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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 ?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 14:40:11

Usually people react that way when they don't like their partner. If I'm too tired for sex I'll at least give my b/f a smile and a kiss goodnight.... I don't look at him like he's disgusting, unbearable or unpalatable. A few of his predecessors I've regarded that way... and that was the point at which I realised they were about to be exes.

You've got bigger problems than sex, I'm afraid.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 14:40:29

Gotta go. Daughter just woken.........going to see how far this runs and check back this evening........

SweetSeraphim Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:10

A year is a hell of a long time. Personally, I think you're not unreasonable.

SweetSeraphim Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:59

What Cogito said. There are other issues here.

cq Mon 12-Nov-12 14:52:22

Gosh this sounds like my marriage. You are not alone, OP.

My DH is a great dad, a loving, good, man and my hero. I just find it so hard to want sex at the same time he does. By the time all the chores are done and the kids are in bed, I just want 10 minutes to myself with a book or the internet and then SLEEEEEEEP. (And yes, there is a lot of unspoken resentment of the hours he works, the things I have given up to raise the family, the unequal arrangement of domestic drudge.)

And then we begin to realise that it's been weeks - months - a long time with no sex.

He is gagging for it, so every time we have a cuddle or a snog, he's hoping it will turn into something more. And every time I push him away or turn my back, I feel like another little spark of our marriage has died.

And so it is easier to avoid any cuddles or snogs because then I don't have to reject him.

And nobody likes the situation. We still love each other and nobody is remotely thinking of getting out of the marriage.

What saves us is the odd sneaked weekend away, or a family holiday with kids club. Or even if he can sneak home for lunch on a school day! No kids, no chores, no guilt. At half term we went away for a Mark Warner week and managed it 5 times in a week grin

Haven't had a flicker since, but it's done us both the power of good and the spontaneous affection is back.

So, OP, can you sneak her away for a weekend? Enlist the help of friends/grandparents? Or farm the kids out somewhere and just have a night to yourselves? But don't expect to get lucky the first time - just let her know that you still love her, cook her a meal, sleep, watch a funny movie, whatever. When she is relaxed, happy and feeling no pressure, it will come naturally.

This will take time to fix, but if you both still love each other, then it will come back again. Love and patience is needed, that's all.

Good luck.

MerlotforOne Mon 12-Nov-12 14:59:42

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

Is this your opinion or hers? Just because YOU think she's gorgeous and sexy doesn't mean she feels that way about herself. Even very small changes can have a big effect on self-image, especially if she had high standards pre-babies.

Of course it may be something else entirely.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 15:04:19

merlot, hear what u say, and not for me to judge what she thinks she looks like.....do not think that is the issue

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 15:09:48

cq......done that. Three days away in March. Six ( bloomin expensive) days away in Sept. And libido was there none........slept in pajamas, which is always a sign.......never wore pajamas before we were married. Getting ready for bed and pulling on pajamas is a sign.........or that is how I now believe I am meant to take it

OP - I managed to grit my teeth through most of my first pregnancy and the occasional sex in baby #1's first year without ever letting on that it was uncomfortable and I didn't like it.

It took about 6 months after getting treatment from a gynae for me to be fully back on form in the bedroom. Then I got pregnant again and this time there's just been no question of it. It hurts, I'm not doing it. But again, it took me a while to be able to say that.

I also went off cuddles ad kisses etc as a. often felt implied pressure, b. my whole body feels over-sensitive and odd atm, and c. the hormones do kinda kill my interest even in kissing, although it could be overspill from the sex issue. (i.e. because that's uncomfortable, I'm put off the whole package).

In my case, I'm expecting it to return to normal again about 1 year post #2 if all goes well. But it was hard to talk about.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 15:11:55

PS, mentioning cost of the week away is not meant to imply I wanted anything in return, or thought that expense of hotel was related to intimacy we might have had......though a nice spa hotel should not have hindered the process.....

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 15:14:40

leggy.....that sounds so similar, and pretty much where we are at......why u say expecting it to get back to normal ? Cos u have feeling that will just reevolve naturally ? Been able to discuss openly with hubbie ? How has he coped with what sounds like a couple of abstaining years ?

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 15:28:07

I think there are some complex messages about sex that some men and women absorb as they go through this life - and they are very different according to gender.

Two things spring immediately to mind.

How was your wife socialised to view sex as a mother?

We often discuss men who have a madonna/whore complex but IME, some women have a similar set of feelings in reverse. In that, as soon as they become mothers, sex seems unseemly and incongruous with the role of being a mother.

That would explain the distaste, which might not be personal at all.

Johnsfour Mon 12-Nov-12 15:37:04

Charbon.........I agree. I have thought that. It is almost a religious ( she is not religious) belief that sex when you have children is wrong or smutty.

I have no idea how she was socialised to view sex as a mother. She is young, her friends are young. I cannot believe any of her friends would suggest for a moment that sex after motherhood is distasteful or odd. She has the majority of her life in front of her......anbd many many years, I hope, of happy marriage

Well I got back to normal eventually after first baby. Ironically (or perhaps causally related!) the week-ish in which baby #2 was conceived was like being 25 again!

But then the hormones kicked in and bang, it went.

So this time, I don't plan on waiting around if things hurt, and am trusting that with some effort and communication, once I'm getting enough sleep to function again, it will come back.

But then my husband has had to learn over time how important it is not to pressure, and I've had to learn how to let go of hang-ups relating to past pressure and feeling like I 'had' to, so therefore not wanting to. It was difficult for him to raise the subject without there being implicit pressure. And in fact, I can't even remember what most makes me feel the occasional interest I currently have in kissing. Usually being on a 'date' or similar I think. Last time it was over coffee in a cafe, nice view, good conversation, while toddler slept. Which probably says a lot about what's missing day to day!

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 16:37:44

If what I said resonated with you, I think that might be a helpful discussion point with your partner. It's important for a couple to discuss their associations about sex and where they were learned and it's interesting that you have no idea what your partner's views are about this or how they were shaped.

There is tremendous pressure on women to be 'good mothers' and IMO, it's never been greater.

Lots of women in their twenties and thirties are chronicling the pressure they felt while single to be sex goddesses, but they don't always realise that when they became mothers the pressure shifted to being supermum. Your wife might feel that motherhood is the thing that she is likely to be most judged on right now, whereas before it was other things such as being conventionally attractive, having a great sexual relationship, finding a partner. Unfortunately some of the worst pressure and judgement comes from other women.

If you are getting any sense that your wife has perfectionist standards about motherhood, this might be another clue to how she is feeling.

Offred Mon 12-Nov-12 16:58:11

I heartily agree with cog BUT there's a couple of things I notice 1. Which may be just a matter of how you explain things but how you feel about your body after a baby is about much more than how you look, it is a lot to do with your experience, how you feel, how your body feels, changes that have happened. It takes time to adjust and I found more time the more children you have, because there are more changes. By talking about it in such superficial terms it makes it feel dismissive of the massiveness of both the mental and physical changes. 2. Sometimes other things you are saying feel dismissive and pressuring. Like "excuses" in the first post and "even a snog". It is coming across like you are angry at her for not giving you sex. I can understand this feeling but it is exceptionally counter productive and if you aren't speaking you'll each be hypertuned to this kind of feeling and paranoid. 3. Intimacy doesn't begin with a snog, sex does and I think this is linked to my point 2. She won't talk, that is part of intimacy so she's not helping but she may not be able to talk just now. Focusing on intimacy and accepting you aren't going to even think about sex for a period ATM might help her feel she can talk. 4. I can't help but notice you keep saying you haven't had sex for a year but that isn't actually true. You HAVE had sex just extremely irregular sex. By behaving as though you have not had any sex you are devaluing something which may have been extremely difficult for her (we don't know) but either way failing to recognise those very infrequent times I think will make a big difference to the atmosphere. I don't think a year IS that long or two times is that infrequent after a baby. Of course it is a long time and infrequent if you are the partner for whom nothing has physically changed but it may (speculation) feel like a LOT to her.

QueenieLovesEels Mon 12-Nov-12 17:17:44

Post natal depression?

pylonic Mon 12-Nov-12 18:28:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyFucker Mon 12-Nov-12 19:21:01

It doesn't sound heartless, pylonic, but your post does make it sound like you have been conditioned to think that men are entitled to sex, just because they have put a ring on your finger

BelaLugosisShed Mon 12-Nov-12 19:37:57

Don't you see the (tragic) irony in your post pylonic?
Did you plainly inform your husband to shape up or ship out regarding his lack of sharing the childcare? Would you have resorted to an affair because of what your relationship was lacking? No? Then why do think think it's reasonable for a man to go looking for sex outside a relationship after a few months?
What OP describes is pretty normal for a large proportion of couples I imagine, two babies in quick succession and the resulting exhaustion.
A couple of years of sexual drought is nothing within a ( hopefully) long marriage - BUT, it does need dealing with, he is not unreasonable to want sex and intimacy, it's a basic requirement in a relationship, honest communication is the only way forward, she might have nerve damage making sex a bit numb for her, that can take a couple of years to resolve, she could have body image issues and just not feel sexy and attractive - him telling her how sexy she is will not help is she doesn't feel it, he doesn't say if she is breast feeding, which is a major cause of lost libido.
It could be any number of things and only talk without blame is the answer.

dibs78 Mon 12-Nov-12 20:21:24

I'm in the same situation as the op but I'm the mummy! Seems even worse when it's the man in the relationship doing the rejecting. Same situation as op pretty much identical- my dhfancied me rotten before ds1. Managed to cOncieve ds2 somehow on a very rate occasion we did 'it'. Not much affection coming my way either, he just seems very self conscious about it all. Dh used to call me sexy and gorgeous....hasn't since the day ds1 was born. Is it true, do u think, that some men just go off sex with their wives once they're mothers ?? sad((

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 20:36:40

Yes some men go off sex when women become mothers, but it's probably only 'worse' in your eyes dibs because of the erroneous socialisation that men must be up for sex all of the time, which is one of the complex messages that men and women receive growing up, that I was referring to upthread. So it's more helpful to work out whether your partner still has a libido for non-mothers (which might suggest a Madonna/Whore complex), whether he has gone off sex with you personally or whether he has gone off sex in general. You need to talk about this before it becomes corrosive. I'd also find out whether he is doing a lot of porn, incidentally......

dibs78 Mon 12-Nov-12 20:46:25

Definitely just me I think?? He was a very sexual person and I can't believe that's just disappeared overnight. Have found porn on his phone once. Whenever I've addressed it he tries to assure me he still fancies me but I do feel like he forces himself to do it whoever we do. After ds1 it was ten months before we DTD, with our second son we did it after 2 months....an improvement. I am worried he'll stray because if he doesn't want it here any more them maybe he'll go elsewhere sad it's a vicious cycle because it gets hard toake first move etc when you don't feel sexy, can't feel sexy when you fear rejection etc. Very difficult not to let it overshadow everything else. It makes me so sad.

AnyFucker Mon 12-Nov-12 20:49:07

Dibs, at the risk of upsetting you, do you think he might already have someone else ?

Pregnancy is a common time for entitled men to seek extra-marital sex

dibs78 Mon 12-Nov-12 20:54:33

I have worried about it, and asked him about it but no proof or dodgyness. Sometimes I almost wished I would find some incrinatimg evidence!!!! At least it would mean there was a reason for it all other than he's gone off me since we became parents. I once found an article he'd read on his laptop entitled 'can a husband ever truly find his wife sexy after childbirth ' or some such title.

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