In January, relationship expert Dr. Laura
Berman launched her new show, "In the Bedroom with Dr.
Laura Berman," on Oprah's new network, OWN. Each episode follows
one couple through an intensive relationship overhaul. Berman says
it's filled with how-to's viewers can use in their own
She also is out with a new book, It's Not Him, It's You. Berman
describes the book as a wake-up call to women. It offers women
tools to take charge of their love life, to stop sabotaging their
happiness with negative behaviors from past relationships and to
get the love and intimacy they deserve.
Dr. Laura Berman is so much fun to talk with that
you could easily forget you aren't chatting with your best gal pal
over lunch-until she unabashedly talks about s-e-x as the waiter
walks up. He doesn't come back.
Berman, Chicago parent of three boys, renowned
relationship and sex expert, talk show host for whom no topic is
off limits and best-selling author, has made it her life's work to
get couples to focus on loving, living and, yes, sex. Throw kids
into the mix-Berman lovingly describes kids as 24-hour need
machines-and those romantic and intimate days of early couplehood
"The default position is to put all our focus on them, all
of our hopes, all of our dreams, all of our hurts and damages we
want to undo through them. They become the focus of our existence.
Then they leave and we turn around and look at each other and say,
'Who the hell are you?'"
That's the question she wants to help you
We hear this all the time: We're busy moms (and
dads) and there's just no time for sex. What do you say to
We are really busy. Your kids obviously are the priority,
but if you don't make your relationship the priority, then the
foundation that your kids depend on starts to fall apart. We all
like to think, "Oh, we can just sweep it under the rug, we'll get
to it later," because getting the carpool done or getting the
cookies baked for the bake sale, running that extra errand or doing
an extra e-mail is important. But you are actually doing your kids
a significant disservice when you do that because the biggest gift
and the most important foundation for them is not only a stable
home, but a model of what a loving, intimate relationship looks
You can definitely co-exist a certain amount of time and
many couples do, but eventually it comes to bear and the connection
between the two of you, the emotional intimacy, the physical
non-sexual intimacy, the camaraderie, the sense of being allies and
on the same team, all of that starts to disintegrate when you don't
have that intimate physical connection.
How do people make time?
We all make time for what we think is important. It's just
prioritizing and making that the priority. I think we all tend to
be child-centric, even more so now than ever before, and our kids
to a large extent are benefiting from that. They have more
opportunity; we've evolved in our thinking in how to raise them and
how to give them new perspectives and new experiences. Instead of
sending them to that sixth after-school activity for the week,
couldn't you just give up one of those and let them have a quiet
afternoon at home and give you some downtime to recharge your
It's also a matter of scheduling it. I think we're so into
scheduling our kids and our lives, but we balk at scheduling sex.
If you expect sex to happen spontaneously, certainly you are going
to be waiting a long time for sex to happen. It doesn't happen
because you are too overscheduled and overstressed.
Schedule sex in your private calendar (not the one on the
refrigerator, of course). In pen. Even if you have to change the
appointment every week, at least once a week have a sex
Don't expect sex to happen at night, when you are most
taxed, most exhausted, then can't do it until the kitchen is
cleaned, lunches are made. Get creative about setting the alarm
early one morning a week before the kids get up or plugging them
into a cartoon for 15 minutes on a weekend or when they are off on
a play date, or jump in the shower with each other.
What do you do or say when the kids are "on to
It's good for them. They don't need to know the details
(she laughs). I see all the adults who grew up who didn't know what
a normal loving relationship looked liked; they learned it was bad,
wrong, dirty. That gets internalized. My son knows we have sex, we
don't discuss the details at all. He knows it's part of a healthy,
loving relationship. If they are "on to you," if they start getting
grossed out, say, "All I can hope for you is when you grow up, you
will have the kind of loving relationship like I have." It's
nothing to be ashamed of, embarrassed (about).
If you had one takeaway for
Don't think that your relationship can wait; don't think
that you can sweep things under the rug and just say I'm sorry, I'm
too stressed and I don't have time. You do have time; you just have
to make it. And recognize that your kids will benefit significantly
more from having a model of what a loving relationship is and
having a solid foundation in their home of two parents who are
solid in their commitment to one another.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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