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Setting the Mood When You're Married With Children

When my now-husband and I first met, we couldn't keep our hands off each other. We'd spend hours at a time in bed, snacking, watching B-horror flicks and fooling around, never tiring of that skin-against-skin, limbs entwined, constant contact.

The longer two people stay together, however, the tougher it can be to keep things exciting. Even (or especially?) when you're a sex writer. And once you pop a baby out of your vagina and no longer have a moment to yourself? Forget about it.

But I'm determined to keep the spark alive. Especially with Valentine's Day approaching. Luckily, I just received a review copy of Emily Nagoski's "Come As You Are," and it has the wheels in my head turning.

RELATED: 10 Ways Kids Ruin Your Sex Life

In her book Nagoski, PhD, writes about male and female sexual response, and how they often differ from each other. She explains that while the classic male response is typically "spontaneous desire," for many women, desire is more "responsive." Which is why, she says, most of us require a "sexy context" in order to get aroused.

In the past, I've written a whole lot about creating "sexy contexts," extolling the virtues of erotic massages and couples-friendly porn. Now I just laugh/sob at the thought that I once had the ability to do any of the things I wrote about. With a 7-month-old in the house, everything has changed.

In the interests of not giving up, however, I've developed new suggestions for creating a sexy mood when you're married with children.

1. Install a lock on your bedroom door.

Way back when, you thought that once you were out of your parents' house you'd never need that lock again. Obviously, you were wrong. But that's OK. After some time, you'll notice that the click of that lock catching has a sexy, Pavlovian effect on your nether regions. (Bonus: You may experience that same delightful feeling even when you're just locking the door to take a disco nap or sob with frustration into your pillow.)

2. Go back to a time when holding hands was the most electrifying thing that could ever happen.

Foreplay is about so much more than smooches, dry humping and third base. And when the kids are around, it can be tough to take your time getting to third base anyway. So hop into your wayback machine and return to a simpler time when you enjoyed such things as: spooning! holding hands! allowing your arms to accidentally brush up against each other!

3. Try eye gazing, passionate hugging and other forms of intense intimacy.

No, really. Eye gazing is totally a thing. There are parties and everything. But you can make this even more intimate by practicing at home, perhaps while staring desperately at each other across the kitchen table while your infant learns to eat finger foods for the first time ever.

4. Give each other foot massages.

I hate feet. Especially my own. But foot massages feel good. And getting completely naked for a full-body erotic massage is out of the question anyway. Besides, according to the creators of Sexy Love Sox (a product I once reviewed approximately a thousand years ago), you can use reflexology to stimulate your partner's erogenous zones.

5. Master the art of the quickie.

Become a fan of morning sex, when your child is still trapped behind the bars of their crib, or engage in a quickie during their naptime. Allow the urgency—the need to finish up before they wake up—to add a frisson of heat to your interaction.

6. Get hip with what the kids are doing these days and try sexting.

Use your imagination. Ask yourself, What would my significant other consider to be a turn-on? To get you started, here are some of the things that turn me on: "Remember that time we ..." "I'd really like to BLANK your BLANK." "I bought more coffee beans today." "Do you want me to pick up some ice cream Snickers bars on the way home from work?"

7. Maybe don't wear those cotton granny panties that are unraveling at the seams. Just this once.

Instead, surprise your husband by ripping off your clothing (after locking the bedroom door, of course) to reveal that one lingerie set he bought you seven years ago that has been crumpled up in the back corner of your underwear drawer ever since. Bonus points if it still fits!

RELATED: How One Mom Got Her Groove Back

8. Give up on heating things up at home, hire a babysitter and go to one of those hourly rate motels.

Because the babysitter's not available all night. Just make sure your room's not on the first floor. Unless you're into exhibitionism.

9. Then again, maybe your idea of paradise is still attainable even if you stay put.

This is basically the evening I requested this Valentine's Day.

Good luck, you crazy kids!

Image via Twenty20/j_park3r

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