My husband came home the other day and shared a conversation he had about sex post baby. In this case, it was about the lack of sex. This isn’t an easy topic to navigate nor is it one that is the same for everyone. Every woman has their own birth story, their bodies have individually gone through so many hormonal changes and challenges. I relate this to a woman who has given birth but I think other women who have gone through hormone changes, physical challenges, or sickness can relate.
My husband and I have been able to navigate sex post baby very well. A little a pat on the back for us. I did not have a negative experience with my husband but before marriage and baby, I would say I was in an unhealthy relationship. I struggled with health issues that left me depressed, confused and angry with my body, low sex drive, and self conscious. The insecure dude couldn’t handle it and cheated. Or at least that was his excuse at the time. It left me in even more of a self conscious, angry and confused state. I left, and then returned to the relationship after thinking to myself of course he cheated, I didn’t want to be physical and he’s got to get satisfied somewhere. I clearly came to my senses and saw things as they really were. I wasn’t happy, I was taken advantage of, I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids, and I left.
But you can’t just leave when you’re married and have kids. Having experienced my past relationship, and thinking about my relationship now. If I didn’t want to have sex after having a baby come out of my vagina, I would have to take a really hard look at my husband, myself, and at the dynamic of our relationship. My husband wrote a post about this on Dadswagger and he made a point about working towards other ways of intimacy. If not sex, how can two people be intimate? If we work towards some form of intimacy, is that one step closer to sex? Is that enough for the relationship where there is no longer sex? What if it’s not enough? What if as a new mother who has gone through intense changes, you just don’t want to be touched—at all? How long does this go on before the relationship breaks? How do you prevent it from getting to that point?
Being in a position where I didn’t want to be intimate or touched with the person I was in a relationship with, I wish the other person had offered help. I needed help. I needed empathy and understanding. I didn’t need that person to agree but I needed a conversation of concern not complaints to happen. When it comes to birth and the postpartum period, the changes, the trauma, the depression, the transformation can really break you. A woman who doesn’t want to be touched doesn’t like herself, is scared, is scarred, is in need of help and compassion. As a husband, as a life partner, as a friend, and father of the child, you are the person to do that. You are the person to show love, understanding, and to help her find real help.
That being said, the father has gone through a transformation as well. Those first months of being a father can create a disconnect in the relationship. There is a crying baby who only wants the mother, who needs the mother. Take into account a baby with colic; stress factor is at an all time high. What about twins? Triplets? Desperation and exhaustion to the max. What happens when Papabear no longer wants to have sex with the mother due to stress and lack of connection? What happens if he isn’t attracted to the mother anymore? I have heard a couple of heartbreaking situations where a mother was told by her partner that he couldn’t imagine putting his penis where their baby came out. First of all, fuck you. Second, get the fuck out of here and good riddance. It’s insensitive but there are definitely jerks out there. What if the father is afraid of hurting the mother? Maybe he is the one that’s too tired. Whatever the reason is this subject isn’t only about the woman saying no to the man.
As a partner in a relationship where your significant other doesn’t want to be sexual, you can’t just cheat to get off and not suffer consequences. There is no, “I just needed a release.” or “I wanted to feel sexually wanted.” without facing your family and the repercussions. It is not a solution, it only creates a greater problem. I’m not saying that every partner in a relationship who isn’t having sex is cheating. I will say that when there isn’t intimacy at home between you and your partner where there hasn’t been any conversation about feelings, concerns, or the situation at hand, men and women that may approach you and flirt with you can become great temptations. Unfortunately it’s the sad reality of plenty of situations. For some it is easier to run away from the problem than facing it. Start a conversation about your needs, don’t complain that you’re not getting the goods that created a beautiful baby. Talk about it, try to get to the bottom of it, or even just the tip of it (har, har), before it gets to the breaking point.
I know these questions seem full of pressure and feel completely daunting and stressful. But it is also really funny and it makes for good stories. You can both push through together (another har, har). For example, one of the first times Danny and I had sex after baby my nipples squirted milk. No one ever mentioned that would happen. It wasn’t like a little squirt it was full on let down, where’s the baby when you need her. The first time post-baby, the fear of tearing brought me more anxiety than losing my virginity. It made for a good laugh, after my not so momentary panic. I thank my husband for his great sense of humor. The term “quickie” has a whole new meaning when your baby has a sixth sense and you’re so tired but need that intimacy you just gotta get it done. Everyone has their own experiences. We tend to build things up in our heads worse than they actually are. Who knows, your boobs might not be that tender, and you might not tear, you might actually enjoy it and learn a whole new meaning for orgasms and new positions. You may not feel sexy now, but you may also feel damn sexy and empowered in your new mama body after your man puts his hands all over you.
It takes work. It always takes work. Conversation takes work. Relationships take work. But as the saying goes, “It’s not greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.”
Happy sex talking hump day homies.