Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lost that Loving Feeling?

The first few years of marriage, many woman seem to want the physical interaction with their husband as much as he does. I will never forget a friend of mine, a mother of 3 children, saying something about only having sex with her husband once a week. She said she could easily go one month without it. I remember thinking, “Sad I will never get like that. I need it way more, that is crazy!" Then, I had a baby. Things really changed. With milky boobs, extra baby weight that didn’t help make me feel very sexy, incredible fatigue, and the new hormones pumping through my body, I suddenly understood how my cute pal could say what she did. It was kind of this sad realization that my sex drive was independent from me. I couldn’t deny the fact that I didn’t need or want it as much anymore. Those feeling or urges that were so natural in me were not as strong. I believe most mothers know exactly what I am talking about. From having read dozens of forums where hundreds of men and women express their concerns about this very issue, I am confident my experience was not out of the norm.

Because it is totally normal for a new mother to experience a loss of her libido along with her once slimmer waist line, women tend to want to get an “OK” for saying no to their husbands, because then they won’t have to feel bad about it. This is where the problem begins. She has to make him wrong, insensitive, or selfish in order to justify denying him.

After the birth of a child the love a wife has for her spouse is often stronger than ever, but the desire to engage in sexual activity is not. I am not even talking about the 4 to 6 week (and Doc never said 46 weeks as some woman like to pretend) waiting period for intercourse after childbirth. Which brings me to a quick additional point about how you have no excuse to still not take care of him- there are lots of other ways to meet his need during this time! Even after the prescribed period woman are claiming headaches and exhaustion, when if they are truly honest, doesn’t stop them from enjoying little pleasures like watching their favorite program, reading a good book, or having a chat with a girl friend on the phone about the joys or challenges of motherhood. Some woman actually report an increase in sexual desire right after birth but it doesn’t seem to last. By about month 3 the last thing she is wanting is a man to be all over the same parts of her body that baby has been hanging from all day.

Low self esteem contributes to the problem for many women because they feel less than desirable. They smell like spit up, their body has traumatically changed and now there is no baby in their belly as an excuse, they are in pajamas all day and certainly don’t have time for makeup or to do their hair. Many women can’t believe he’d desire her in the first place. Post partum blues and even depression are common and then the problem really increases as she pulls away from him. He, being hurt, from the constant rejection may not make as many advances as he use to and she takes this as confirmation that he is not interested which encourages this cycle to continue. I have spoken to a lot of my friends who have become new moms and I have researched this with a lot of reading and this problem can be devastating.

Men don’t always have the skills to deal with their feeling sexually deprived. They often resent the wife or try guilt trip tactics which only makes her defensive. Some men withdraw, take it out on the children, or turn to other means outside of their wife (even cheating can and does occur)… but no matter what, even with the most understanding and patient man, this issue will take a toll on a marriage and end up hurting both of you.

Now while I am in no denial that men could learn some things about how to encourage us better. They could do a million things better to make life easier for us and make us more willing to jump into bed with them… but that is not what this blog is for. I am a wife and a woman. It isn’t too effective for me to tell the other side how to be. I feel the only way you can influence your relationship to improve is by worrying about YOU! What can YOU do as a wife, what are YOU doing to make things work? I may be taking an unpopular stance for many woman and especially roaring feminists but I say the proof is in the pudding. Literally the first day home from the hospital, you can choose to give your darling husband more than just the gift of baby to hold. ;)

When it comes to my husband, I truly do not know a more hands on father and a more helpful partner. You may argue, well maybe you’re just lucky and you have a wonderful husband so no wonder you are happy to take care of him? I would say maybe you are right, perhaps he just came that way, isn’t that more of a reason to extend myself? I am confident that if I didn’t take care of him he wouldn’t be as thrilled about taking care of me by helping me out around the house and with the kids.

The deal is you have to change the way you think about this issue. If you think of it as some chore or resent how you have to take care of your selfish husband because Show Up Naked with Food says so, you won’t reap all the rewards. If you can see it as a need of his, one you are happy to oblige because you love him, just as you rock your sweet new bundle of joy to sleep because it is what you do as a mother, you’ll find the connection and spark of your marriage can burn brighter than ever. But hey, even if you do it out of guilt, I will say it won’t be worse than completely neglecting your partner because that’ll HURT YOU in the end. If his needs and wants are not on your agenda. Why should yours be on his? This is the law of nature, like an echo “What you send out comes back to you”.


  1. I feel it's not just a give to get situation. I find our communication is better we are more patient with each other and our household runs more smoothly if we are "there" for each other. a marriage is just better in every way when you share intimate moments together - and not just sex!

    this blog is really intriguing. thanks for the honesty.

  2. Thanks for your comments! Of course marriage intimacy is so much more than just sex! Giving of yourself because you love your parenter will always be more rewarding, unfortunately- most people want to see what is in it for them. Thanks again.