In these sleep-deprived days we live in, there are people who will tell you that sleep is the new sex. That’s especially true if there’s a new baby in your home. So how do you rekindle your sex life after a baby? We got answers from couples therapist Rachel Sussman.
We all crave sleep, and after your baby is born, you’re not feeling sexy, and you’re feeling sleepy. What’s a woman to do?
A lot of young couples whose marriage seems to go a little bit off-kilter during pregnancy and after the birth of a first or a second child. This is a time where couples really can run into problems in their sexual life. You don’t feel sexy, and you don’t feel attractive, or maybe that your husband doesn’t find you sexy or attractive.
From the male perspective, the first year after the baby’s born, they often see you bonding with the baby if you’re nursing. If you’re staying home and your husband’s going to work, there’s so much Mommy & Me time that the husband can tend to feel a little bit left out and neglected. Often if they can’t articulate that, they’ll act out by wanting or even demanding sex.
What do you recommend to our nursing mom? Let’s say, your husband wants to take you away for a weekend, but you’re locked into feeding your baby?
It’s a complicated problem, and compromise is really important in every relationship. Compromise and having an open forum for discussion. If you’re not feeling sexy, and you’re feeling that your husband’s upset or he’s brooding, a couple really needs to talk about it. They need to find the words to say: “hey, you know our romance is sort of on the back burner right now” and see what they can do about it and continue moving forward as a unit as a couple.
Can the father actually get jealous of the infant?
Absolutely and jealous is a strong word, but it does come into play. They feel neglected, they feel left out and figuring out how to bring the father more into the equation. It could really solve the problem if the father feels more involved and more connected to the baby and the mom. He will act out less sexually or put fewer demands on you.
What are the sexual ramifications of fatigue?
I don’t think anyone feels sexy when they’re really rundown, and that is something I often tease out in a session – are people getting enough sleep, and are they eating well and getting enough exercise? A lot of research out there shows that your sex drive and your sex life can be improved by really taking care of yourself. How do you make it so that the baby is not the interceptor, but your family and mom and dad are still sexual creatures?
I think once the woman’s body has healed and she’s starting to feel better, it’s important that the couple discuss how to reintroduce sex back into their life. For some couples, it will come naturally, but for other couples, it just feels a little bit uncomfortable and awkward, and it could be like being on a first date again. I think that can be a really nice thing getting to know each other again and reintroducing sex.
When a woman is nursing her baby, do men have reactions to that of a sexual nature?
In fact, I’ve heard quite the opposite that a man often has a hard time thinking of a woman in the same way because now he’s seeing her as nursing, Madonna type of figure, he can often have a hard time thinking of her or remembering her is that real sexual being. Sometimes, the work I need to do is reintroducing that back into the couple and having the man remember and think about his wife as a sexual being.
A woman often doesn’t feel good about her body after pregnancy, and I think it’s really important that the husband continues to tell the wife that he is attracted to her, how beautiful she looks, and how much he loves her and are proud of her as a mother.
What medications can help couples
The famous Viagra or Cialis are the best medicines for treating erection problems in men. The problem is more complicated for women, and there is no reliable solution. In some cases, drugs like female Viagra may help women, but using this medication is contraindicated for nursing mothers. Remember, you can use such medicines only after consulting a doctor.
Is there anything you can tell us about those nights when your husband wants to make love, and you were just exhausted. Maybe you should just go along with it, not protest?
Timing is everything, and if you have just had the most terrible day and you were so sleep-deprived and feeling terrible, is there a way you can say no to your husband. That doesn’t mean like no never again, but you may say tonight isn’t the right time, darling, but I can’t wait, and then your husband might remind you that last night wasn’t the right time either and the night before that wasn’t the right time, because when you’re not focused on sex, it’s hard to change your focus.
That would be the time to really sit down with your husband and discuss when could be the right time and how there could be a sex date or one or two nights a week where you are spending some time together as a couple after the baby goes to bed. To have this kind of fun you have to do some work without a dad and I think once you get into it and once you set some time to do it, it will seem like less work and it will seem more natural and spontaneous to you.