The anticipation of a baby is very exciting following a long nine months of waiting. However, couples often grossly underestimate how much a baby will change the rules, roles and functioning of their relationship. Couples do not prepare for these changes and often do not even know that need to prepare for these changes.
Then when they baby arrives along with sleep deprivation, falling in love with their child and the many other distractions they have competing for their available time, couples often make the unconscious decision to shift their priority away from the relationship and onto the child but fail to discuss and negotiate one version that they both agree to.
One area that couples will find they need to discuss and negotiate is their sex life. Couples hopefully are already talking about their sex life during the conception, pregnancy and post pregnant. However, for many couples they do not. If they were experiencing infertility issues to conceive the baby, it is highly likely their sex life suffered greatly from that.
The sex life the couple enjoyed pre-baby may not be realistic to have post baby. When couples come together they are in a constant state of unstable equilibrium. Relationships are highly dynamic entities and as individual in the relationship change, this change extends to the functioning of the relationship. So what worked pre-baby often doesn't work post baby and couples need to be able to effectively negotiate a new normal.
A new baby doesn't necessarily mean the couple will now be doomed to bad sex, infrequent sex or worst of all no sex, what it does mean is that couples will need to be able to talk about and negotiate this new phase of their relationship. If you and our partner are not good at discussing sex, like many couples, this can set up for problems negotiating this change. Professional counselling can give you some new tools and skills to talk about sex.
Expectations are the cancer of relationship that creep in and kill a relationship slowly. Expectations are beliefs that sit in a person’s head. Sometimes a person can believe these expectations so much they ASSUME that their partner holds them too, afterall they married the person. However, expectations are PRE MEDITATED RESENTMENTS. The reason this is ,is that an expectation, or beliefs are often only a you-truth, a personal truth. They are not likely to be a truth for your partner or many other people. So if you are EXPECTING your partner to do or behavior a certain way after the birth of the child, you will be disappointed especially if you did not discuss it. Couples absolutely must have a difficult talks where they clearly get out on the table what they want. This is a starting point to negotiations. Assuming or Expecting will lead to disappointments.
It’s really important to understand that there are very few UNIVERSAL TRUTHS. A universal truth is something like gravity. Gravity works, behaves the same way for everyone, no need to discuss it. However, there is no universal truth on what a new father is to do, a new mother's role, how to parent, what sex should be like, what is normal sex. These are the topics that each couple must negotiate and decide for their relationship and keep re-deciding as time moves on, its not stable. When you start to expect our partner to be a certain way or do a certain something, you will be disappointed and you’ll set yourself up for your own self-inflicted betrayal or hurt. I say self-inflicted because if you didn’t pre-discuss or negotiate your partner may be completely clueless about what you wanted of them even though it’s obvious to you. Expectations are deadly, try and eliminate them. An expectation is an area for negotiation.
People often grossly under estimate the physical changes that take place in a woman’s body and how each individual woman will deal with them. If a woman is struggling with her body image she may find avoidance of sex the easiest way to deal with it.
Another aspect is the lack of sleep and how that affects everyone different. After birth, especially if the woman is breast feeding, she is often very tired. When a person is tired, sex is one of the least appealing activities. Being tired and exhausted will impact one’s sex drive and desire. Having a forum to discuss how sleep deprivation and being tired is impacting sex is important.Blaming and complaining are helpful, but instead pulling together as a team, employng creativity and figuring out what you will do in the short, mid and long term is important.
Another change is that for many woman once they are pregnant and then breast feeding they refrain from alcohol. A very common statistic is that most people have sex under the influence of alcohol. Now when a woman is no longer able to take alcohol and must have sober sex, this can completely change how they deal with and enjoy sex. While sex is supposed to be fun, for too many adults around the world, sex is filled with anxiety and self-consciousness. People often cope with this anxiety by using alcohol and now when they cannot use it can create sexual issues. Couples may need to address how they prepared, relax and enjoy sex if alcohol is not a part of the woman's sexual experience temporarily.
All humans are hard wired for freedom, no one likes prison. The truth about children is they change a person’s individual freedom and that of the relationship. Children do not take freedom away but your individual and couple freedom will look different. Couples need to negotiate how they do individual time, couple time, family time and child to parent time. There are many more things competing for time and freedom and the inability to discuss this will create relationship problems. Recognizing that your freedom is going to change and keep changing is important to talk about. Blaming and complaining are not helpful. Freedom issues require couples to renegotiate priorities for the relationship.
Most Important Sex Organ
The most important sex organ in the body is the MIND. That’s right, our sex organs are not complicated organs. A kidney is a complicated organ, the penis and vagina are not. However, in personal relationships the mind is what gets in the way of being able to have good sex. The mind is a complicated organ.
People grossly underestimate how feeling frustrated, disappointed, angry or resentful at their partner will translate into the bedroom. Very very few people can be mad or resentful at the partner, then immediately switch that off to have sex. Personal, romantic intimate sex requires a good connection from the mind, not just the body. If you are having relationship issues this will translate into the bedroom. So you need to get the relationship issues fixed to help the sex problems.
Address the Sex in the Relationship
Most couples do not know how to effectively talk about their needs and wants for a sex life, especially after the major change in the relationship of a baby. Instead of talking about sex and the changes couples will ignore it and hope it goes away. Other times one partner may launch into solutions without really understanding the problems or concerns from their partner. Other times partners may use guilt to motivate their partner into give them sex (very unsex to feel bad). These ways of discussing the changes in a couple’s sex life do not bring couples closer and they definitely do not facilitate the necessarily problem solving. If you are struggling with how to talk about or deal with sex issues post baby, couple counselling can help you give the tools. The sooner you address it, the less session you need and the easier it is turn things around. Left too long, people start to turn away from each other as nothing feels worse than being rejected sexually.
Unhelpful ways to talk about sex are :
Many couples argue over solutions. The problem with arguing solutions is that the solution giver is usually coming up with their solution based on how they have defined the problem. Generally no two people see things the same way. So if you define the problem and come up with a solutions without checking out how your spouse sees the problems, your solutions is usually rejected. People will response to your solutions with a " Yes...but...i can't or that won't work"
-Telling your partner the things they should or need to change in their life to make more time for sex. Often you'll see a partner telling the other to spend less time with the baby, help more around the house, spend less time at work, and be more supportive. All these "solutions" are coming from how solution giver defines the problem, but they haven't taken the time to understand the perspective of their partner. Before you can talk solutions, you must both agree to exactly what the problem is. If you don't know how to do this, which many couples do not, couples counselling can teach you how to do this.
-Making the problem all one person's problem. Sex, unless it is masturbation, requires two people communicating, negotiating and getting along. If you frame the problem all as one person this is not helpful. It cannot be ALL the wife's problem or ALL the man's problem. Remember that what worked pre-baby isn't likely to work post-baby.This is no one's fault, it is the natural evolution of a relationship that has had a massive change. Couples will need to figure out a new normal. Also remember that the current state of fatigue is a temporary situation, temporary being operative. If you really plan to be with someone for 50 or 60 years, 6 months, 12 months is really a small time, slow down and don't panic. Nothing is permanent, including this temporary state.
-Framing sex as natural and that you should not have to fix it or schedule or make plans for it is not healthy or realistic. Nothing in life is natural or normal. It is not natural to fly in planes, type on a computer or talk on a phone. So spontaneous sex isn't natural either when you have a job, a baby (or 2) house work, bills, kid's homework, and the many other things competing for time in your busy hectic lives. Ifyou keep trying to get the sex you had at 16, which was spontaneous (and probably luck) you will be disappointed. That teenage adolescent or young 20s sex is something you had but you are now different and it may no longer be realistic. Sex is something that needs to be worked out and managed continuously, especially when so many things are competing for a person's time. If other areas in your relationship are struggling, this will affect your sex life. Just as you have changed in other areas of our life, so will your sex life.
Remember if your sex life isn't happening the way you like, you will need to do something about it. Just relying on hope isn't a good strategy
If you and your spouse are having a difficult time creating a new normal for your sex life, do not ignore it and "hope" it'll go away. Hope is magical thinking if it doesn't have behaviors behind it. Many people struggle to tak about sex and when you have additional pressures and stresses, it doesn't make it easier. A professionally trained marriage counsellor who is also a sex therapist can help give you the tool you and your spouse need to talk about sex.
Call us to learn more on how you can get tools to create a new normal sex life post baby at 90307239