A Sexpert's Advice - Four Tips (as featured in the 2007 parenting issue of The Boston Globe Magazine)
Originally published by The Boston Globe Magazine in 2007, Text by Carey Goldberg - Click here for original article
"Look," Lexington sex therapist Aline Zoldbrod will tell a couple. "Angry women aren't horny." Or: "No tired woman in an established relationship with kids is going to pick sex over sleep." Blunt, she is. She is also concerned – about the rise of "sexless marriages" and the many mothers who confess to her that since having a baby they have felt dead below the waist.
Zoldbrod, 59, has spent much of her career helping women understand how upbringing influences sexuality.
But of late, in popular articles and talks at such venues as the Newton Mothers' Forum, she is focusing more on motherhood and sex – or rather, the lack thereof. For a look: sexsmart.com.
Part of what distinguishes Zoldbrod's work is her talent for offering memorable images and bite-sized action plans.
Zoldbrod argues that the zest for sex dies when a couple’s life consists only of work work work, even when much of it is the joyful work of parenting. She tells them, "You’re not supposed to be like two horses harnessed together, plowing the fields at dawn. You’re supposed to be like two horses together, cavorting in a field in the sunlight."
Circle & Linear
Central to Zoldbrod’s prescriptions is the idea that if mothers do less housework, they will feel less depleted and want more sex. They need husbands and hired help to lessen their loads, but they also need to resolve to do less. In particular, she suggests offloading "circular tasks" – traditional women’s labor like cooking, cleaning, and laundry – that by definition can never be truly done. If mothers have more time for themselves, she says, "they’ll be more alive, happier, and less angry."
Sex night for parents
Even if you can’t afford a baby sitter, she argues, you can still arrange a sexy night in together – if you plan and work for it. She suggests a strategy that includes daytime naps, a simple meal with no cleanup, children put down to bed early, and a ban on phone calls and e-mails for the evening.
The great dane
One problem that can arise, Zoldbrod says, is that men tend to think of sex as relaxing because reaching orgasm is all but guaranteed for them, while for women – and especially tired mothers – the prospect of staying aroused all the way to orgasm can look like hard work. She suggests that women pursue their own arousal and orgasm as if they are taking a Great Dane for a walk: The dog will keep wandering off the path to sniff things and explore, and they must pull it back. "You need to yank your thoughts back to the sexual-pleasure path."