Dear Mr. Dad: I’m going to cut straight to the chase. Our baby was born more than six months ago, and we’ve had sex a grand total of twice since then. Right after the birth—which was normal in every way—my wife’s OB told us that we’d be able to resume our regular sex life after about six weeks. My wife and I are in our mid-twenties and I’m still incredibly attracted to her. She says that she’s attracted to me as well, but that she’s simply lost her sex drive. Is that normal? Of course, I don’t want to keep bugging her to do something that she’d rather not be doing. But I’m worried that maybe there’s something else going on? Is there anything I can do that would help her (and, honestly, myself) and make sure our relationship lasts?
A: This is a very common question and I’m glad you asked. OBs often tell new parents to hold off on having sex for those famous six weeks because that’s usually how long it takes for the woman’s body to recover. Unfortunately, that six-week guideline can lead to unrealistic expectations, which in turn can lead to resentment and relationship strain—exactly what you and your partner are experiencing right now. The truth is that plenty of couples take as long as a year to get back to their pre-pregnancy and pre-baby sex life.
Here are a few of the many factors that could be putting a damper on your wife’s sex drive:
- If your wife is nursing, she’s producing hormones that may mildly suppress her desire. And after having a baby groping her all day, she may be less than enthusiastic about having anyone else (you, for example) making a move toward her breasts.
- Nursing mothers also tend to produce less vaginal lubrication, which can make intercourse painful.
- She may be finding it difficult to reconcile her new role as the baby’s mother with her old role as your wife and lover. That might make her see herself as unsexual.
- She may be having trouble thinking of her vagina as a sexual organ after seeing a baby come out of it.
- She may simply not be feeling attractive.
- Other common factors that may reduce her sex drive include fatigue, stress, lack of time, and the baby’s sleeping habits.
As for what to do to boost her sex drive, try this:
- Help her get more sleep. That may mean that you get up and handle more of the middle-of-the night feedings. The downside is that you might end up too exhausted to have sex.
- Buy some lubricant—and use lots of it.
- Help her eat right and exercise.
- Give her some down time. She loves you and your baby but would probably give anything for a few minutes alone.
- Flirt. A lot. When she gets out of bed in the morning, tell her how great she looks, let her catch you peeking down her shirt, send her a few sexts, or leave a few sexy voicemails during the day.
- Go on a date. Hire a sitter, and while you’re out, make a serious effort to go at least 15 minutes without talking about the baby. It’s harder than it sounds.
- Be there. The greatest aphrodisiac for new mothers is feeling loved and cared for by their husband and seeing that their baby is getting the same. From your wife’s point of view, loving your child is an expression of your love for her. The more you actively engage with your baby, the more she’ll want to make you happy. And we all know where that can lead…
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash