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Hot and Monogamous, just as God intended

We recently welcomed our fourth child into our family and I thought I’d write a bit to reflect what’s going on on the sexual side of things in terms of pregnancy and after the birth from the male perspective.

Now, I know this may rub wrong with the women who read this, because pregnancy is typically all about the women.  I can’t speak for that side, so I’m going to post on behalf of the men, especially myself.  I want to let people know about the struggles involved for the husband, because we get overlooked a lot during this time, and frankly, it’s dangerous.

Now, this is a generalization based on my experiences, there will be exceptions, but I think what’s happening in our household is fairly normal.

Pregnancy

So, if you are planning to get pregnant, things start of great!  Your wife wants sex all the time (or at least while she’s fertile), she seems always in the mood and ready at the drop of a hat.  Now, here’s where the first conflict emerges:

  1. You want to get pregnant, because you want to meet your kids
  2. You don’t want to get pregnant, because you never want the sex-fest to end

In my case, we seem to be very fertile.  Yay for kids.  Boo for sex.  I think with one of them, we tried for 2 fertile periods.  The others, one.

So, assuming everything goes well, congratulations, your pregnant.  What does this mean?  Well, it means a few things.  Your partner may experience all or some of:

  1. Morning sickness, which, deceivingly named because it’s not necessarily just in the morning.  Getting in the mood while nauseous is difficult at best.  Impossible at worst.
  2. Crazy hormone shifts = mood swings.  Think PMS, but for 9 months, off and on.  Getting her in the mood with this is like running through a minefield.  Sure, you may succeed.  But you might die.
  3. Her body is changing drastically…as in getting bigger.  Your wife will not like this.  She will feel insecure about her body.  This means she doesn’t want you to see or touch it.    Getting her in the mood without touching her, and without her realizing that if you succeed, you will be, is well, a shot in the dark.  Coincidentally, your likely to have sex only in the dark because she doesn’t want you to see her.
  4. Her body is changing shape.  You may not be able to use your favorite positions, especially later on.  That baby takes up a lot of room when your trying to be close.

Now, some women say that pregnancy makes them horny.  I have never experienced this, or met someone who admitted to having experienced this.  So I’m starting to believe it’s a myth to give us men false hope.  I prefer to know the truth so I can brace for reality.  Don’t assume your wife will all of a sudden be a sex-fiend while pregnant.  Your changes aren’t good, and it will just disappoint you.

Birth

So, if everything goes well, after pregnancy, you have a birth.  I highly suggesting being there.  I suggest you catch the baby, and cut the cord.  Take tons of pictures.  Do anything to be involved, because frankly, it’s about the only involvement your going to get.  More on that in a second. One more note about birth:  If you are squeamish, this might mess you up for a bit.  Some of your favorite parts of your wife aren’t going to look like you remembered.  It’s OK, they go back.  Don’t let it freak you out.  I’m telling this, because you’ll be too embarrassed to ask.

Back to your involvement.  Assuming you have family and friends, they are going to be around all the time for the next week, and they won’t be much interested in you.  Your wife and the baby will get all the attention.  Add to this that your wife is absolutely overdosed on oxytocin (a hormone that chemically bonds her to the new baby), so she’s absolutely focused on your new addition.  That’s why she can sit and just stare at her for minutes on end.  We don’t get that benefit.  For a lot of men, babies are really sort of boring.  It’s not until they get to about 2 years old that they really become fun, because then they can start to really play and connect.

So, let’s recap:

  1. Started with tons of sex
  2. Dwindling sex during pregnancy (if at all)
  3. Not only no sex after birth, but no attention at all.

At this point, we’re emotional starved, our love-tank is empty, and being men, we never learned to cope with this.  In fact, most of us don’ t even know why we’re miserable.    We think it’s just because we’re not having sex, but that’s just the most obvious metric.  There is a cognitive dissonance (conflict) in our brain.  Our mind is telling us “Remember, she loves you”, but our emotions are telling us “She’s ignoring you, she’s pushing you away, she doesn’t want you”.  Go with your mind on this one, it’s better at thinking long-term.

Most of us reconnect emotionally with our spouses through sex.  We’ve had little sex (read: emotional connection) for the last 9 months, and now we’re not only getting no sex, but no attention.  We feel so disconnected from our spouses, but lacking the emotional tools that women are taught (because they’re allowed to have emotions), we don’t know how to name it, let alone cope with it, or address it.

And, here’s the ugly part:  If you manage to realize what’s going on, if you notice that your emotionally disconnect, if you recognize you need time and attention from your wife, you will stop yourself from asking/demanding/pleading for it, because, well, she has enough to worry about with the new baby.  I don’t mean this sarcastically. It’s a big shift for her too, there’s a lot going on.  But I’m not writing about that, enough other people will.

What I do think is that any time you put your children ahead of your spouse, your marriage will suffer.  Granted, occasionally that needs to be done.  I think having a baby is one of the best reasons for it.  I just think that we often fail to remember/notice that there is suffering going on that isn’t as noticeable as lack of sleep or lack of time.  It’s a lack of intimacy.

Most of this is just a rant, because, well, it’s been  just over a week since we had a baby, so you know what stage I’m at.  I’m writing this mostly to help me process what’s going on, in the hopes that I won’t be so frustrated.  As for advice, all I can offer is:

Advice for the men

Be patient.  Your wife will be yours again soon.  If she isn’t within a month or two, seek help.  Sometimes it happens that the wife forgets to be a wife when she becomes a mother.

Advice for the women

Just show some attention to your husbands.  It doesn’t have to be full on sex, your probably not physically ready for that, but there are alternatives.  And even if you feel that “getting in the mood” is an impossibility, then just give him the attention he needs.  Guys don’t get as much out of hugging and kissing as sex, but, when you’re starving, you’ll settle for crumbs just to survive.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I just want to say, in order not to give the wrong impression:  Having children is an amazing blessing, I highly suggest it.  It’s a life full of sacrifices, but the rewards far out weight them.

Your Turn

Have you been through this?  What was your experience?

21 Responses to How Pregnancy Affects Sex

  • Thanks for the encouragement! I have felt the same way as I believe you are feeling now. Our little one, #2 is now 6 months old and well lets just say I felt like I was forgotten… I know she still loved me but I didn’t “feel” it. My Love Tank was empty. Thankfully things have started to turn around it looks like their is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train.

    — Stand Strong! Remember that we are not allowed to be tempted beyond what we can bare and in Christ we can find the strength to get through this!

    • Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one out there feeling like this. I mean, I knew I wasn’t, but no one has ever specifically told me they have gone through this before.

  • Ok, yes, becoming a pregnant sex fiend does happen. After my morning sickness went away with our 4th, I was insatiable. I mean I could have gone and often MBed several times a day. (Yes, I am not for MBing and am not proud of that fact.). It was sheer torture when I was put on pelvic rest to prevent premature labor. I only lasted 3 weeks post partum. I never refused hubby and always made sure his needs were met. I wasn’t going to be one of those wives who forgets hubby in the wake of new babydom. Funny, though, despite all the sacrificing I did, even enduring excruciatingly painful sex after our daughter was born so hubby would be satisfied (I didn’t let on that it hurt so badly because he would have refused sex out of concern for me), when he’s not feeling up to snuff sexually, I have to suck it up and wait. :/

    • Why wait? Get on him about that! You have needs too, and it’s his responsibility to meet them!

      My wife never got the insatiable pregnant phase., it doesn’t happen for everyone.

      • Hi Jay Dee, I don’t suppose you could write a post about how to get a man to “meet his responsibility” in that way?

  • Jay Dee, it is a long story, but it isn’t as easy as that. Hubby doesn’t like taking the time to pleasure me and his job keeps him away from home and exhausted a lot. We recently came out of a month of celibacy (his choice) and 3 years of him not making efforts to give me O’s. If I didn’t manage to O by self stimulating during intercourse, which he doesn’t like me doing, then I got nothing. We are in a slow process of healing, but just going to him with my needs is out of the question.

    • I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to trivialize your situation. I spoke without thinking.

      Don’t give up, and don’t hide the sexual part of you from your spouse. I was complacent (angry, but didn’t do anything about it) in my marriage for too long and in doing so, I enabled my wife to continue acting the way she was.

      • Jay Dee, some guys unfortunately take it as an attack if you tell them your needs are not being met. No matter how kind and gently you go about it.

        I haven’t been complacent, but have been careful not to appear in any way pushy as my husband is the type of man who if he feels remotely pushed (even if it’s entirely his imagination) by anyone, he will do the exact opposite.

        I’m at a total loss to how to fix our sexual relationship

  • Hello, I just sent an email regarding seasons, but I wanted to briefly share one other thought regarding the 40 day / six week period following birth. I wrote the following as I gathered my thought the my email I just sent….

    Following the birth of our sixth, Jenn and I mutually agreed to wait a full forty days following the birth before having sex together. I wanted to be able take that time to intensively focus on loving Jenn in every other way other than sex as she healed and we adjusted to life with a new little person, making love to my wife by serving her, by cuddling her, by praising her. It removed the stress of the temptation of trying to clutch and grab for sex through this difficult time, and set a defined time for coming together in a post baby honeymoon after the initial ‘babymoon’. Since our forty days of winter, early spring return in force during the remainder of our first hundred days following birth where we were able to come together once to twice a week, with the time since then (about mid to late August onward through the present), we have enjoyed uniting with one another generally twice a week.

    Just another perspective from one who though many preceding pregnancies struggled much of this same struggle. We all are different ;)

    • I think that’s a fantastic idea, to have a predetermined set time, so no one is guessing or worrying. That is a tip I am definitely going to pass on.

  • thank you so much i need this big time. I am not alone

    • Unfortunately, it seems there are more marriages suffering with this issue than those who aren’t. You are definitely not alone.

  • Jay Dee, just want to reassure you about your comment… “Now, some women say that pregnancy makes them horny. I have never experienced this, or met someone who admitted to having experienced this. So I’m starting to believe it’s a myth to give us men false hope. “.

    It’s definitely not a myth. I wouldn’t say it fits my situation exactly – but that’s because I’m always that way. I want sex at least once a day, and would be satisfied if I could even get it once every second day, but getting it more than once a week from hubby is very hard.

    Pregnancy hasn’t changed things. The stress of not being able to fall pregnant is now gone, so I don’t feel quite as hurt when hubby refuses, but the amount of sex I desire has remained at wanting at least once a day, and feeling incredibly unsatisfied getting it only once a week.

    Even having a severe UTI from pregnancy stuff barely put me off, even though it made sex incredibly uncomfortable. I didn’t realise it was a UTI, just thinking it was normal for being pregnant, even my GP missed that it was initially until the test he sent away came back positive three days later. The only difference it made was in the third week when I started running fevers and was feeling incredibly sick and run down from having a severe infection for three weeks untreated, and then when I started antibiotics and developed thrush, was sex finally imposssible for a week until I finished the antibiotics a few days ago. Then had an invasive procedure, nothing to do with being pregnant, and then had to delay a further 24 hours (probably should have waited 72 hours but after once in three weeks – one week from my problems, had sex and the two week’s before that no sex because hubby wasn’t interested) I wasn’t waiting any longer.

    But even on our honeymoon when I had second degree burns and severe food poisoning, I never said no (he did though, not because of my pain, but rather he wasn’t interested) other than last week, I’ve never said no. Sadly getting a no from hubby is a constant occurrence.

    Being pregnant, I’m still wanting sex every day, but it just hurts a little less as I’m no longer worried I’ll never fall pregnant (I have a lot of reproductive health problems so falling pregnant may have been a long process that may have been impossible) with us rarely having sex when I was fertile (sometimes months of no sex when I was fertile) because hubby wasn’t interested (not because he didn’t want kids, just because he didn’t feel like sex).

    So just letting you know… there are definitely horny pregnant women out there. It’s just really really hard when you have a husband who isn’t interested.

    Oh and as to your four points….

    1. not all women have morning sickness. I’ve had none so far (although with my first, I had it start in the second trimester so may still happen), but even if I do, it definitely didn’t stop me with my first baby and won’t stop me this time.

    2. Not all women have crazy mood swings when pregnant. I have hormonal problems, a LOT of them, but they don’t effect my mood at all. Not all women have their moods effected by hormones. I know a lot do ( my sister and my daughter get feral PMS!) but not everyone. I don’t.

    3. I hate my body. I was overweight before I fell pregnant, and at 6 weeks pregnant, I gained 5kg in the space of three days for no definite reason (doctor thinks fluid maybe), and at 9 weeks, I’m already 10kg heavier than my prepregnancy weight because I had to stop all my weight loss and diabetes meds due to the pregnancy. I know I look fat and disgusting, and it doesn’t help my husband’s constant rejection of me, and no interest in looking at me naked ever, but gaining 10kg, I’m still lighter than when we met (I had lost 18kg before getting pregnant, by having underlying medical conditions treated, but had to stop my treatments unfortunately due to being pregnant), and I realise I could gain another 10 or 20 or even 30kg by the time baby arrives. But I’m already fat and disgusting, hubby never notices my weight, he didn’t notice the 18kg I lost, he’s not going to notice it if I put it back on.

    Knowing I look repulsive doesn’t change my interest in sex. Not everyone’s sex drive is tied to how they feel about their bodies.

    and 4. neither of hubby’s two favourite positions will be effected. I’ve already researched that. Again, it’s one of those things that effect some couples but not all.

    Pregnancy may effect some couples, but for others it may have no effect at all.

    the only way pregnancy has effected us is hubby is more worried about finances, is depressed and even less interested in sex than normal and it’s crushing me.

  • It’s not a myth I’m one of those woman and my husband wants nothing to go with me “NOTHING”. He won’t even hold my hand something that so routinely to due. We always found ourself holding each other no matter where we are now he is on one side and I’m in another :(

  • This is a great article and it was actually pretty funny.

    I am happy that there are men and women talking openly about it without anyone getting defensive or argumentative.

  • It’s a great talk to have.

    We have been trying to have number two for about 1.5 years. Our sex life has been pretty scheduled but we made it an opportunity to have fun. That worked for about the first 1/2 year.

    Then, in the course of 6-9 months, my wife had two miscarriages, and two chemical pregnancies. This is course created a huge emotional drain for her. We told ourselves that we would be parents who got so caught up in trying to conceive that we would loose ourselves in the process. It happened. We both agreed that the emotional toll it took on my wife was too much so we agreed to stop trying to get pregnant.

    So after it’s all said and done, we have a 1% chance with IVF. It was time to be okay with our amazing daughter and get back to ‘us’. It’s not happening. We are great with our daughter and do a ton of things together but we are having a hard time reestablishing our sex life unless it’s geared toward having a kid-which can not happen.

    So yeah…we are co-habitating. We have fun with our kid, talk about bills and schedules, and eat. It’s boring.

    Sorry I let all that out. I’m just a little bummed out and I don’t know what our options are.

  • I had a thought. Maybe when a couple is purposely planning to conceive, and planning to budget in for the baby once born…. Maybe planning to have a budget for a romantic getaway once ready would be a good idea. Plenty of friends and family already want to have a chance at baby sitting and we’re not even planning to conceive for a little while so there would be no problem finding ‘nan’ or ‘uncle’ to the baby to baby sit once mum and bub are settled a bit at home.
    I know some women may find a getaway and separation from bub stressful but if it’s intentional and planned ahead of time, my brain could probably handle it. Especially since I really want to make sure I keep a happy hubby. I only thought ‘jealousy’ after a baby may come from breast feeding (I’ve heard wives are tired of being touched there by the time it’s hubby’s turn, which is sad) but I never considered the bigger picture. Thank you for giving me some great insight. I’ll make sure I keep all this in mind as our time comes :p

  • I, unfortunately, understand your plight. I’m the pregnant wife, I came across your post while looking for solutions on how not to go insane with our ‘sex life on life support’. All of the things you said, with respect to a few points, is how my side of the pregnancy has been. And, for the record, I too have not met another woman who had a crazy high libido while pregnant. Truthfully, I’d kill to be the one with no drive or initiative in the bedroom right now. We’re 8 months in and I am going crazy with the severe lack of sexual and physical intimacy.
    I abhor bringing the topic up, maybe two or three times. I don’t want him to feel bad, I know he’s got his reasons and it seems he’s having a hard time pin pointing them do himself, let alone for me. I make sure he’s included in everything, going so far as scolding friends and family for focusing solely on me. I didn’t make the baby alone! I just worry it isn’t enough. I worry a lot, especially about this. With hormones kicking my ass it’s sometimes hard to do the whole, “Remember, he loves you” bit. But I am trying.
    I hope you’re right. I hope things go back to how they used to be. The feelings accompanying the loss of attention in an intimate fashion are so much deeper than is easy to explain.
    Thank you for writing this. It’s the first honest and helpful thing I’ve found.

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