How to Get in the Mood When You’re Not in the Mood For Sex

It wasn’t meant to be like this. In my head, I hadn’t imagined we would be ships in the night.

But we were.


Life changed the moment we had kids. We had no idea how much this change was going to affect our lives. How could we tell? We’d never been through parenthood before. We didn’t know what type of baby we’d have. We didn’t know how we’d react with little sleep. We’d seen each other physically naked, but not emotionally naked in the way a tiny baby that demanded all our attention, love and energy made us. Our marriage changed the moment we had a baby. And each baby since has added a degree of separation.

Despite all that, it wasn’t until recently that I realised how much we had turned into a team, rather than the lovers we once were. The kissing had gone to just a peck on the cheek. Hugs were quick. Life was too busy for hugs. Snuggling in bed was replaced with snuggling a pillow to catch up on sleep we hadn’t had the night before.

Sex was quick. Same position. In and out. Done and dusted before the kids could find where mum and dad were hiding. The romance of our relationship was slowly being quenched by the reality of family life. With all its demands and stresses. The wick was still lit but the flame had started to flicker.

I knew we had to change and I knew I had to instigate it. This wasn’t about who would instigate first. Someone had to cup that flame and I knew I was partially to blame for the monotony in our relationship.

So I started to kiss my husband more. Deeply and passionately. I’d smell the familiar scent of him as I’d kiss his neck. He responded with surprise and delight.

We experimented in the bedroom. Grocery money was put aside for new lingerie – lacey undies and bras I had all but ruled out since childbirth, were bought instead of t-shirt bras and suck-em-in undies. I shaved my legs and made an effort to look sexy. I got a new haircut and I made sure my breath was fresh.

Sex was different every time. We lived on the edge and kept our door open while the kids were engrossed in a movie down the hall, in the living room, giggling at what we’d say if we got found out. We tried things we hadn’t before and would fall into the bed, laughing at what we had done, giddy that 3 kids later we could still make love in a position that wouldn’t put our backs out.

I made an effort to snuggle into my husband at night. Even though my body craved sleep, I knew my heart ached more for love and intimacy with the man I fell in love with 15 years ago. Our lives may have changed and become fuller since we became parents, and sometimes our relationship has waived from team players, to friends and lovers. But we’re still there. Husband and wife. Wife and husband, fumbling and stumbling, but never wanting to give up on what we have built together.

We still need to work at it. Marriage isn’t something you just let run its own race. It needs to be monitored like a stopwatch. Hurdles need to be approached with caution and followed through with grace. We might not have fireworks of young love, but we have a flame of familiar love and every now and then we have sparks that just add more power to our flame.

So how do you gear yourself up in the mood for sex when you’re really not in the mood?

I think it comes down to the realisation that sex won’t save a relationship, but it will definitely reset it on course for intimacy. If sex is left for when we’re ‘in the mood’, we will never be in the mood because life and exhaustion can quench our desire. Being open when you communicate with your partner can help you get into the mood. A simple “I can’t wait until your home and the kids are in bed because I’ve got something special planned” can build anticipation (and also a deadline!). The messages don’t need to be seedy, but simply stating needs and wants in a loving way.

Wearing underwear that has a bit of lace and is a little pretty always helps me get in the mood. Don’t wear anything uncomfortable. G-strings may be out (in all honesty they were never in on me), but a sheer lacey pair may help you feel a little more desirable and build a hunger to be intimate with your partner.

The last thing is to relax and get into the groove of it when things are ON. Stop thinking about what needs to be done around the house or if your kid has their uniform ready for school tomorrow. It’s a bit like telling a new mum to nap when the baby naps, yet her house looks like a bomb hit it and she has to clean it up and she won’t relax until it’s done. The same can be said for sex. Sex needs to be prioritised and when you’re in the zone, the focus needs to stay in that zone.

This is an area of my life that I’m working through myself. What may work for me, may not work for you. But what I do know is when I have been intimate with my husband, I’m less stressed, I feel closer to him and our kids get to see a happier mum and dad, which benefits the whole family.

Has sex changed for you since you became a mum? What have you done to get yourself into the mood?

This might help too:

Image: Getty