Dear Sex Counselor,
Can you recommend any books that give moms or moms-to-be information about maintaining a healthy sex life, both during and after pregnancy?
Maintaining a healthy sex life is important to many moms and moms-to-be. Pregnant women and women who have recently given birth often find themselves wondering what’s "healthy" or "normal" in terms of their sex life, both for themselves, their partners (if they have them) and their kids. Luckily, there are some great resources available to help moms and moms-to-be deal with their changing bodies, changing time schedules, and changing responsibilities.
Love in the Time of Colic by authors and parents Ian Kerner, Ph.D. and Heidi Raykeil combines the humor and personal touch of a memoir with the practical advice of a guide. The book is rich with self-assessments and quizzes to get you thinking about the "state of your sexual union," as well as excellent ideas for maintaining and enhancing intimacy with your partner. This book focuses on heterosexual partnerships, but may be useful for anyone looking for information on ways to explore new paths to pleasure and sexual satisfaction. This book takes a balanced look at how navigating sex and parenting affects both mothers and fathers, making this a nice resource for partners to read through together. Because this book contains a lot of information on the physical and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy and the early stages of adapting to parenthood after delivery, this book is a nice choice for couples with newborns and young children.
Sexy Mamas: Keeping Your Sex Life Alive While Raising Kids by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans, is the most open-minded book for moms that we carry. Written by the co-authors of The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, Sexy Mamas takes on a hip, conversational tone that makes it very accessible. It’s also the widest-ranging as far as partnership options go -- while it’s written for a female audience, there is no heterosexual bias, and it also includes the perspectives of non-biological moms. The first portion of the book focuses on things you can do to increase your sexual connection to yourself, and includes great energy and money saving tips to free up space for self-care and self-pleasuring. The second portion focuses on your sexual connection to your partner, and discusses instilling privacy as a family value, talking to your partner about sex, and concludes with a chapter dedicated to the unique challenges that single moms face. This book stands out for it’s progressive approach to talking to your kids about sex, and it also includes a comprehensive resource list. This is a great choice for anyone looking for an affirming, inclusive guide that includes easy to implement ideas from real moms on the same journey.
Great Sex for Moms by Valerie Davis Raskin, MD is subtitled, "Ten Steps to Nurturing Passion While Raising Kids," and it delivers exactly that. Dr. Raskin focuses on the challenges that come with adapting to a new identity as a mother and what happens to your sexuality in the process. The book is oriented toward women who are experiencing sexual difficulty and/or low desire, and offers ten steps for improving sexual connection and nurturing passion. While the book definitely has a more conservative and clinical tone, Raskin’s expertise as a psychiatrist brings very thoughtful strategies for communication to the book. Dr. Raskin assumes a heterosexual and married partnership, but her suggestions may be helpful for anyone. This book is an excellent choice for women with children of any age who are experiencing low or no desire and wish to reconnect with their sexual selves and their partners. It’s also a nice choice if you’re looking for a guide that focuses on communication and intimacy.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for a memoir rather than a guide, Hump: True Tales of Sex After Kids by Kimberly Ford may be a good choice for you. Based on the author’s experience as a mother of three negotiating sexuality and parenting, this book consists of short essays and has a more laid-back and liberal tone. Hump covers a broad range of themes, from the more humorous and lighthearted anecdotes on choosing sex toys and discussing sexuality with children, to the more serious topics of miscarriage and abortion, which Kim handles with a lot of sensitivity. Though not an instructional book per se, you may glean useful ideas that infuse creativity and humor into your sexual connection, whether with yourself or with a partner. As Kim is married to a man and writes from life, this book focuses primarily on heterosexual, monogamous partnerships. This book may be a nice choice if you’re looking for a fresh perspective on keeping your sex life alive while raising kids, or if you’re just looking for a good book to unwind with.