Gone from having regular sex before the baby arrived to a sexless marriage? Here are 4 tips from a sex therapist on how you can rekindle sex in a sexless marriage after a baby.
A sexless marriage was probably not what you expected after giving birth. Yet days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and the next thing you know, you find yourself in a sexless marriage after having a baby.
But why do some women end up in sexless marriages after giving birth, and what can you do to rekindle sex?
Why some women end up in sexless marriages after having a baby
1. Perinatal changes to physical comfort and body image
According to Dr. Claudia Six, a Board Certified Sex Therapist & Clinical Sexologist, new moms who are experiencing perinatal difficulties that impact their physical comfort and body image can often lose interest in sex.
“There is always a very good reason why couples stop having sex after having a baby. I tell my clients that no one is broken or needs to be fixed. It helps to understand what is getting in the way of having sex, so that you can change that or make conscious decisions about the relationship.”
Since our bodies experience change after giving birth, you might struggle feeling as desirable or beautiful as you felt before pregnancy. Even if your partner reassures you that you still look beautiful, you might still find it hard to get used to your postpartum body.
2. Postpartum depression
Dealing with postpartum depression can also result in a lack of sex drive after giving birth. While the love for your partner has not changed, hormonal changes after giving birth might be preventing you from feeling sexual.
It is important to seek treatment from your OBGYN if you suspect you might be going through postpartum depression. Your OBGYN might either refer you to a therapist or prescribe an anti-depressant.
Some anti-depressants can cause a decrease in libido, so you would want to speak to your doctor about switching medications or adjusting the dosage.
3. Being physically too tired to even want intimacy
Besides perinatal difficulties that lead to a decrease in sexual desires, being a new mom and taking care of your new baby is tiring.
Lack of sleep, breastfeeding failures, crying baby – sleep is probably the only thing on your mind, especially in the first couple of months after giving birth.
In a study done by The Journal of Sexual Medicine, longer sleep duration was related to greater next-day sexual desire, and women with longer average sleep duration reported better genital arousal than women with shorter average sleep length.
Many new parents also create a routine around taking care of the baby, putting the baby to sleep, then crashing for the night while hoping the baby does not wake up during the night. There is little time to connect intimately, and before you know it, you both cease having sex for a good period of time.
4. Built-up resentment
“Sometimes resentment start with the birth of a child, where one or both parents feel unappreciated and unseen,” says Dr. Claudia Six. “Until these resentments are addressed, they can get in the way of couples bonding sexually.”
That might be feeling resentful that your partner has gone back to work while you take care of the baby, or resentment around who is doing what with the household chores.
Fatigue and resentment can often mean heightened emotions and low patience. Curt replies replace thoughtful tone of voice, or an unintentional rejection of a hug or kiss can snowball into a personal rejection.
Holding on to resentments can affect a couple’s intimacy over time and slowly lead to a sexless marriage if the resentments are not addressed.
4 tips to rekindle sex in a sexless marriage after a baby
Want to rekindle the passion and intimacy in your marriage after giving birth? Dr. Claudia Six shares her top 4 tips:
1. Start with date nights
Setting aside time for date nights when you have a baby can sound impossible. If you are able to hire a babysitter or have a family member look after your baby for a couple of hours, having date nights without the baby can help you to reconnect with each other.
2. Open up about your desires and resentments
If you have been holding back on sharing your sexual desires (or lack thereof) and voicing any resentments towards your partner, it is time to share what you have been withholding.
Doing so will allow you and your partner to connect on a deeper emotional level, while allow your partner to work on meeting any expectations.
Just be mindful to use phrases that aren’t accusatory, such as “I feel this when you do this”, rather than “You did this or you did not do this”.
3. Appreciate each other more
We all love feeling appreciated in a relationship, and feeling appreciated by our partners lead to building a close and intimate marriage.
Whether that’s hearing a thoughtful thanks for doing something, or jumping in to help the other person, simple acts of appreciation can go a long way in rekindling intimacy in a sexless marriage after a baby.
4. Seek out professional sex therapy
Similar to fixing a car problem or a tooth pain, you visit the mechanic or the dentist when you have a problem.
Likewise, you would want to seek help with a sexless marriage. A professional sex therapist can help shed light on why your marriage is sexless, and help you both repair it.
Looking for a sex therapist? Check out our growing list of professional sex therapists on Girls Just Wanna O!
Building emotional intimacy is the start to rekindling the passion in a sexless marriage
If you have been coping with a sexless marriage after giving birth, work on building emotional intimacy with your partner. Sex is often thought about as a physical act, but without a strong emotional connection, it can cause a couple to feel disconnected.
Once you and your partner starts to feel more emotionally connected, it will be easier to start wanting to have sex again.