By Diane Riley co-author of “Sexual Secrets for Men, want every woman would want their man to know”.
This article mainly addresses the issue of changes in sexual desire after childbirth. However the sacred sexuality practice suggested here to assist with this issue is also applicable to changes in desire during pregnancy.
It is not surprising that childbirth can profoundly affect your feelings about sex. I remember in the second stage of labour of my first baby saying to myself “I’ll never have sex again!” And seriously deliberating the joys of a celibate future.
However, pain experienced in labour is not the only cause of changes in attitude towards sex after childbirth. How you have been treated during this time and the level of emotional and physical support you receive during those first few weeks and months with a new baby also affects you. As well as this you are trying to establish routines within the context of relationship, other offspring, even returning to part – or full time work. You are dealing with breast or bottle feeding, broken night’s sleep and fluctuating hormones. The thought of sex may appear as either some wonderful dreamy luxury or be enough to make you to want to become a nun!
As life goes on, amidst feeding, washing, cooking and domestic chaos you may start to feel that you are the primordial Great Mother – providing for the well being of all others; the baby, the family, the job and to top it off: the conjugal rights of the husband!
Fluctuations in desire – during pregnancy and after childbirth – affect both the man and the woman in the relationship and yet it is a time where emotional and physical closeness is needed to enrich your union.
With the arrival of the baby a man may feel that he has both lost a lover and gained a dependent who wakes and squawks at irregular hours (of course he loves the baby too!). He may sense that your body which he so loved to touch and make love to is off limits; your breasts may be swollen and tender, your vagina gradually going through the healing process, or you may be recuperating from a Caesarian. There is no time for romance or passion, let alone sex. He may be wondering where he fits into to the scheme of things. Unfortunately after a while some men start to feel they are just a co -carer of the offspring with not much room left for being the lover!
With most of their emotional and physical energy taken up by the child many women feel they have no energy ‘left over’ for sex. They want “five minutes peace” and need a little supportive nurturing themselves. Instead of feeling desire and looking forward to moments of passion, making love can become just another obligation that they have to attend to. For many couples this can escalate to create big problems.
During my seminars many women of young children have spoken to me of their feelings about sexuality before children (B.C) and ask how they can integrate their sexuality into motherhood. While some women do find a deepened connection with their sexuality and can surrender conscious control of their bodies and enjoy orgasm even more (or for the very first time), others find it difficult to even have their partners sexually touch them. Most say there is an adjustment period where partners are moving into new rhythms of parenting while still being lovers. They welcome creative ways to assist this shift.
Lucy and Adam’s story
Lucy’s is a common story. Lucy is a young and vivacious mother of two; a little girl, two and a half years old and a three-month baby boy. B. C. (before children) she and her partner Adam enjoyed a really connected relationship. But Lucy had a difficult birth with her first child and didn’t feel like sex for several moths after the birth.
Adam had been understanding and patient but of course it was a difficult time for both of them. They finally got back into their previous regular pattern of lovemaking but then they had another child. Lucy said: “Now with the second I’ve got no energy at all left at the end of the day, I just want to curl up in bed and be cuddled, no sex, I’ve got no desire at all. I don’t want to have sex. Adam is becoming more distant and the pressure he is putting on me is not appreciated, I feel as if l have three children all wanting something from me”
I reassured Lucy that her experience is a common one for mothers of young children. They become both physically exhausted and strongly emotionally connected to their babies, losing their sexual energy. If this goes on for long the relationship suffers and may deteriorate to an irreparable extent.
During this critical time a special awareness is needed from both partners in the relationship. Men can naturally feel neglected both emotionally and sexually yet a lot of women just expect them to put up with the changes in sexual relationship and to await a return of her sexual energy before sexual relations are re-established. This may take months, even years.
Sacred sexuality practices offer an answer to this dilemma. One particularly appropriate practice is Daily Devotion. Taoist master, Dr Stephen Chang, introduced this practice to us and my husband and I have adapted it for modern lovers. Daily Devotion works very well when partners are experiencing a difference in desire so it is especially applicable when new bundles of joy arrive in your life!