long, it's hard to think, "Eh, it can wait," and opt instead to stay up late and watch dirty movies with your partner.

But we want to soooo badly. Or we really don't, but feel like we should.

And it's that internal push-pull of guilt that can lead us straight into a sexual drought. "Sex becomes vested with a host of negative emotions that prevent you from sexually connecting with your partner," says Hokemeyer.

Don't worry. Even if you're parched and starting to hallucinate, there is a way out of your sexual Sahara. Here's what to do -- and now, not later:

1. Forgive yourself. A) Because you're not Superwoman. And B) Because juggling every aspect of your life is hard.

2. Get sex on the brain. Lingerie and a Brazilian wax have nothing on your gray matter. "Your most important sexual organ is your brain," says Hokemeyer. So that means that you'll need to encourage -- not throw a damper on -- opportunities to get in The Mood.

Remind yourself that your relationship -- which does include you -- should be your priority. You'll always have other obligations to fulfill. We promise.

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3. Change your thoughts, change your feelings. I'm still wearing my gym clothes. I don't weigh what I did pre-kids. I look so PMS. If you've got a running commentary of negative self-talk, it's not doing your self-esteem any favors. And it ain't helping your sex life, either.

"Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings," Hokemeyer points out, "and these negative feelings can rob you of a vibrant sex life."

Change those self-critical, self-defeating thoughts into positive ones, advises Hokemeyer. What do you love about yourself? What is going well in your life? What are you psyched about? Focusing on those things will get you a lot closer into being in The Mood.

4. Think of sex like ... exercise. No matter how much you love running, you probably still need to give yourself a little mental push to get off the couch and go. And once you do, you're probably all, "This is great! So glad I did this!" Yes?

Well, not to take the romance out of it, but try thinking of sex the same way.

"To get the benefits, you need to push yourself through the resistance that often comes with doing it," explains Hokemeyer.

5. Be patient. Once you commit to getting rid of your sex guilt, you might hope it'll be gone by, say, tomorrow. (Because who doesn't love nearly instant gratification?)

But "rekindling your sex life will take effort," says Hokemeyer. Hang in there. The effort will pay off, he adds, and in huge dividends "for your happiness, the well-being of your relationship, and the well-being of your family."

 

Image via Michaeljung/Shutterstock

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