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ask: lack of sex drive since having my baby and I am only 24! what do I do?

By Anonymous

My husband and I found out we were pregnant in January of 2008, and by March I noticed my sex drive had begun to diminish. I chalked it up to pregnancy hormones being wacky, and tried to keep sex in our lives. Of course, the more pregnant I got, the less I wanted to, but I figured once I had the baby I would be "normal" again. Well, my daughter was born in September of 08 and since then... nothing. At first it was because I was so focused on her, but now i have no excuse. Sex has been painful since having her (I had a third degree tear, and a second tear to the side, so looootttttsss of stiches). I don't want sex at all, even though I am still physically attracted to my husband, I just can't "turn myself on" for lack of another way to put it. He tries to turn me on but it doesn't work and I just get frusterated. The things that used to be good just aren't anymore, and honestly if I had my way I would go to bed and cuddle with him and fall asleep... and be happy. But sex is important for our marriage and I miss my husband!!! Whats wrong with me??? What do I do now? I don't even know what to suggest for him to help, and our sex life has come to a screeching halt. It's not healthy for our marriage and I could really use some advice!

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

im having similar problems. my daughter is now 41/2 months old. and sleeping well through the night.
me and my fiance have not had sex for a VERY long time i was completely off the idea whilst pregnant and we were ok as thought things wud be normal after i had her. but they still aren't
our relationship is so different now and we argue all the time because we have no intamicy at all, even when i just want to cuddle or kiss he automatically wants SEX! and i just cant stand the thought of it. i feel like less of a woman because of this, nothing turns me on!! we have only tried sex once since ive had my lil girl and he couldnt "finish" the job on his behalf, and this knocked my confidence even more
im only 19 and dont want to be like this forever haha any adivce????

March 20, 2010 - 4:37pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon,

Thank you for your question. I'm so glad you wrote.

Like the woman above, you are absolutely normal. You will not be like this forever! You are a new mom (and most likely exhausted) and everything about your life has changed since the baby came, so it makes sense that your sex life has changed as well. This is very common.

You mention that your partner is your fiance. Is marriage in your timeline? Is that a source of stress for either of you?

Was your sex life good before you were pregnant?

Are you breastfeeding?

Please don't feel like less of a woman. You have had a baby, which is one of the most womanly things you can do!! I get the feeling that talking about this issue is tough for you and your fiancee, since it obviously escalates into arguing very easily. How do the arguments start? Are they about other things too, not just the bedroom?

You say you can't stand the thought of sex. Do you feel like you are a different person since you had the baby? Is it hard to think of yourself in a sexual way? This too is very common.

Can you answer the above questions and tell us a little more?

March 23, 2010 - 9:06am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

I am in the same situation. Me and my boyfriend of 6 years have a 6 months old daughter. We had sex during pregnancy and it was good, but after she was born I dont feel like having sex. I have mostly oral sex with him now but I dont even feel turned on. I cant even turn myself on. I used to masturbate (lol) but I dont have an interest in that either. My boyfriend and I got into a big fight yesterday about sex. He says that i never want to do it anymore and he NEEDS it! I feel horrible when i say no or just go to sleep. I just want to cuddle and he wants to have sex the second i touch him, so now i dont even try to touch him :( Our daughter sleeps in her own room, i do breastfeed half of what she consumes (other half is formula) I dont feel like a different person i just dont feel pleasure, nor do i want to, its weird.How can i compromise? Is there a way to get my libido back up? a way to spice things up in the bedroom. When we have had sex, i dont feel any chemistry, its just a fuck so to say and he can see it in my expressions. I get frustrated quickly with sex. ANy advice?

April 6, 2010 - 11:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I'm fourteen weeks pregnant and my marriage feels like it's falling apart. My husband and I have only been married 7 months and now he is saying that I pressured him into marriage and this baby. I have no idea what to do or what to say to him. He is tired of seeing me cry and watching my emotions go up and down, but I can't help that. Any suggestions of what I need to do?

July 25, 2009 - 12:53pm
Alison Beaver

I'm so glad to hear back from you, and happy that you are going to see a doctor you trust...to rule out any of the medical factors. I'd love for you to let us know how your doctor's visit goes...if you do, can you give us your initials or make up a user name, so we know who we're talking to?

I've been thinking about what you said quite a bit, and know exactly (or close to) where you are coming from...I've been there! Your last comment about the thought that you'll "tear back open" with sex...ugh! I have had that thought many times!...and it will dissipate. That is one thing you can be sure to ask your doctor about; tell her you're afraid to have intercourse because that thought pops into your head. She can reassure you that, "nope..won't happen...you're all healed!". That will help tremendously as the first step.

Please be patient with yourself, and with this process. Don't berate yourself or compare your self to other women, as unfortunately, the friend you talked with has an outdated perception of men's sexuality, and what sexuality in marriage is, in the 21st century. My husband, and many men who are more mature and past their teenagers-with-raging-hormones days, will tell you that men want intimacy, intercourse, love, affection, closeness. Sometimes they want to make out; other times they want a quickie...and everything in between. Most of all, in a loving and nurturing relationship, they want their wife and themselves to be sexually fulfilled and satisfied. It is no longer the woman's "duty" to "make" him satisfied; it is both of their priorities to take care of one another's needs, in order of their ever-changing priorities, including emotional, physical, spiritual, social, psychological and sexual aspects of the relationship. If one person is going through a rough time (physical illness, emotional stress...whatever), the other person picks up the slack...it is give and take continuously, over the course of your lives.

Since you asked about specifically meeting your husband's needs sexually, ask your husband how you can meet his needs sexually, without having penis-to-vagina intercourse, and I'm sure he'll think of some other ways! And, let your husband know how he can meet your needs sexually, too. That can be everything from "dirty talk" to holding hands to making out to cuddling...

If you are looking for some ideas to get you "in the mood", I love this book called Hot Monogamy. It is for couples looking for more intimacy, but it not an embarrassing book to read. Has lots of ideas. One idea for you, which has an actual term that is escaping me, is to use a "progressive style" in the bedroom. You both agree to not having intercourse for a specified amount of time (2 or 3 months). That takes the pressure off, and you can focus on things you are comfortable with right now. Whenever you are physically intimate, you agree beforehand that you can only caress and touch each other's face, hair and head. That's it! The next time, it can be arms and hands; next time is legs and feet. And so on. You will be amazed at how sensual this can be, how wonderful it feels, how close you will feel to the other person by exploring and concentrating on just one area. You may even be surprised that you end the "session" wanting more..it's an amazing "tease"...a great sign that you can be aroused and feel like having sex again in the future. This can boost your confidence, and also help you trust that your partner can be soft, slow and gentle with you during this time. Remember, this is just one phase of your relationship.

There are so many women and men who struggle with sex after children. You are definitely not alone; you are not the first and will not be the last! Baby Center has a great article on "Sex Secrets Every New Parent Should Know, which at least tells you that this is a common concern. And, another article on Modern Love: Sex says, "I have found that most couples don't begin to get back to anything that resembles their earlier sexual relationship until the youngest in the house is three. Until that time, most couples have less energy for sex. That's the nature of raising little children..."

In fact, there may even be something biological...women's libidos are lower because they are afraid they'll get pregnant again (and, getting pregnant too soon after giving birth can be a health risk).

Lastly, you said that your daughter is not sleeping through the night, and is not in her own crib 100% of the time. No worries about that...this is also common...but being tired, being a new mom and everything that embodies the word "motherhood"...is enough to not feel in the mood for sex. Please know, you are normal and healthy (and, your doctor can confirm that there are no medical reasons for this).

I hope this helps!

March 29, 2009 - 2:25pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Ladies thank you so much for your responses. To be honest this is a subject I have a difficult time talking about with anyone (Dr included) because I was brought up in a very conservative home, and was left with the impression that sex was something you just kept to yourself. Honestly, I went into my sexual life with the impression that it really was somethign for men while women just "bear and think of England" (lol ever heard that old phrase?). Anyway, before marriage I only had a few (3) limited sexual partners and none of them were experienced at all. And my husband was a virgin when we got married, so to be completely honest (and this sounds funny) we don't know much about it or things to do. Obviously we try different positions, I mean we figured that much out, but both of us grew up in very close mouthed conservative homes and it left more to the imagination and less to the actual explanation. Our problem now, is that we don't know what to try to help me get in the mood. Our intimacy in our marriage as far as communicating and just loving on our daughter has grown ten-fold stronger. But my husband misses the actual intercourse aspect of our sex life and is growing more and more frustrated.

Our daughter used to sleep in our bed, but we finally have her in her own bassinet in our room. I am working on teaching her to sleep in her own room by putting her in her crib at nap times, but so far this has not worked at night. Trust me, I want my bedroom back.

I think I don't feel "normal" because other women who I am friends with that also have young children "brag" about their sex lives. Obviously I can't know what is true and what is not, but it makes me feel as if I am lacking and one of my closest friends, whom I felt comfortable enough to share all my issues with lectured me about how I was failing in my marriage by not taking care of my husbands needs! This actually has increased my stress and I now feel pressured to provide intercourse with my husband, while I am left feeling totally unfulfilled and unhappy.

I have an appointment set with a new OBGYN that I actually met at a book club and hit it off with. I enjoyed her company and felt comfortable so I asked that my medical files be transferred to her (she works in the same office as my current OBGYN). The appt isn't until April 15 b/c she is completely booked, but I know she wants to check my hormonal balance and talk about PPD.

It's just, in the meantime, I still feel like I am failing.

To answer a few of your other questions. I work part time 3 days a week, and my mom watches my daughter (who is 6 1/2 months). My husband works 5-6 12 hour days during the week and so I do solely take care of our daughter and the housework so that he can relax when he comes home. I know diet can affect sex drive, but due to other health issues (fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) that I struggle with, my family is on a very healthy diet (no sugar or caffeine, lots of fresh veggies, organically raised meat that we purchase the animal and have butchered) so I don't believe that my diet is contributing. My daughter is not sleeping through the night, but my husband does try to do most of the feedings and take care of her through the night. I amnot breastfeeding b/c she could never figure out how to latch on despite many lactation consultants, and my milk dried up at 4 weeks. And as you mentioned Alison, I too struggle with body image... my breasts, stomach and thighs due to stretch marks, pregnancy weight that I am struggling to lose. It all makes me feel very unsexy in bed (and in general) despite my husband telling me he still finds me desireable. I also feel sometimes as though sex is going to make me "tear back open" and I think its part of what makes me so tense.

Anyway I hope the extra info helps. I just am at a loss at what to do at this point...

March 29, 2009 - 12:17pm
Alison Beaver

I forgot that I also wanted to tell you...

I had a kind of traumatic experience with the birth of my son (2.5 years ago, he's fine now!). I had lots of tears and stitches like you, and the doctors told me I would heal within 4 weeks. It took at least 8 weeks to feel somewhat back-to-normal. I'm not the type of person that worries all the time, but when my son was a baby (even now), I would fall asleep to images of something happening to him, and going through my possible reactions (ie, if house fire, how would I get him out safely). That alone created a lot of emotional exhaustion. My husband said he did that too, but not as much.

And, honestly, I think it took a good year before I even wanted to have sex again. We tried a few times, but all I could think about was the pain I had during delivery. My husband was very emotionally-stable about the whole thing (didn't think this was a "sign" of anything negative in our relationship, didn't pressure me into having sex, no guilt-trips or anything). My breasts felt different in a way I didn't like, so I also didn't feel very attractive or sexy. My husband and I were fine just cuddling and talking about our little baby for the first year. We did other physical things, but I wasn't really "into it" until a year later. After the year, I still had to "go through the motions" a few times (letting my husband know how I was feeling the entire time!), and eventually, I started feeling OK that sex wasn't going to hurt, I wasn't going to get pregnant again too soon, my breasts felt normal again (as well as other parts of me)...and after all of this, my brain followed-suit and I actually wanted and desired to have sex.

And, interestingly, other women friends who had kids did not experience what I did, and they were fine having sex within months of birth. Who knows if their husbands were giving them the guilt-trip, or if they really were ready, but that was not my experience. My marriage actually grew stronger from all of this, as we found other ways to be physically intimate (it makes you be creative, that's for sure!). Now, the sex is back as normal...and is even better.

Hope this isn't too much info for you... I'm interested to hear more from you!

March 29, 2009 - 10:12am
misvives HERWriter Guide

You are completely normal. It is common to not have much of a sex drive when you have a baby. Your life dramatically changes for one thing and also with the tearing, it may be uncomfortable. Sex in any relationship diminishes after time, it is what we do to try and spice things up a bit.

I am not sure how long it has been since you had your child but there is always the chance of postpartum depression (PPD) which is common after having children. This will certainly cause a lack of sex drive.
PPD is a medical condition - a specific type of depression that occurs within the first few months after childbirth. It is caused by the biochemical and hormonal changes that happen in the body after pregnancy and birth…nothing that is within your control.

Having children is an emotional roller coaster. Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic about postpartum depression if you would like more information. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546.

Let's move on to that 'loving feeling'. I think it is great that you are seeking information to satisfy your husband but I think it is also important for you. Remember sex is a great release of stress and certainly is enjoyable for both parties involved.

Allison talks about intimacy which is certainly a great way to have a relationship but we know men all too well that they are sexual creatures. Pleasure is certainly important.

What is it that would be a 'turn on' to you? Everyone is different. What ever it is, talk to your husband about that and maybe that will work. If you are experiencing discomfort, talk to your physician about it. There are certainly other ways to pleasure your husband but getting to the root of your pleasure should also be important.

March 29, 2009 - 9:56am
Alison Beaver

Hi!

You are so normal! You have a 6+ month old baby, right? There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, your husband or your marriage. Having a newborn, infant...even a toddler can wipe out all desire to have sex. Is your baby sleeping in the same room with you, or is your daughter in her own crib in another room? Is she sleeping through the night, every night? Are you breastfeeding? Have you gone back to work, or are you taking care of her full-time? Do you feel that your husband helps out with the baby and around the house equally?

You mentioned that you are still sexually attracted to your husband, and that your idea of great sex now means cuddling in bed and falling asleep together. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and from your post, it sounds like you are worried about "what this means to your sex life"...is your husband equally concerned or frustrated? If not, then enjoy this time being intimate with your husband in other ways. If so, let me know and I can find some information for you. I'll send you some good resources in a little while.

It may be as simple as "reframing" your idea of "great sex life" into a more mature way of thinking about your situation: you are a new mom; your husband a new dad. You have a baby less than one year old, who is going through exciting changes practically every day, but who is also demanding every day. These are the times when you are creating some the most special and intimate memories with your husband and your daughter...you are likely emotionally drained (in a good way), and unable to "give" anymore of yourself emotionally (and physically, especially if you are breastfeeding or up all night with your daughter). Bottom line: "great sex life" does not have to mean "intercourse", and can be everything that includes "increasing intimacy" within your marriage.

Congrats on your baby! Do you have a good support network of family, friends, and "new mom" friends?

March 29, 2009 - 9:45am
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