Having a baby is the most incredible thing a woman's body can do. Over the nine months of pregnancy so many changes happen to their bodies, and it takes weeks, or sometimes months, to recover. But what happens when you're ready, and she has no interest in sex after baby?
There are many reasons that contribute to having no interest in sex after a baby, but a few that sometimes men don't really see. Obviously there are the physical and hormonal changes, and of course the sleep deprivation that comes with having a baby in the house, but some other not-so-obvious things are going on, too.
What Women Go Through After Having a Baby
It's important to note that some women experience what's sometimes called the "baby blues" or more severe post-partum depression. If you or your partner suspect either of these may be the case, it's best to see her doctor for that right away.
It can be scary to even think about having sex again after delivering a baby. There are so many things that could be running through her mind: Will it hurt? Will my "new" body repulse him? What if I get pregnant again?
Her body might not feel like it's hers again, yet. She's been sharing it with a baby! Even though she's delivered the baby, her body might not bounce back right away or be the same as it was before the baby. I'm not talking about weight gain here. Certain clothes that she wore before having a baby might not fit the same, or some women have their feet 'grow' a size, for example. It could take many months before she feels like herself again.
Is she nursing? Breastfeeding increases the hormone prolactin (which helps the body produce milk) and lowers estrogen. Each of these changes can suppress sexual desire for some women.
Adding to the lack of sexual desire could be that she is already touching or being touched so much, without really realizing it. Holding a baby and caring for a baby means she's getting a lot of contact. Sex involves touching and after being around a baby all day sometimes the last thing that sounds good once they're down for a few hours is more touching.
How Male Partners Feel About No Sex
Our partners can take this lack of desire for sex far more personally than they or we may realize. Some men feel completely ignored by their partners once they become a mom, as this commenter from our blog wrote recently:
I'm in so much pain... how can you be the perfect husband to a wife who needs nothing, not even affection, intimacy, or love. How can I try when her only focus is our 19 month old son? I love our son, but it feels like after she got the hang of being a mom, she didn't need me anymore and I felt like I was as good as trash." -Heartbroken
The average time for the women I know to start to regain interest in sex again seems to be about 5 months - especially after a first baby, and for some women it's much longer. For men, 5 or so months with no sex can be an eternity. While most moms are totally absorbed in taking care of their baby and it won't seem like it's been that long at all - or maybe not nearly long enough. That can lead to feelings of rejection, resentment or feeling displaced, like the man commented above.
Dr. Kurt says: "As much as guys want to be understanding, it's really tough for most men to go without sex for an extended period of time. As a result, men can seek relief in ways that can become a big problem, such as watching porn, which can really hurt their partner. Understanding of the needs of each other and talking about them is crucial during this period of no sex after the baby."
What You Can Do About No Interest in Sex After Baby
- Talk about it. While it's completely normal to have no interest in sex after a baby, it's not unreasonable that most men will want to resume having sex. It's important to acknowledge each other's feelings, and have open and honest communication in your marriage.
- Go slow. In a way, it's like starting over again, so go slow like when you were dating. Don't have sex, but cuddle and be affectionate without expectation for sex.
- Make a plan. Together, come up with some ways to have some time to yourselves and to begin to get your desire for sexual intimacy back. For those who co-sleep, put the baby in their bassinet to nap so you can take back your bed for a while. Maybe have one of the grandma's come over to watch the baby and you take a walk together, or do something just the two of you.
Having no interest in sex after baby is completely normal, and in most cases, it's temporary. With some patience and understanding, she can regain a sense of herself and her interest in having sex with you again.
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