Stress Free Sex

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Stress Free Sex

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Stress Free Sex

If you're to believe your husband or that chatty co-worker, you're not having as much sex as you should. Poll a few moms on the playground, though, and they'll have an entirely different take on the subject. So who's right and who's wrong? And if your drive has recently taken a nosedive, is there anything you can do about it? We asked readers what they'd like to know about libido, then posed the questions to a panel of experts. Their answers will make you rethink the meaning of "normal" and help you enjoy a healthier—and hotter—sex life.

Q. I've been happily married for 11 years and have three kids, but for the past six months I've had zero interest in sex. Is there something wrong with me?

A. "Absolutely not! Parenting is a full-time job, so it's not surprising that sex is taking a backseat to your responsibilities," says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Washington. "Before you know it, a few months have gone by."

The first step toward resuscitating that lackluster libido: Make time for yourself. Book a sitter for a few afternoons a week—or ask your husband or a close friend to pitch in—and hit the gym. Exercise not only gives you energy, it can also boost your mood and self-esteem.

While you're at it, do things that make you feel more attractive. Touch up your roots, get a pedicure, or simply spritz on your favorite perfume (even if you're just picking up the kids from soccer practice). After a few weeks, you should start to feel like yourself again—instead of "so-and-so's mom"—and your interest in sex will likely return, says Schwartz. (If that doesn't happen, talk to your doctor or a therapist; a larger issue, like depression, may be the cause.)

Another activity to work into your busy schedule: sex. "Sometimes you have to go for it even when you're not into it," says Terry Real, a therapist in Boston. Instead of waiting for a thunderbolt of desire, kiss and caress each other and let things progress. Nothing may come of this the first few times, or you may need to push yourself. But, like dragging yourself to the gym when you'd rather sit on the couch, you'll be happy you did it.

To prevent your drive from waning again, continue carving out "me" time and plan a few grown-ups–only weekends with your husband (ask a relative if she can stay overnight, then escape to a local hotel). If it's impossible to get away, book a sitter and go to dinner and a movie.

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