Two Sense: New Motherhood and Sex Drives


Six months ago I had a gorgeous baby girl with my live-in boyfriend of five years and right now I have absolutely zero interest in sex. I'm sure my libido will rebound someday, but right now I'm both enjoying motherhood and exhausted by it. Unfortunately, boyfriend's libido, if anything, has increased since our daughter was born. I'm seriously thinking of telling him to go get laid just to get him off my back, but that seems crazy. Or is it?
He Said: Having a newborn is a familial hormone fest, and not just for you. Fathers who interact with their infants produce oxytocin and prolactin, just like mothers, and it similarly helps them bond with the baby. Researchers are constantly discovering how healthy and transformative it is for parents to interact with their loin fruit and I expect these studies will continue to find hormones, phernomes, and maybe even garden gnomes that help explain the mysteries of parental love. What is less well understood is the isolating but common experience you're talking about where for a variety reasons, one parent, usually the mother, loses interest in sex. This can cause daddy to experience a different kind of post partum depression, one which includes a longing to return to the womb…or at least one section of it. This is especially pronounced if you two weren't having much sex during pregnancy.
Under no circumstances should you advise your frustrated babydaddy to seek outside attention. You, your boyfriend, and your baby need to bond for all your sakes. When your guy wants some attention, try to make time for a longer session of foreplay than you were used to. That may help kick on your furnace. If you're still not warmed up enough for intercourse, employ some alternate method to occasionally relieve your boyfriend.

She Said: Yes, that’s crazy. The last thing a new, exhausted mother needs is for her romantic and parenting partner to go get laid elsewhere. It may be time you got a little more proactive about hopping back on the sex track. If the kid were two or three or even four months old, then I’d say, “Tell him to wait. You have more important fish to fry.” But soon the kid’s going to be going off to kindergarten, and then where will you be?

For some reason, and I don’t pretend to understand why, it’s often the case for women that sex begets sex, and sexual inertia begets more inertia. It can sometimes be like going to the gym: you don’t want to, but afterwards you’re glad you did. But of course, we don’t want sex to be just another task on our to-do lists. God knows we already have enough of them! So you need to sit your man down and say, “Listen, I love you and I don’t want our sex life to die. We have two options. We can wait for my libido to rebound and you can masturbate and watch Internet porn as much as you want, or we can slowly start to ease back into sex, but you’re going to have to convince me, because I’m exhausted and hormonally I just can’t be bothered.”

Challenge him to seduce you, and I’m not talking roses and a dress-up night out, I’m talking a long, slow massage for your tired muscles or you sitting in a hot bath while he watches the baby. In fact, any child-rearing or housekeeping tasks he can take off your hands will be steps in the right direction. Have you ever seen “Porn for Women”? It’s a little book of women’s fantasies, and almost all of them involve men doing their share of housework and daily tedium. To start, don’t think sex. Think rest. Think hot shower. Think nap. Think two hours on the couch with a movie while he takes the kid out on errands. Move in this direction, and you may find that your body naturally begins to bounce back to its normal libidinal level.

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