The Baby Arrived - Your Sex Life Gone - Questions & Answers
Has The Baby Arrived And Your Sex Life Gone?
As a parent myself I know that having children is a blessing and they can bring you enormous joy and happiness. However with the highs come the lows! By far the majority of new parents find that they’re suddenly facing new issues - sometimes completely unexpected. As well as being sleep-deprived, financially strained, and having no time for each other, it's hardly surprising your sex life goes out the window when the baby arrives. Here are some of your most common dilemmas as new mothers.
Dear Dr Pam,
I've been with my partner for three years. Right from the start a relationship was fantastic. We had lots of fun and a very good sex life. We had a gorgeous little boy five months ago. Since his birth we haven't had sex once. I started feeling in the mood a month ago and have tried many times to get my partner into bed. At first he made excuses like he was too tired and stressed from work and being up with the baby at night. But last week he blurted out that he sees me as a mum and respects me too much to have sex with me. I was gobsmacked. I don't understand how he's changed. It's not like we don't have time as my mum is always offering to babysit. Can you explain this? Anji, 27, Bermondsey
A: This is the classic mother-lover complex! Some men see women in two ways. Before they become the mother of their child a man like this sees her as a lover. Once the baby arrives he sees her as a mother. He finds it very hard to mix the two roles. Your partner probably grew up with a mother who was very traditional and frowned on sex. He got the idea that sex and motherhood were completely separate. He looks at you as the adorable mother of his precious son and not the brazen hussy you want to be again! This attitude can change with gentle persuasion. When you're in the mood make sure it comes at a time when your son’s already been over at your mum's for a few hours. Don't talk about anything to do with nappies and feeding times. Instead engage him in fun and flirty adult conversation. Mention, e.g., a movie you want to see. Start snuggling up. Ask if he'd like a massage. Make it incredibly sensual with your fingers swirling all over his body. If you can start showing him that other side to you - without baby stuff coming into his mind – he’ll gradually accept that you're a woman of many roles as we all are.
Dear Dr Pam,
This is such an embarrassment. After having my second child six months ago I've lost all my "tightness" down below. I didn't have this problem after my first baby three years ago. I feel too embarrassed to mention this to my doctor or health visitor. My husband and I started having sex again a couple months ago and I know he can’t feel me as much as before. I'm worried he'll stop fancying me. And sex doesn't feel so good to me anymore. Please help I'm desperate! Mary, 24, Northampton
A: Don't worry you can improve the loss of elasticity in your vaginal muscles. It only takes a couple minutes every day but you have to do it regularly. What's happened is your pelvic floor muscles have lost their strength after your second pregnancy. Here are the little exercises you need to do. Identify the muscles you use if you want to stop yourself "spending a penny". Once you've identified those muscles squeeze them for 2-3 seconds at a time. Not too hard squeezing as you don't want to strain them! Repeat this 10 times. Do this morning and night. Build up to 20 squeezes morning and night after a couple weeks. You can do these sitting on the bus, at your desk, sitting with your child - anywhere as no one can tell you squeezing. You should find within a month or two they’re much stronger. If not, ask your health visitor as they’ll be used to dealing with this.
Dear Dr Pam,
I love my husband very much but since the birth of our daughter three months ago I really don't like him to touch me. He works long hours while I'm at home with the baby. She's had colic and it means I've had to pick her up and carry her around all the time. When he gets in I just don't want any physical contact. I just need a little time on my own. He feels rejected now. I worry for our relationship. What's going on? Tanya, 32, Bath
A: You’re right to feel worried - and worry is a good thing as it’ll make you take action! I call this "cuddle fatigue" where a woman has had constant contact with the baby all day and simply doesn't want any more physical contact. This is quite normal but it can be destructive to a relationship. Here are a few tips. Whenever a friend or relation comes over ensure they take over helping to soothe your colicky baby – giving you a break from contact. When he comes home have him attend to her while you have a complete "switch-off" break. Go have a hot shower, read your favourite magazine (Love it!) - anything is fine as long as it’s nothing to do with the baby. Once your baby’s in bed start to make conversation with him but have an agreement that you won't have a cuddle until later in the evening. When you're ready start by holding hands. Build up to cuddling on the sofa in front of the telly or listening to a CD. As you gain the confidence that he's not going to "jump on you" the minute you hold his hand, you'll feel better about resuming physical contact.
Dear Dr Pam,
My boyfriend and I have two little boys. The last one was born three months ago. We've always had a very relaxed relationship. I love him very much and I fancy him too. The problem is my tummy looks horrible after having my second son. My boyfriend tells me he loves me just the way I am. But I feel so ugly when it comes to my tummy. It's ruining our sex-life despite the fact we’re still attracted to each other. Is there anything I can do about this? Penny, 23, Southampton
A: You've got an excellent starting point because you both still fancy each other despite being busy young parents! Let's break your obsession over your stomach. Just as you’re obsessing over how it’s "so ugly" you could choose to obsess over, e.g., how beautiful your breasts are. When you start thinking about your stomach I want you to substitute a positive thought about your best attribute. Also go shopping for some sexy gear that emphasises what you feel happiest with - a low-cut bra or a short skirt if you're happy with your legs. Focus on this positive attribute. Now for the most important thing - focus on the fact that you both love each other. After all what's more important - your love for each other or your tummy? You must get this into perspective. Finally learn how to do proper tummy exercises to start toning up those muscles either from a DVD or at your local gym.
Dear Dr Pam,
My mum-in-law moved in with us after our baby was born because we all had a lot on our plate. Not only had she been widowed and obviously my husband and her were grieving, but she had money problems and needed a roof over her head. Our daughter also has some disability so placing a lot of stress on us. Despite this my husband and I have a very strong relationships. The one big problem is that she never gets the hint when he and I want to have a sexy night in. She insists on hanging around watching TV, listening for our daughter, just in case she cries. What can we do to get her out of the way so we can enjoy sex again? Samantha, 29, Newcastle upon Tyne
A: You and your husband obviously have a fantastic relationship! There are couple things you can try get her out of the way. Tell her that as a "way of thanking her" for all her help with baby, you want to help her get out and have more enjoyable evenings. Insist that you’re happy to be home with your daughter. Find out if there's any evening class she'd like to take or maybe she'd like to visit the cinema occasionally. If she has a friend or other family nearby, your husband could offer to drop her over and pick her up later in the evening. If she really doesn't want to get out of the house then you could put a CD player in your bedroom and enjoy some "loudish" music when you pretend to be "very tired" and want to go have some fun in the bedroom. If you can afford it why not book in to a B&B occasionally for a night of passion while she minds your baby.
Dear Dr Pam,
It's hard to believe but since we had our baby nine months ago my sex drive has been sky-high. My partner jokes that I'm going to wear him out. All my friends said that they lost their sex drive for a time after having a baby. But mine's never been stronger. Most the time it's fine because my partner is up for sex. Sometimes he jokes that I've turned into a nymphomaniac. He cries of having sex when he feels like this. What's behind this? Sarah, 38, Plymouth
A: You are one of the minority of women whose hormones go into overdrive after the birth with this sort of result - increased sexual desire. It sounds like it's not too much of a problem. And as he's up for sex most the time then to be fair it sounds like you’re both falling into a natural compromise where sometimes he cries off of it. You two could still enjoy an affectionate cuddle when you’re feeling randy and that might soothe away your sexual tension. Or you can enjoy some self-pleasure at those moments - that's completely healthy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoy it wide it lasts as our hormonal levels change from time to time depending on circumstances. You may find it goes back to your pre-birth level of sexual desire.
Dear Dr Pam,
I've been with my fiance for two years and we plan to get married in the summer. We had our son four months ago. Ever since the birth I get a strange tingling sensation along the back of my vagina. I'm not too worried about it so I haven't asked my doctor. But it does makes sex feel strange sometimes particularly if we do any position where he's behind me like in Doggy style or Spoons. What do you think this could be? Helen, 22, Mansfield
A: I'm a Doctor of psychology not medicine but it sounds to me like you probably had an episiotomy - where they cut your perineum (at the bottom end of your vagina before your back passage) or you had a tear at that location that got stitched up. Women often say they get a tingling type sensation when they've been stitched up. It’s the same sensation as if you'd had a bad cut, e.g., while preparing vegetables in the kitchen - and the scar tissue is quite tingly to the touch. You might be advised to check with your health visitor or doctor but I think you're probably right that it’s nothing serious. And if from being having stitches the tingling may diminish with time.
Dear Dr Pam,
Before I had my baby I always loved having sex in the missionary position. It felt so comfortable and sensual. My partner liked it too. I don't know why but now I prefer to have sex with me on top of him. I get more pleasure this way and reach climax easier. He doesn't like this position as much. Before it causes problems for us do you have any advice? Georgina, 36, Edinburgh
A: A person's sexual preferences can change and for some reason you now prefer being on top. The solution is to compromise. After some foreplay you could move on top of him until you climax and then turn back into missionary position since he prefers that. As long as you've reached a climax before he does, many couples who prefer different positions find that this simple technique works by pleasing both of them.
Published in Love It! magazine