Dear Prudence

Help! My Horny Husband Behaves Outrageously in Front of Our Kids.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

A woman holding a baby looks tired, hand to forehead. At right a graphic shows an arm reaching toward her.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Prostock-Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Dear Prudence,

My hubby and I have two wonderfully active kids—a toddler and a baby. Our lives revolve around our full-time jobs and taking care of our babies. We are exhausted but love our chaotic family.

Over the past few months, my hubby’s libido has shot through the roof. He has been groping me (I have told him that I don’t like it, but to no avail) and talking a lot of dirty talk (with our babies around). Our alone time has been consumed with him jumping me. I miss just snuggling and watching movies without him constantly shoving his hands down my pants. He gets frustrated when I’m not turned on by his moves.

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I feel burned out. It feels like I’m constantly taking care of everyone around me, and I hate that I’m not enjoying sex as mutual but something I do to take care of my hubby. I am emotionally and physically disconnected from the man I love. How do I tell my hubby that Mommy wants him to tone it down a bit? I have tried to communicate with him, but my way hasn’t worked so far. He keeps saying he has needs and that some days he spends with the kids are stressful and thus he needs a release. I want my hubby back.

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—Baby Talk, Dirty Talk

Yes, obviously your husband needs to keep it in his pants for five minutes. But more importantly, he needs to think hard about the role he has assigned you at this point in your marriage and family life, and the role he has assigned himself. The fact he believes that, like the children’s, his needs are there to be serviced by you suggests he’s oblivious to what is actually going on in your household. Is he doing his part to raise these children? When you both return from your full-time jobs, is he taking care of those babies too (in between gropings, I guess)? Or are you doing most of it because he’s relegated you, in his mind, to the position of on-call caregiver—the one who changes diapers, warms the bottle, and gives him orgasms?

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I’m sympathetic to a mismatched-libido situation, something that over the course of a long relationship can happen more than once, with different partners feeling the urge at different times. But come on: Toddler-and-a-baby is basically the most stressful family situation that exists. If he’s constantly horny now of all times, maybe the problem isn’t that you’re not servicing him but that he’s not exerting enough energy helping with the kids. And who knows: If he actually pulled his weight in the household, maybe you would be a little less worn out and might be able to view sex as a delight and not a chore.

Look, right now both you and he are hanging onto things by the skin of your teeth. That’s not a judgment; that’s a simple statement of fact about the parents of a toddler and a baby. And everyone responds to this kind of stress in a different way. Right now, he’s responding badly. Tell him what you need to get through the next year or so; get some help from a couples therapist; set your sights on the kind of marriage you’d like to have two, five, 10 years from now. Good luck.

—Prudie, witholdingly

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