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Moms Have Sex? Who Knew!
As soon as we started spreading the word about our idea for this book, we knew we were on to something. Parents instantly responded with curiosity, enthusiasm, and almost desperate nods of approval, while folks without kids looked politely puzzled. And who could blame them? Although volumes have been written about motherhood and sex, the two subjects lie on parallel tracks that rarely intersect. Parenting books never explore how a mother can expect her sex life to be transformed by the demands of child rearing. Sex and relationship books for parents suggest tips for “keeping the flame alive” that depend on creating the illusion that you don’t have kids. And neither ever addresses how honoring your own sexuality through all the phases of your life sets a powerful example that enables your children to grow into responsible, sexually fulfilled adults.
The Mother’s Guide to Sex reaches out to women who want to integrate the joys of a satisfying sex life with the joys of motherhood. We offer tips, anecdotes, and practical information about sex and parenting, supported by advice from medical experts, sex experts, and the most valuable experts of all -- other mothers.
While we like to think that all parents can glean useful information and perspective from this book, it is written first and foremost for mothers. We are unabashed in asserting that mothers need and deserve a book of their own -- their sex lives have been invisible for far too long. Women simply aren’t raised with a sense of entitlement to sexual expression, and mothers face the double bindof social attitudes that deem maternity and sexuality mutually exclusive. Most mothers can testify that the desire for a fulfilling sex life didn’t disappear when they had children; it simply got buried under an avalanche of conflicting demands on their time and attention. A woman’s sex life undergoes significant changes from the moment she decides to have a child, and she has to navigate these changes with no more than the occasional tidbit of information from a kindly nurse or relevant anecdote from a straight-shooting friend. The legions of mothers who visit sex-related discussion boards on parenting Web sites -- swapping tips on everything from waning desire to remaining kinky -- reveal a profound hunger for an explicit discussion of sexual issues.
Ask a mom about her sex life and you’ll get responses ranging from “Sex? What’s that?” to “It’s better than ever, but it took a lot of work.” If you’re partnered, you’re probably not surprised by the statistic that parents living with children spend only about twenty minutes each week being intimate with each other. If you’re single, perhaps you wonder how to be fully present for your kids without neglecting your own desires. You may have picked up this book because a sexual drought is making you long for “the good old days,” or you may be curious to explore how your newfound maternal power and passion can enhance your sex life. Either way, we hope you’ll find much in these pages that challenges your assumptions and fuels your desires.
The Moms Speak
We wanted our discussion of mothers’ sexuality to reflect the concerns and experiences of a full spectrum of moms -- married, single, heterosexual, lesbian, adoptive, and biological -- so we posted a survey in several places on-line, including Hip Mama’s Web site. Imagine our delight when over seven hundred impassioned responses poured in. We heard from women whose experiences ran the gamut of maternal sexuality, from sexually confident fertility goddesses who were reveling in a sexual rebirth to mothers stymied by the practical and cultural restrictions on their sexuality. Their poignant and often humorous quotes appear throughout this book, and their comments guided our writing.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the moms who shared their thoughts -- not just because they sacrificed some of their precious free time to contribute to our book -- but because their stories reveal how every aspect of becoming and being a mother has sexual repercussions: from the stresses of trying to conceive to the hormonal shifts of pregnancy and postpartum to the challenges of prioritizing personal pleasure with children on the scene. It’s our goal to take as comprehensive an approach as possible in affirming a mother’s identity as a sexual being. Throughout this book, we refer to your sexual “partners”: a neutral term we use deliberately, since we believe that exploring your sexuality with a long-term spouse or a short-term fling is equally valid.
Using This Book
Whether you’re pregnant and wondering which sexual activities are safe, the mother of a toddler curious about why your sex drive flew the coop, or the mother of a teenager in need of sex education, you’ll find help here. We understand if you’ll want to make a beeline for the chapters specific to your own stage of motherhood, but we hope you’ll also peruse the entire book, as it encompasses a philosophy and range of material that can’t be contained in a single discussion of postpartum sex or the physical changes of puberty. We’ve organized the material into the following four areas:
Part One: Building Blocks of Sexuality
Core components define a woman’s relationship to her own sexuality, whether she is young or old, single or partnered, a mother or childless. In this section, we discuss the basic building blocks of a satisfying sex life -- sexual self-image, self-esteem, masturbation, desire, and communication -- and suggest ways to integrate each into your changing life.
Part Two: The ABCs of Becoming a Mom
Certain sexual concerns are specific to the time period during which a mother is planning to have a child, is pregnant, or has just given birth. Few times in a woman’s sex life are as hemmed in by proscriptions, some medically justified and others not. In this section, we cover the basics of conception, pregnancy, and postpartum.
Part Three: Reinventing Sex as a Parent
Every mother is faced with a staggering array of obstacles to her love and sex life. This section offers practical advice on how to make sex a priority, how to share the responsibility for a fulfilling sex life with a partner, how to manage a sex life when you’re single, and how to expand your definition -- and experience -- of sex.
Part Four: Raising Sexually Healthy Children
If we want to create a world in which a woman’s right to be both a maternal figure and a sexual figure is assumed and celebrated, we need to raise a generation of sexually literate, responsible adults. We discuss the steps that parents can take to model good attitudes and to provide appropriate sex information to their children.
In order to provide accurate medical information, we interviewed a host of professionals -- from midwives to doctors to psychologists -- and their advice appears throughout the text. However, we are not licensed medical practitioners, and we strongly advise you to consult your health-care provider if you have a pressing medical concern or need a second opinion. We know how difficult it can be to articulate your sex questions to a medical expert, so we’ve included a chapter on doing just that.
Who We Are
We’re lifelong friends and colleagues motivated by the philosophy that everyone is entitled to a happy, healthy sex life. Together we’ve written two nonfiction sex guides that offer up-to-date information and practical advice on how to enjoy safe and satisfying sexual explorations. Our first book, The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, was born out of our decade-long careers as vibrator saleswomen at San Francisco’s women-owned erotic emporium, Good Vibrations. Our second book, The Woman’s Guide to Sex on the Web, was inspired by our appreciation of the Internet’s contribution to women’s sexual empowerment and self-expression. Both endeavors have given us a provocative glimpse into the bedrooms of ordinary women and men of all ages and backgrounds.
In our lives and in our work, we’re dedicated to furthering women’s sexual emancipation. Anne writes the “Sex and Parenting” column for the popular on-line magazine Hip Mama and enjoys firsthand experience as the currently single mother of a four-year-old. Having been raised in a large Catholic family where any sexual expression was as forbidden as Eve’s juicy apple, Anne longs for a day when parents can experience, model, and teach healthy sexuality to their children without inviting criticism or shame. Cathy, who’s not a mother, currently works at The Sperm Bank of California, providing information and support to women who are building alternative families. After years of writing and talking about sex to strangers, as well as years in a long-term relationship, she’s learned that it’s a lot easier to communicate about sex from a soapbox than up close and personal -- but that both are well worth the effort.
As You Please
We realize that advice books, particularly parenting books, can make you feel like you’re back in school, struggling to keep up with homework assignments -- after you’ve finished absorbing details relevant to one developmental stage, you take a breather, and then it’s on to the next stage. If you, or your child, lag behind, you can start to feel like a screwup, or that you’re missing out on some grand opportunities. The last thing we want is for readers of The Mother’s Guide to Sex to feel inadequate as a result of our advice or other mothers’ experiences. We offer tools, information, and a lot of encouragement to explore your maternal sexuality, but please honor your own experience and explore at your own pace.
Most of all, we want to send you on your way with our thanks and praise. It takes courage and determination to challenge the cultural conditioning that mothers should practice self-sacrifice rather than pursue their true sexual desires. We hope this book gives you the inspiration and the means to pursue a lifetime filled with sexual pleasure.
|Part 1||Building Blocks of Sexuality||1|
|4||The Ebb and Flow of Desire||43|
|Part 2||The ABCs of Becoming a Mom||71|
|6||Sex and Conception||73|
|7||Sex During Pregnancy||94|
|8||The Fourth Trimester: Sex and the Postpartum Mom||138|
|9||How to Get the Information You Need||159|
|Part 3||Reinventing Sex as a Parent||173|
|12||The Silver Lining: Expanding Your Definition of Sex||227|
|13||Sex and the Single Mom||244|
|Part 4||Raising Sexually Healthy Children||265|
|14||Kids Are Sexual, Too||267|
|15||Talking to Your Children About Sex||301|
|16||Teaching by Example||321|
|Authors' Note: Finding Your Own Role Models||331|
|Web Sites for Kids and Teens||357|
Posted April 29, 2001
Having problems with your sexuality during pregnancy? Have you pored over sex manuals and pregnancy guides only to find nothing but positions for sex during the third trimester? Pick up this book. You'll find everything you could possibly want to know about how other women's attitudes and desires changed (or didn't) during their own pregnancies and afterwards, and you know what? They all seem to be different. Well-researched, nicely laid out and fun to read, as well as being very reassuring for the new mom who just knows that something's wrong with her.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.