Men and women have different ideas when it comes to reigniting their sex life after having a baby. This failure to meet each others’ sexual needs, especially in the early years after starting a family, can lead to problems in the marriage.
Quite often, women are exhausted, tired of having their body pushed and pulled by the child or children, and just need to rest and get every moment of sleep she can. Meanwhile her partner is excited that the long months of pregnancy are over, and is keen to resume the sex life they had before the baby.
This can lead to problems whereby some women begin to view their husband as an extra dependent child for wanting the comfort of sex when she is feeling anything but sexy. At the same time men sorely miss the affection and attention they once got from their partner before the baby arrived.
Men sometimes feel cast out or excluded from the special nature of the mother-child bond that forms from breast-feeding. Men can also feel starved of the kind of intimacy and closeness they once enjoyed with their partner, especially during sex.
It is important to recognise some gender differences here. For some men, sex is the number one way they interpret receiving intimacy, whereas women may crave instead some thoughtful conversation and time together. Because of this the way to a woman’s heart can sometimes be for her partner to help out in ways that lead to her feeling appreciative of that understanding and support, during the stressful times of caring for a new baby.
Here are 5 tips to revive intimacy after the birth of a baby,
- Recognise that each partner has different needs: Then work out practical ways to find a compromise that serves the needs of both.
- Take away the pressure: If the woman is feeling under pressure to have sex when she is too exhausted, it’s not only sensible and supportive for the man to relieve the demands of the child-rearing on her, but also, this thoughtfulness is more likely to lead to a loving atmosphere where sex might eventuate. Men become more attractive to their spouse when they contribute to household chores and take up some of the mental load for the organisation of the household.
- Get inclusive: If the man is feeling rejected by the close bond formed between mother and child, especially during breast-feeding, he needs to find ways to participate in the work of caring for the child more – so that he feels more a part of the essential team.
- Find ways to be playful: Spontaneity and fun novel experiences, can bring out new parts in each other that can spark desire. It is said that a crisis of desire is often a crisis of the imagination. Be imaginative with thoughtful surprises. Sex is transformed by human imagination.
- Be curious about each other: In other words do not take each other for granted. Try to break the routine and take what little quality time you may have, to really gaze at each other. This turning toward each other builds meaningful connection and emotional intimacy. We feel seen and understood when our spouse exhibits interest in our needs, goals and dreams.
It’s important for couples to recognise that they have different hormones and different needs when it comes to sex. It’s over-simplifying things for the man to see the woman as rejecting, and for the woman to see the man as insensitive or self-indulgent. The picture is much more complex, and requires a sense of a team effort, so that each partner can appreciate the other’s efforts, which can lead to a greater sense of intimacy.
Mercedes Moreno is a Psychologist at Open Sky Psychology. For an appointment with Mercedes or one of our other practitioners, visit the Our Team page or call 1300 296 641.