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Sex after children

(135 Posts)
Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 13:27:53

I know nothing is "normal" in anyones relationship.....

My wife/partner is off sex. Two children quite close together. First one 2 and six months. Second, just one. In calender 2012 we have made love twice......in the year before, ( after first, then pregnant with second), possibly 5 times ( including the conception of number 2).

Both natural births, both pretty quick, no major complications. Now, no libido, no interest, excuses ( tired, just do not feel like it) and specific reasons; "everything just feels different down there".

Not an easy question to ask friends: "how quickly did you get back to occasional sex, yet along regular sex ?". I have been as understanding and patient as I think I can be. The current position, is no sex, no sex envisaged for the indefinite future.

I should add, before marriage three years ago, we made love keenly almost every evening we spent together. Regular, enjoyable ( for both of us) and initiated by both of us.

It has become a taboo subject between us, and I am not keen on getting pushed away ........

what to do ? Advice ? How quickly do other couples get back to occasional sex ?

gingercat12 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:33:43

Is she tired? Is she stressed out having to look after two such small children? Maybe some time for herself to rest or exercise could get her more interested...

PandaNot Mon 12-Nov-12 13:38:51

She's exhausted. Small children do that. It's not an excuse, it's a reason.

bonzo77 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:39:19

If "everything feels different down there" she probably needs to see her gp for a gynae referral. Just because both deliveries were straightforward doesn't mean that she hasn't suffered damage.

Read thread after thread here about couples in your (plural) situation. It's usually got a lot more to it than just mechanics. How does she feel about sex now, about you, both your roles, what is the rest of your relationship like?

steppemum Mon 12-Nov-12 13:45:50

I would say right now it is pretty normal. You have a 2.6 year old and a 1 year old.
When mine were that age I was knackered. It will also depend on how well they sleep. If you are physically tired (no sleep) that is one type of tired, but if you are emotionally tired (been battling toddler all day) that is worse.

Also I felt maulled by my kids, don't get me wrong, I love them to bits and loved being at home with them (and they were pretty striaghtforward kids) but they handled me, cuddled me, grabbed at me etc all day long (you can see where that is going in terms of sex can't you)

I think in first year afte reach of ours were born we really struggled with sex. I was breastfeeding until age 1 and that does change your hormones, so you don't feel the need for sex. It did improve a lot after I stopped bf (but please don't use that as a reason to pressues her to stop if she is)
Mine were good sleepers at that age and they weren't particularly difficult, but still I was knackered.

It has improved greatly since, and continues to get better, and rather than get bored with each other, we are enjoying rediscovering the person from before kids.

You can get out of the habit though, and sometimes I have to make myself turn off the tv, etc and make the time. My instinct is often to curl up with a good book.

I recommend you show lots of affection without expecting sex for a while, cuddles, hugs, hand holding, sofa snuggles, massages (ok don't want to sound sickly sweet, whatever you used to do that made you feel connected. She needs to feel connected to you, and feel the warmth and affection from you, not just the sexual attraction.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 13:48:14

There may be no sex but is there any intimacy in your relationship? Do you hold hands, cuddle on the sofa, say nice things to each other.... make time to be a couple? Or has everything come to a complete stop?

And do you ask about sex often? Might she feel under pressure to perform? Might she fear another pregnancy? Or are you clear that you're happy to cuddle and leave it at that?

If she genuinely is tired, what could you do to alleviate that? Extra help caring for children? Help around the home? Fewer hours at work? Have you ever gone away for a weekend together... recharged the batteries? Or could there be a medical problem? Even with 2 DCs not everyone is chronically fatigued.

And then there's always the possibility that she's gone off you. Be prepared.

AnyFucker Mon 12-Nov-12 13:55:54

Everything that cogito said, plus..

Do you do your share with housework and the kids. I don't mean giving them a bath occasionally and cooking the odd meal, with a quick hoover round. I mean taking an equal part in the planning of family life, the worry of having little kids, the whole overwhelming monotony of it.

or do you just do as you are asked and take the rest for granted ? Do you remember all the family's birthdays and organise a present. Plan ahead for xmas, write all the cards and buy gifts off your own bat, even for old Uncle Harry.

I am just giving you a couple of examples of how some men think they are making a good contribution but actually they are not and the sheer weight of planning and organising was certainly something that wore me down to a shadow of my former self when my kids were younger.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 13:56:06

Yes tired, in fact shattered. Kids not good sleepers, but we have always shared nights, and have routine of one getting up at 6am, other gets lie in.

Agree, is reason, not excuse. "Just does not have the energy" is about right.

Suppose was not expecting such complete end to sex. I am not pushy at all, possibly even rather resigned.....it has taken away a very close and intimate time for us, and that is a great loss to our relationship that is overwhelmed by tiredness. My wife does gets lots of support and family/friends/self means that she actaully has 4/5 hours to herself each day. I have always walked the two for a couple of hours each morning ( work allows for a mid morning start).

Will wait and see....have tried talking about the subject on any number of occasions, but get shot down pretty quickly and it causes tension. I am sure my partner is well aware of the situation ( and worries about it mas well) however, she just doesnt want to go there, or try.

AnyFucker Mon 12-Nov-12 13:57:13

It still does actually. Having to remember everything for everybody will cause much resentment.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:01:30

Everything for everybody ?.......sorry, meaning ?

We pretty much share everything as we are always both there for bathtime, and each put one kid down at bedtime. Never been assumption that she main carer and has been occasional issue of tripping over each other when would be easier on ones own.

We both muck in, adore the kids, curse their sleeping patterns, and then collapse from exhaustion.......

steppemum Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:00

reading your last post, definitely go for rebuilding the affection. You might find it even helps to say to her, I am not going to ask you for sex, but I don't want us to drift apart, so I am going to work on closeness.

She is lucky to get the support of 4-5 hours to herself (not jealous at all) but that doesn't actually balance the constant broken nights. It might be worth not having help for a week and building up a whole 2 nights credits with your helpers so you can leave them with grandparents and have 2 nights sleep (not sex, sleep) then use the rest of the time away to talk, just about where you are as a couple, how you are doing etc. She might be a bit depressed (or not) she might be struggling a lot with change in role - did she have a career before? you might uncover something you need to deal with together - like she hates being a SAHM but feels horrendously guilty about it.

Sex should not come to a stop in a healthy relationship (unless you both want it to) but it does go for a long walk when you are overwhelmed.

and cogito is right, it is quite possible to have 2 dcs and have sex (I even managed 3 dcs under 5 and sex, well, sex sometimes grin)

ShamyFarrahCooper Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:40

What about the cuddling? Sitting on the sofa close to each other?

One of the worst situations is if sex has gone out of the window and a woman feels she is only being cuddled for a lead up to sex. It's horrible and completely unenjoyable to think a cuddle can't be a cuddle, without any strings attached.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:15

Getting 'shot down' is no response. I'd be worried about that, personally. A loving partner would at least say they miss the intimacy, or acknowlege your feelings, even if they weren't in a position to do anything about it straight away.

steppemum Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:08

something i learnt a while ago
(sorry for crass generalisation coming up)

men have sex to feel close to their partner
women need to feel close to their partner to have sex

lot of truth in it. You need to work on the relationship, not the sex, the sex will follow

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:47

How does he work on the relationship when he gets shot down for even wanting to talk?

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:16:34

"Shot down" is mixture of "dont push", too tired, actual awareness and embarrassment of position, "bloomin men always wanting sex" and " we cannot talk about this yet again".

re cogito above, yes, had hoped honest discussion, acknowledging that I am feeling a bit all at sea, and discussion ( while cuddling, yes I hear that) might clear the air. If I knew where this was going ( ie start again slowly over a period) then would have some more understanding. At present I have no indication that my partner ever wants to make love again.......

MerlotforOne Mon 12-Nov-12 14:20:54

How is it when you do have sex? What I mean by that is....

My DS is 3 and has rarely slept through. DH and I have also gone through long phases of no sex interspersed with intermittent sex. He has remained physically affectionate but not pressured me, I still think he's very sexy and I'm attracted to him, and when we do have sex we both enjoy it, but after a night of being woken every 3 hours followed by a day of being 'handled' (as steppemum put it so eloquently), I just can't bear to be intimate.

The bit that would worry me is being 'shot down', as it doesn't sound as though you're pestering her. Could she have postnatal depression and/or be feeling overwhelmed? Does she enjoy it when you do have sex, or is there any sense that she's just doing it for your sake? Is it painful for her to have intercourse (in which case definitely a gynae referral would be in order).

ErikNorseman Mon 12-Nov-12 14:21:01

You don't really need energy for sex. Sorry but it's true. A bit of a cuddle and a gentle shag is not tiring and doesn't have I take more than ten minutes (obviously that does depend)
Not wanting sex is a problem on its own, not because of being too busy or tired. I have never felt too busy or tired for sex because I want to have sex...it's a priority. It's not normal or healthy to switch off your libido. I doubt she's happy with it either. Maybe she feels self conscious with body changes?

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 14:21:58

I think that analogy is crap, dh and I are opposites to that.

I really think the problem may not be sex at all, it sounds like it is intimacy, communicating is part of that. I think taking unilateral action to make her feel better might just make her feel worse because she may think it is pressure for sex.

She may not want intimacy as has been said, being pawed by children and having lost control over her body in pg may have badly affected her.

If she can't talk about the problem with intimacy which is a better way to frame it could you find some kind of activity to do such as the love languages online quiz that might give you an insight into what she wants and her for you too. If you answer with a view to what you would like it can be a good way of talking about intimacy without actually talking about it I think, although cheesy.

SweetSeraphim Mon 12-Nov-12 14:22:45

This is such a common problem. My 2 are older now, but I still have to make time to have sex, because I know how the rot sets in if you don't. I want to, and I fancy my partner loads, and I love it when we do it, it's just that I sometimes have to force myself to be interested - pure laziness I'm afraid.

Another sweeping generalisation - when sex is good, it counts for 1% of a relationship, but when there are problems, it counts for 99%.....

itsallinmyhead Mon 12-Nov-12 14:29:17

I'm with bonzo77

After reading the whole thread, so far, and hearing how when you try to talk with your DP, you're 'shot down' I'm thinking you need to try to talk again but take a different approach & ask if your DP there's something 'physical' putting her off being intimate.

I really don't know how you approach the start of such a conversation but hopefully you'll feel able.

It's something that may or may not be behind your DP's lack of intimacy but much more common than people think.

Good luck

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:29:32

Not selfconscious......gorgeously slim and as lovely and sexy as ever. Shed weight easily without effort.

Not painful ( I think, we have only made love twice in the last year, so not able to test that.....) or at least that was not a complaint at the time.

Sex need not be a two hour shagathon ( was it ever) and should not be a "chore" that is more effort than it is worth, even when knackered. In fact, I believe ( unless I am completely deluded) that over the first pre-child four years of going out, we had more sex than most and enjoyed it greatly.

Current position is that there is no desire, no apparent feeling that it might be enjoyable and make the effort worthwile, and therefore no sex.

Have been made to feel that I am asking too much: that sex this soon ( one year????) after a second child is almost pushy, or even absurd. I do NOT believe for one second that my wife thinks sex is just for making kids and is no religious or other reason.

Sometimes when I try to be intimate ( even a snog would be a start) I get pushed away almost as if I am a dirty old man........hey, i am married to her

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 14:33:21

You're not asking too much and you shouldn't be pushed away if you attempt to kiss her. A year is a long time.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:36:07

itsallinmyhead......

I do think there is something physical putting her off. I do not ( what do I know?) believe it is pain, though the sensation may be very different ( she has said that).

It is almost more a phobia, or fear ? I have let the word "disgust" pass through my head over the months, not at me ( though occasional withering look makes me feel that suggesting a cuddle is weird) necessarily, but disgust at the thought of the mechanics of sex. As is the act of sex has taken on an "obscenity" that makes it an odd thing to do. We were never into anything weird, just boring, passionate sex......

so I do not know what has made the act now appear in her mind unbearable, or unpalatable

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:39:09

cogito.......year is a long time

Part of the reason for starting this thread was just to check that I am not being unreasonable........yes, I think a year is a long time. I do not feel can discuss this with my sister or brother, or even good friends, without appearing disloyal to my wife. I feel I hear friends saying "God, no sex for a year".

This forum is good neutral anonymous way of checking up if I am going barmy......

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