Intimacy, Sexuality, and Connection in Parenthood

voices of your village Nov 11, 2021

0:00:00 Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village this is episode 198. In this episode I got to hang out with Michaela Boehm, she's a psychologist and really dives into connection and intimacy and spirituality and we were chatting about what that looks like in parenthood. And into things like is six weeks realistic ever? Or what does it look like to connect with someone at the end of the day and you've had a human on your body all day long. This episode was so requested and she is, Michaela is incredible. I loved this episode and loved my conversation with her and I'm so excited to bring it to you today.


0:00:45 Alyssa 

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00:01:30    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.  


00:02:00    Alyssa

Hey everyone, welcome to Voices of Your Village. Today I'm here for a very requested episode, predominantly from the moms in our village here, about how to connect with a partner and what intimacy looks like after kids, or when you're in parenthood, and I get to hang out with Michaela Boehm today. Hey Michaela, how are you? 


00:02:23    Michaela Boehm

Good? How are you doing? Happy to be here! 


00:02:26    Alyssa

I'm doing well, I'm glad you're here. Thanks for sharing your time with us. 


00:02:30    Michaela Boehm

Thanks for having me. 


00:02:32    Alyssa

Totally. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about your background and kind of what brings you here? 


00:02:37    Michaela Boehm

Yeah. Well, there's lots to my background, but I'll try and boil it down to a few sentences. I work on the intersection of relationship, sexuality and the body. So I'm specifically driven by the quest to give people information in the realms of relationship, how their body works, how to connect with your own body, both in the feeling domain in the sexual domain, so that that can be brought to relationship. And I have a background that spans trained as a psychologist, worked in drug and alcohol rehab, have extensive training in the yogic arts meaning, you know, tantra, internal, external body work, things of that nature. I'm actually, the holder of a very specific women's lineage that has to do with embodiment. And the orientation towards devotion is, is one way of saying it. And I've done over 40,000 one-on-one client hours in my career so far, probably by now close to 42. And so I've worked with women and couples, and as well as men, by themselves in the field of relationship, sexuality, human connection. And so I travel internationally between Australia, the US, Europe and the UK all year long. And I'm based in Ojai, California, which is north of Los Angeles between the coast and the Inland. And I think that's it. 


00:04:18    Alyssa

Awesome. I, we were just saying before I popped on it's snowing here, and very much not snowing there. And I was feeling a little jealous. 


00:04:26    Michaela Boehm

I very much love snow, yet still, probably I want to say 75-80 degrees during the day. Then it goes down to 40-45 at night. 


00:04:40    Alyssa

I'll take that 45 at night. All right, so I put out a call to villagers. When we found out we were having you on to have this conversation to ask them like, what specifically did they want more tools on, what do they want more information on? And so I have a list of questions that I want to kind of fire at you as we go here. But the biggest thing that I heard from folks was about really like a lack of libido, and they, a lot of folks were like, I don't know if it's because I'm so tired because I'm a mom and just non-stop going, or that I'm giving of myself all day long to another human. But this lack of like desire for intimacy and connection with their partner what seems like, at the end of the day is when usually it's the two of them. So can you speak to that?


00:05:35    Michaela Boehm

Yes. Well, I think there's something really, really important to be said before we even get started. And that is that we live in a time where very unrealistic expectations are placed on new parents, men and women alike, right? And that comes from a culture that shows only the best on Instagram, or, you know, like the people who live vicariously in some fantasy world on Facebook fantasy world of their own doing, and also the assumption that as women, in addition to the traditional roles that we still have to do, because only one gender can grow a baby so far. You know, we also get to do all the other things. And that's a huge privilege, but it's also a bit of a burden, because while we are expected and also, you know, essentially supported in many ways, to do all the things that can be done out there in the world, we are still carrying the burden of, you know, monthly periods and mood swings, and, you know, pregnancy or the lack thereof, and then childbirth. And, you know, all the horrible options that are available, they are horrible and good. But, you know, and then there's very little time given, particularly in the state's, unfortunately, of postpartum and becoming a new parent and becoming a different, like you said, a different human being who suddenly feeds a person from their body, right? I mean, when you really step back for a moment and you can consider the enormity of growing an entire human in your body, and then popping that human out, you know, through an impossibly small opening, and then feeding that human from your very own body while your body does all kinds of weird stuff, right, that the need to then immediately be back to sexy time, you know, and great erotic enjoyment between two partners is an unrealistic expectation. So that said, of course, us as human beings. And as beings outside of the parental realm, we do want that excitement. And we do want that engagement. And it's very, very important for couples raising children to have intimacy of, you know, as when I say, sexual nature, I don't necessarily talk intercourse only, I talk that kind of sensual connection and of erotic enjoyment of a person that you're with. And, you know, there's a health benefit to it, relational benefit to it a kind of overall self-esteem benefit to it. And so on one end, we are oversold the idea that we have to go back to having great sex right after, you know, childbirth essentially the moment the doctor allows. And on the other end, we do want certain things, and a lot of people I've worked with really grieve that part of their lives being gone. But so that all said, this was a long build-up to what I'm going to say next, which is there is different components to why it usually doesn't happen after, immediately after. So one component is the time in the relationship. I'm actually going to spell them all out and then get out gold one after the other. So there's the time that people have spent in the relationship. There is hormonal and bodily changes right that just come with that. Then there is, of course, sleep deprivation and, you know, and being a new parent. And then there's also a change in, let's say, attitude towards oneself and to partner. And oh, and then there's just the stress of regular life. 


00:10:09    Alyssa



00:10:10    Michaela Boehm

Right? Which is always there right now. So what, so I'm going to unpack them a bit. Right? So the obvious ones, the ones that are fairly easy to understand right is that, well, let me say a few things in the bigger picture. And then we slot these things in. So how our human body works, of course, is that pleasure and arousal and libido and general connection come from us feeling our bodies, right? If you can't feel what's happening in your body, you're not feeling pleasure or pain. You just numb to varying degrees. Right? So numbness comes from overwhelm. It comes from stress. It comes from old, or just happened, trauma or injury, or, you know, trauma is a using it in the widest sense. Something happened that made it so the body has a traumatic experience, that could be childbirth. That could be an accident, that could be childhood sexual abuse and everything in between. So, those things, all these things reduce our ability to feel our body. The less we feel our body, the less we feel pleasure, the less we feel alive unless intuition and connection with ourselves we have. And the less libido there is. Right? So for most human beings in this time and age, unless you live out in the woods and you have really good discipline around social media and computer access and you don't have a TV, let's for most of us, overwhelm is extreme and purely on and endocrine level, that kind of overwhelm and light pollution and sound pollution. All of those kind of things affect the adrenals in the adrenals, of course, produce most of the reproductive hormones, which most people don't know that a large portion of what drives our sexual health hormones comes via the adrenals. So your adrenals are compromised and so on and so on. So most people's have most people have the overwhelm distress, some trauma to begin with. So those are libido killers. Now add the aftermath of birth, trying to be a new parent, or having a second child on top of a toddler, or things of that nature, right? And not sleeping and of also then hormones, postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, all of those kind of things. Yeah, you're not gonna feel like it, right? Yeah. And I don't think in in the first let's say, year or two, right? That's really an issue. Unless, of course, that's an issue in the partnership, right? Because if one person just is really struggling with that, and the other person wants sex all the time, that's a problem in itself, right? But when two people enter a new segment of their life, I think knowing that things are just not going to be like they were before and giving oneself a bit of permission to maybe not expect everything from oneself. Of course, that's the thing that you want in the first place. It reduces stress and pressure and tension, and then that ups the libido right? 


00:13:58    Alyssa

Right, it's a cycle.


00:13:59    Michaela Boehm

It's the cycle when they've, and it's totally counterintuitive to go. Okay, well, we're going to take our hands off for a period of time so that we can actually relax a bit it and put our attention where our attention should go, which is dealing with a child, right? So other factors that play into decreased libido other than, of course, the endocrine stress trauma area is how much time people have already been in a relationship. So another way of saying that is after the honeymoon period is over, right? Most people know what that means. The willingness, or the excitement to connect with that person is diminished. And there's a reason for that. And the reason for that, and that's really, really important to understand at any moment in the relationship. The reason for that is that long term functional, successful relationship is built on sameness. So the more you have in common. So commonality is the number one factor for successful long-term relationship. And so when people have things in common and that's common values, common goals, common ideas about child rearing, religion, money, you know, a vegetarian or a vegan and the meat eater don't mix, you know, like so. So the more you have in common, the more interest you have in common, your friends and social network you have in common, the better your relationship, because relationship is built on sameness, right? So if we would meet somewhere in a restaurant or so in a cafe for the first time, the first thing we would do. And even we do it on the phone, right? If we establish common ground, right? We both like your tin roof there. It's beautiful, right? And we both like old houses with beautiful wood trimmings, right? So, immediately there we have something in common, and that connects us, and that builds our relationship. So when people have been together for a while, the and it's a good relationship, they have established patterns of communication. They have an understanding. They have joint friends, they live together, they do joint activities, they have routines that makes it very easy to pull on the same side of the rope. Now sexual attraction, the erotic spark right, the the kind of you know, exciting spark between two people is based on them being very opposite. 


00:16:55    Alyssa

The old catch-22. 


00:16:56    Michaela Boehm

That's right. Opposites attract sexually. And what is it? Birds of a feather stick together relationally. So that is a catch-22, unless you know what to do. And so here's the good news. The good news is it's much, much harder to find somebody with whom you want to have common ground and established the common ground, then it is to create erotic attraction. That's just mechanics, right? 


00:17:23    Alyssa

So great news. 


00:17:24    Michaela Boehm

Yes, it's really great news. And and the thing is, we don't know that, because it all gets muddled together, often people, when they're no longer have great desire for each other. I think their relationship is over. But really it's a sign that they probably have gotten good, you know, good commonality going, but they're just not that excited about, you know, getting it on, so to speak. And that can be fixed. Right? So the first thing that I listed was at the time spent in the relationship. If you're over a specific amount of time, you have probably fallen into the rut of the commonality and the sitting on the sofa together and cuddling, but you just don't feel super sexual, right? And there is not really a problem with that per se, except that over time, the not having the sexual desire erodes you know, certain things in yourself and in the relationship, but that can be fixed, and I'll talk about about that in a moment. But when people decide to have children, often it's the moment in time if it's a healthy decision. But sometimes you just get pregnant, and sometimes you get pregnant to fix the relationship. And that's never a good idea, but done very frequently. But if you feel it's the right moment in time to have children, you start trying, and it happens. It's usually at a moment in time where the relational patterns are such that you get along great and it's just not that exciting anymore and sexually. But nonetheless, you managed to make a baby, you know, that's so, there's still something going on sexually, and then comes that thing where, of course, other things take precedent, and the skills needed to make it exciting or not there. And they become the secondary or tertiary thing over, you know, having a pregnancy and figuring out how to raise a baby. And, you know, all of those kind of things.


00:19:27    Alyssa

Totally, or just choosing sleepover sex, any night of the week. 


00:19:30    Michaela Boehm

Exactly because that's, because sometimes that's just the way you have to do it. 


00:19:35    Alyssa



00:19:36    Michaela Boehm

So the next one was bodily changes and changes you know, that's pretty clear that that is just what happens. You're going to have suppressed sexual urge as long as you breastfeed. You know, there's like all kinds of science behind why certain things don't come online. Because, of course, when we didn't have birth control yet and lived in the wild and things like that, if you were pregnant again, and you stopped being able to breastfeed your younger child immediately, that chances of survival for that infant were pretty small, right? So there's there's mechanisms that down regulate these things so that you give every child maximum chance of survival. And our bodies don't know that now we can supplement, and there's formulas and you know, all those kind of things. So there's that. Then, as I said, sleep depravation and being a new parent plays a huge role, because your attention is just not there it somewhere else. And within that, of course, like, as you said, you're supposed to have sex after you've done everything else. And that's hugely unrealistic, you know, because, you know, it's just when you're a new parent, or even when you're just really busy, it's not the time to have sex. 


00:21:04    Alyssa

Yeah. So what does that connection look like? Then, how do you, I guess, you outlined earlier like a year to two years of like not really expecting it to be back in like a normal swing?


00:21:20    Michaela Boehm

And these are gross generalization, right? Some people immediately get back into it, and some people never were really into it that much. But what it looks like is that you find other ways to keep that erotic engagement alive, that are not dependent on the actual intercourse or dependent on your libido, because you're probably not going to have much of either. 


00:21:45    Alyssa



00:21:46    Michaela Boehm

And so if you wait for you know, what do they say when it's hot? It's hot when it's not. It's not. When you, when you apply that principle to your sex life, it's probably not going to happen. 


00:21:58    Alyssa

Yeah. So we had a lot of questions about this, essentially of like, how do we keep intimacy alive? How do I create intimacy when I don't feel like it? And I think folks were starting to also allude to in some of these questions like, how do we have intimacy without me having sex? Because I don't want to have sex, right? 


00:22:16    Michaela Boehm

Exactly, all of which is valid, right? And all of which is important to address once again, because if you force yourself to do things that just creates long time to long-term trouble, alright versus short-term trouble, and I'll go there in a second. I just want to finish the the last point that I made, which is that changing attitude towards yourself. And so I've heard often from women that once they've had a baby, and once they've experienced that kind of connection to another human being, everything else becomes somewhat secondary, right? It's not that you don't want to have a partner. That's not that you don't want to have a great sex life, but it's it takes a different, different importance temporarily or permanently. And a lot of women I've worked with, you know, they don't know where to put breastfeeding with sex. And, you know, essentially breasts who were utilized for pleasure, you know, sexual pleasure, and now utilized for feeding a child. And that's, of course, you know not something that you could mix with sex, and even though you had sex to make the baby, but you know, it's like it gets very, very complicated. So the changing attitude in oneself, I think, is very important to understand. And I think they are also severe certain kind of an honesty with the fact that things do change, right? And the change again, when you become menopausal, or when, you know, when the testosterone goes down and men are no longer waking up with a raging erection in the morning and things of that nature, that's usually a very hard moment for most guys. No pun intended here. That was an unintended pun. I'm here for it. You know, those are those are tough, tough moments in time. So how do you build intimacy and connection, regardless of your sexual drive, or the obvious horniness as of today that people describe in the 20s? And how is it disconnected from actually having intercourse? Well, that's it's a very individual exploration. But here are some of the, you know, general guidelines. So intimacy in itself isn't necessarily be sexually in nature. Right? Intimacy in itself goes through a series of steps. And the first steps is always intimacy with ourselves. Coming back to our bodies and to our original nature, so to speak, meaning the parts of us that are connected to nature and post childbirth and post parenthood becomes sometimes a bit more accessible, because you've actually witnessed, you know, the force of nature that is, human beings, making a child for them this is true for both men and women. I've heard many, many men look at their child and go. This is my you know, like gene pool. I made this kid, and it's really quite awesome if you stop and consider that for a little bit. So you are a little bit more connected to the force of nature of identity and our original connection with the natural natural world. And so intimacy starts there with kind of remembering we have a body remembering that we are essentially creatures of the natural world. And from there, when we can feel our own body, we can feel another person's body. And once you can feel another person's body, meaning, you can look at your partner, and you can see where they’re tense or you can feel where they are sad or whatever it is, right? Then you can, with some intelligence the body connect. And so that intimacy doesn't necessarily have to be sexual, but it could be being together and just looking into each other's eyes. Most people don't do that. 


00:26:33    Alyssa

Yeah, it's vulnerable. 


00:26:35    Michaela Boehm

It's vulnerable, right? But in that vulnerability lies, of course, something that is the beginning of a sexual spark. And when you think about, you know, exciting sexual experiences, they usually have to do with that feeling of a little bit exposure and being out on the skinny branches, right? So if nothing else, if people are really tired, they could just face each other in bed and just look at each other for a moment and just really actually look or lay together spoon together and breathe together, but just feel each other's breath don't have to synchronize the breath necessarily, just even though that happens naturally, often just allow for the contact to be not casual, but intentional, and that sometimes all it takes, interestingly enough, is when you go, okay, you know, we have five minutes. Let's just look at each other. Let's just talk for a moment. One of my favorite go-to remedies for that level of disconnection is when the kids are in bed finally, before people go to bed to just sit on the sofa across from each other and touch and massage each other's feet while they debrief their day, because then it's not just talking and complaining, it's actually a physical touch. And what's very important is that both partners understand that just because they're connecting and just because they're touching that doesn't necessarily mean they immediately need to get it on now, right? Because, you know, nobody wants that. 


00:28:16    Alyssa

Totally. And I think that that's like a misconception. And I would say that I've for sure seen in hetero relationships of this idea that, like that, I hear from Mom's often is that Dad just wants to have sex. And also, he doesn't seem to care if she wants to or not. And I just don't think that that's true. I don't know, maybe you could speak to this. But like I think, even personally like Zach would rather us connect on another level, or in another way, where we're both there together, than us having sex just because he wanted to have sex when I don't want to. 


00:28:57    Michaela Boehm

Yes. Yes. Well, that is awesome. And this is a whole other bag of, you know, the full can of worms, I should say, because often how we get into relationship as women. Once again, these are all broad generalizations. And I want to make this very clear. I'm just speaking to general trends, and every person has to feel in their personal stuff. But often when we get into a relationship, we're quite hyper sexual and very excited. And it's all about the experimentation and the getting it on. And and that's the time you spend together, and you're really close. All right? And so within that often, men are very confused, because they get to learn and understand that that's the way that they can really connect with their partner. Everybody's really excited about that. And then that's no longer at the case. And but nothing else has been offered right? Because it is like you said, about the depth of connection, and they're having time for each other, and a lot of people, you know, a lot of men that I've spoken to. Well, that's the one time the phone isn't on, the one time that nothing else is required. That's the one time the door gets locked. And so they equate sex with a with moment between two adults right? 


00:30:23    Alyssa



00:30:23    Michaela Boehm

And I think that's really, really important to understand it's not that sex in itself for many men, even though that's nice and pleasurable, it's that it's the one time nobody walks in the room, right? And it's the one time they are, your attention isn't diverted. So that's that. That's the thing behind it. When you give that the undivided attention, even for five minutes with not being on the phone with not screaming at the kids outside the door, or whatever there is, then it becomes it writes itself again. And that's really, really important. And then the other thing to consider in this is that when you look at it from a purely biological standpoint, right, we're talking to biology, not sexual orientation. Not, you know, some gender specific behavior. But from a biological standpoint, whoever ejaculates, right? In mammals tends to want to ejaculate when very stressed. Because from a survival standpoint, if war, famine or neighboring tribes show up, you might die. And so that high stress, right is connected with ejaculation, depositing your genetic code before you potentially die. So that's why a lot of men use masturbation for stress relief. 


00:32:06    Alyssa

That makes total sense.


00:32:07    Michaela

While when you are woman, when the going gets tough, the thing you have to do is maintain ovulation, maintain breastfeeding, maintain pregnancy, right? So what that means is you have to maintain body fat. How do you maintain body fat in the wild? When there isn't much you eat all the carbs you can possibly get right? Exactly. 


00:32:35    Alyssa

Yep, for sure, hands up!


00:32:38    Michaela

Because that is what grants us survival on the species level, right? So, women, in general, biological women, you know, tend to, it doesn't matter what orientation you have, tend towards stress-eating, or stress shopping nowadays where stress eating isn't as okay anymore. Right? Now people mass, you know, stuff around them, but, and men, biological men tend towards stress relief through masturbation or ejaculation. So what you done often see in couples is that while the woman just wants comfort in that situation of the highest stress, the men wants to connect in that way and release the stress. And so I don't. I would agree with you that I don't think men just want to have sex. I think it's connected with a certain goodness and a certain expectation of closeness and comfort and relaxation that makes it that. That's the first go-to response, and often a go-to response that's been programmed early in the relationship. 


00:33:50    Alyssa

Yeah, it's so interesting. I had never thought about the fact that so often it is probably the only time that they have their partners attention without a screen, with a locked door, with whatever. And so that's where that becomes right, like, but that's so interesting. And so then that that get leads us back to the question, how do you establish intimacy? Well, you lock the door, you turn the phone off. You turn to your partner, you touch you, connect, you look at each other, you speak with each other, and that goes a long way along the way. But actually, a few years ago, we woke up one morning, we had our phones in our room, and I woke up, and I was on my phone on like a Saturday morning, a scrolling and I usually wake up before Zach does, and I was on Instagram and I he liked one of my photos, and we were laying in bed together, and I didn't even know he was awake. And I was like, oh, my word. This is absurd. And so like that day forward, we were like, no phones in the bedroom. And so we don't keep them in our bedroom at all anymore. And it's please, things are not perfect over here, but it was a game-changer for just being together when we're in the bedroom. 


00:35:00    Michaela

Yeah, I think one of the most radical things you can do for yourself is get an analog clock, get an analog alarm clock and ban your devices from the bedroom, right, because, and it's, you know, it's everything else. All the fancy sex tricks. All the you know, ten steps to the perfect orgasm mean nothing if you can't connect right? Because that's that's where it starts. And so the other thing that goes along those that's particularly important for parents, new or otherwise, for parents, or people who run a business together and or both is that you become extremely, how should I say this? Extremely disciplined in delineating your activities. And so what I mean by that is, when one lives a life together, then there's kids involved and dogs, and, you know, whatever it tends to be that that all communications are everything. All right? And you are constantly mixing together logistics, things to do, reports of stress and discomfort with the positive stuff and the romantic stuff. And that's lethal for the sexual attraction more than anything else. And what that means essentially, is that let's just say you want to have a romantic evening, and you got a babysitter. And now you're on the way to the restaurant and all the way to the restaurant you talk about about milk needing to be picked up and the dog food and the doctor's appointment and should their kid have braces or not. It's not sexy. It's not going to be conducive, and most people are so stuck in that pattern. They can't have a romantic evening if they tried, because they sit together, and they don't have anything to talk about anymore other than the things they have in common other than the things that are that are counterproductive to the sexual engagement. And so the main trick here is that you reserve some time to be different. That's creates the erotic attraction again. And being different in the in the realm of couples means that you have interests that are not shared, that you can share with your partner as as an interesting thing. Like you read things, you report them, you go somewhere with your friends. You report on that you read an interesting article, and instead of emailing it over, you actually talked about it at some point where you it's just the two of you and you create kind of an artificial difference in the two people that makes it interesting again, which is, by the way, why all the old tricks that people talk about do work, right? The guy's going bowling or whatever. Race car driving, the ladies, you know, the olden days in the 60s and 70s, tupperware parties, you know, weird stuff that that we look at, kind of what was that? But it works because they're the people went outside their homes did something else, came back together. And it was a fresh moment.


00:38:26    Alyssa

It's so interesting. I run like a retreat weekend called Mama's Getaway Weekend, and it's just for moms. And one of the ones we did afterward to of the moms had known each other going into it were friends, afterward the dads of that, of those two, had dinner together, and they were both like they can go to Mama's Getaway anytime like they both came back like refreshed and ready to dive into whatever. But it is. I think it's the it's also so hard. I get so many moms who are like I'd love to come, but I can't get away for the weekend, or I couldn't get away for the and I think it's something that I do. I think that we at for sure, for some folks it's like financial, etcetera. But for other folks, I think it's this choice of like, not feeling like you're allowed to get away. 


00:39:14    Michaela Boehm

Exactly. And that's important. Once you make the decision that you want your relationship to stay alive, beyond get staying together for the kids, right? Then you will make certain things happen and on. And, you know, it doesn't have to even be a weekend retreat. It's like one evening a week. You go and do something that's neither job-related nor child related. But that's for you. And ever so often, one person gets to just zone out for half an hour or an hour. So one of the things that I sometimes talk about some people have heard me talk about this, because it's something that I was very much formed by is that my parents had a very strong rule around my father coming home from work, and I never understood it till, of course, much later, when I was in this business, right? And I have such appreciation. And I'm quite in awe about my parents having figured this out, because it made such a huge difference. And what it was was that my dad had a very stressful job, and then he had a commute about 20-25 minutes commute on top of a very stressful job. And he had two small children, two small girls at home who were a handful, if I may say so myself. And my mother, who was stay-at-home mom, who essentially probably was about to go crazy by the time, you know, he came home. And so they had a routine where he would come home. He would you know, we would hear his car pull into the driveway and would be at the door and greet him over the years in various ways, right? And then he would greet us. But then he would go into my parents bedroom and close the door. And there was no access to my father for I think first it was half an hour, later was an hour when we were a bit older. And and as he got older as well, and more stressed, and what that did was that he had a transition between, you know, a very, very stressful job and drive and having to just hop in immediately. Now, anyone who's ever had children, of course, knows that that was a huge sacrifice on my mother's plate, I hear it all the time, that's like, glad you're home, take them, right? But it was so important, because that way he could step down, he could relax. It also gave my mother and him a chance to connect, because she'd go in there. He'd change, have a shower. Then he'd read his mail. This was pre-internet. So, you know, he'd read a magazine or newspaper, and she would come in and they would chat, and she would catch him up on, oh, my bad grades often I really sucked at math in my early years, I got really good at math in my later years. But I really sucked at math earlier. So there was always some drama with the math teacher who later it turned out was a raging alcoholic and very horrible. But I didn't know that we just thought I was really bad at math. But so, you know, that was reported on a regular basis to my father, but in a way where he could step down. And then when that was done, he kind of stepped back in and took over. And we tell you know, he'd hang out with us. He play with us. He talked with us. He took us kind of off my mother's hands for a bit, and then we had a meal, and then he took us to bed like he would tuck us in and read us a story or check on us as we were older. And then they then they have some time, and my mother would spend some time alone. So I'm saying this to say, that's a very, very good arrangement. And to illustrate that, my parents have now been married over 50 years, I think 53 this year. And they still have kind of a very sexually polarized and the live relationship, because they figured out what each person needed. So it could be the other way around. But it might. But what has to happen is people have to spend some time regenerating by themselves for their force to re-engage again and again and again, because it creates a really bad precedent. 


00:43:53    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. And I like what you find out to at the end there, that like it's figuring out what it is for each individual. And that I was teaching at one point at in the toddler classroom. And I had a mom who would do pick up and every day when she would come to pick up, we could see, I could see her car sitting out front, and she would pull up, and she would sit for five minutes. No phone, nothing. She would just sit and have time to herself before she left work and transition to like, all right, I'm going to put my mom hat on and go pick her up and just even five minutes to close your eyes and breathe for a second and like, calm and center, yes, is so grounding. 


00:44:32    Michaela Boehm

Yeah, it's really, really important. 


00:44:34    Alyssa

Yeah, but it's giving yourself permission to like it's okay if I've been at work all day, and I'm going to take five more minutes. So yeah. 


00:44:41    Michaela Boehm

Yeah. Or a half an hour at the end of the day before you re-engage, and this brings us to the final part, probably of what we can cover well we have a little bit of time. Right? Yeah, which is that the number-one marker of long-term successful relationship is actually generosity and so generosity, not as in, you buy somebody a nice present, but generosity, as in, sometimes you give somebody something, even though it's not convenient. And that doesn't necessarily mean overriding your boundaries, or you know how to say that martyring yourself, but instead feeling beyond your momentary contraction into the bigger picture, which is, this is a person you love. This is a person you have intimacy with, children with. So why wouldn't you try and give that person also a good experience. And instead of having this Mexican standoff of what I'm not doing it till you are doing it. And you know, if I can't have it, you can't have it, you know, generosity of going well, let's just see what we can give to each other for the bigger picture.


00:46:07    Alyssa

Totally. And I think a challenge within that is that like it's hard to pour from an empty cup, right? So if you don't take care of yourself, it's really hard to take care of somebody else's needs. 


00:46:18    Michaela



00:46:19    Alyssa

Yeah. And I think there's a lot of guilt that surrounds that, especially here in the states I actually was in Austria in May. I lived there as an exchange student when I was younger, and I go back and I have friends there, and I was visiting a friend, and she has a 4 and a 2 year old. And she stays at home and her husband works, and her four-year-old is in school, going like half days. And one day a week, her mother-in-law comes over and takes care of her two-year-old, and is there for pick up for her four year old. And she has a day to herself in the middle of the week. 


00:46:57    Michaela

Oh wow, nice. 


00:46:58    Alyssa

And that's what I said. I was like good for you, sis like, that's awesome. And she was like, well, how else would I like fill my own cup and do what I have to get done? Yeah. Oh man, that mindset I've just never seen here in the states where we're like, well, of course, I need a day with supplemental care as a stay-at-home parent, because I need to get all these other things done. I think there's this idea of the like martyr situation.


00:47:21    Michaela

There is, and of course, right being Austrian myself, right? I can say this with was fairly great authority. We also have a much better social support. 


00:47:32    Alyssa



00:47:34    Michaela

You can take a year off, paid year off to tend to your child, which I think in the long-term is one of the best investments any country can do for their population right is that they actually raised by their parents and not dump the childcare at six weeks of age, even what that does for you personally. That you can be tended to right exactly, you know, and and all of those things. But it is a very, very important component. And yes, not everybody has the money to do all those things. But you know, you can switch off, and you can understand that by demanding everything from everyone, you just making things worse. 


00:48:18    Alyssa

Yeah, I love that so much. So lastly, the last question I'm going to throw at you here, does your sex life ever go back to what it was like before kids? 


00:48:30    Michaela

Oh, that's a good question. I don't know meaning, I think it's a very individual thing, I would say, no. And why should it? Yeah, right. And what I mean by that is that as phases in a human's life, right? And so I don't know about you, but I had a phase where all I cared about was horses, right? I was a crazy horse girl right? And that was all I cared about. Now I've grown up, and interestingly enough, in my 40s, I got myself a horse because I could, and I always wanted a horse. But I'm not obsessed with horses. I grew out of my horse obsession. And then that, of course, went to the obsession for the opposite sex, and, you know, and so on, and so on. So the same with I played with Matchbox cars for a while. I was really crazy about this. And I had a Barbie phase. And, you know, so that's that was me, but that isn't me anymore. And I've learned a lot from it. And the same is true with our sex life. Our sex life has to grow. We can't do the crazy excited, have sex first, think later, kind of stuff that you can do in your early 20s or late teens, right? And you can't do the fresh couple, everything's new, you get to know each other in between sex for the rest of your life, unless you're a serial monogamist that you dumped whoever you're with every two or three years and start fresh. So your sex life has to grow, and it's not going to go back to the way it was also, anatomically, it wont go back to the way it was and feeling wise it won't go back to the way it was. And that's not a bad thing. Most people get way more open, way, more feeling on the emotional level, the kind of bonds that two people form when they've seen each other through childbirth and child-raising and tough times. And all of that, that kind of depth of emotion you can't have in the beginning of a relationship, and it will change your sex life. And even if you don't have children, your sex life will change. And I don't think that's a problem. I think the important piece is that you do what you can to have it the way you want it. And that's an individual exploration that has to do with who does what and how and and all of that and that can be talked about. And then there's experimentation and having fun, but it all starts with the connecting, without the pressure of immediately having to have sex every time you look at each other a little bit longer. 


00:51:20    Alyssa

And the kicker there was and that can be talked about. Yes, it means we have to talk about it, which I think for a lot of this, the talking is that hard part. It's the acknowledging of the social norms that might exist, or somebody's preconceived notions of what this would be and their expectations. And now your expectations and all that jazz, but navigating that conversation in the same way that we navigate other conversations. But I think this one has a lot of feelings attached to it. 


00:51:55    Michaela

Exactly. Yeah. 


00:51:56    Alyssa

Thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us. Where can people follow you, connect with you, find out more, dive in deeper. 


00:52:04    Michaela

I'm assuming you will post my websites. which is spelled like Michael with an a at the end and B-O-E-H-M as in Mary. So b, as in boy, O E H M as in Mary on there is all the workshops I do. My book is listed there. The book is called The Wild Woman's Way, which essentially deals with all the things that we just talked about. How do you get back in the body? How do you make time for sensuality, sexuality? There's lots of practical, like there's a whole practice section where there's things you can do in two, three minutes a day, which is really important. If you don't have time to read it. I read it as well as an audio version. And then there is about 80 hours of interviews and podcasts that I've done in lectures and Q and A's on the listen page of my website. And that's all free. So just loads of stuff people get into if they want to. 


00:53:04    Alyssa

Awesome, we will link to your website on the blog post. And thank you again. Thanks so much for sharing your time with us. 


00:53:11    Michaela

You're welcome. 


00:53:14    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.




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