As a Portland marriage therapist, I’ve had quite a few couples come through my door after the birth of their first child complaining that their relationship was over. There was just no passion anymore, no desire – no sex.

Some of you out there may think this is silly. Everyone knows that having kids changes your romantic life, and many of you might know that you’re not even medically supposed to have sex for the first six weeks or so. Are these people who need relationship help just overreacting and complaining about something insignificant?

Well, yes and no. The thing that I would say about having a baby is that no matter how much you “know” ahead of time, you don’t know anything until you experience it for yourself. For many couples, it isn’t just a lack of sex, but a complete removal of sleep, personal time, freedom, and romantic intimacy. And it’s completely normal for women to have little interest in sex because they may be feeling sore, exhausted, and unattractive.

Try Physical Closeness First, Says Portland Marriage Therapist

Too many people who come in for this kind of relationship help want to jump right into the sex. Even women tend to want to want to do it because they feel wrong and guilty otherwise. But what few people realize is that those engines need to be revved up a bit now. How?

Talk about it. This is the first step. You need to be honest with each other about how you’re feeling and understand where both of you are coming from. It’s going to take time and effort to get back to where you were, and that’s okay.

Touch each other without the intention of sex. It doesn’t have to be anything big or take much time. Hold hands or stroke each other’s skin as you pass by. Give each other short massages throughout the day or right before bed – trust me, you’ll need them! The point is to not use them as a build up to sex because that adds pressure.

Own your sexiness. Going through childbirth and becoming a parent makes many women – and even some men – feel less sexy. The next time you’re doing something physical, try to think about yourself in a sexy way and put in a little bit of swagger. You’ll be surprised how much thinking about your sexiness can make you feel sexy.

Touch yourself. Touching each other might seem like too much, but engaging in self massage can be a great way to turn both you and your partner on.

Tried everything and still no mojo? Talk to a Portland marriage therapist.