Help us have sex again
November 26, 2009 9:40 AM   Subscribe

My luverly wife and I had a baby a few months ago. He's a great little feller. We're now ready, physically, to have sex again but... (possibly NSFW)

We haven't had sex in a long time, we pretty much stopped as soon as we found out we were pregnant. Our married sex life has always been quite unhealthy (unlike pre-marriage, which was great - WUWT?) but we love each other and all that and it's not threatening the relationship or anything.

But now we're ready to start again. Except I don't know where to start. Or how to start. My wife is beautiful and wonderful and she can certainly arouse me but the idea of going back to the awkward sex we were having for the year or two preceding the baby isn't exactly appealing.

I want us to do it right this time around and try to either get back to where we were pre-marriage or go somewhere different (if those carefree teenage-like mega-session-rompings aren't capable of being repeated).

Over-disclosure necessary as this is being posted anonymously: I'm game for anything, she's very sensitive and doesn't like much foreplay other than digital stimulation. I would love to get beyond her body issues (she won't let me do oral and any kind of general touching is, apparently, just tickling as far as she's concerned) but I don't know if that's possible. She likes sex, but something went wrong somewhere along the line (probably my fault, directly or indirectly) and I'd like to fix it. Naturally, suggesting that something is wrong and needs to be fixed would probably upset her quite a bit.

Please help. I'd really appreciate it if you could give specific advice (as opposed to "rekindle the romance" or "show her that you care and it's not all about sex".) Especially bearing in mind that we have a wee baby in the house so romantic getaways and things like that are a bit hard. Personal experience would be greatly valued and if you don't want to share here, feel free to write to me at

Thanks, in advance.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Any time I clean the house and/or have dinner ready gets some variation of "OMG, you're sexy, I'm going to do you!"

She just had a baby, she's under a lot of stress, time for you to pitch in and pick up any slack around the house, so she has several less things to worry about that. Be Prince Charming or if you can't, do your best Prince Charming imitation.

Except I don't know where to start. Or how to start.
She likes sex, but something went wrong somewhere along the line (probably my fault, directly or indirectly) and I'd like to fix it.

Definitely talk to her about this, after you've cleaned the house or some such. Why after? Again, so there's less stressful things on her mind. Her mind just delivered a live human being, her body chemistry might still be whacked out, she's probably not getting enough sleep, has little energy, there's all sorts of stuff with her body going on and now you want to talk about sex?! That's just stressful. Don't stress out the new mother, there's plenty enough stress as it is.

If she feels as though she has a partner, one who's clearly attending to her, the child and all (or at least most) of the little things around the house and life, she'll probably be much more willing to talk about sex and the relationship, because she'll actually have energy to do so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

There are a lot of unexplained issues in this question: why do you think you did something that would make sex uncomfortable for your wife? Why has marriage (and not the baby) affected your sex life? Why did you stop having sex when you found out she was pregnant?

I really think you should see a couples counselor to get this in the open, because even if it upsets your wife to acknowledge that something has been a little off since you got married, it'll help you both in the long run to address problems directly. She's a grown-ass woman, after all, and her unexplained discomfort with sex won't go away if you avoid why she doesn't like it. Lots of people are squeamish about therapy, but you two sound very in love and stable--surely it won't rock your world too much to see a professional for a few months.

She might also be embarrassed about her post-baby body, so make sure to emphasize that you like the new changes (yay big boobs!) and aren't expecting her to look exactly the way she did before the pregnancy.

Also, babies are effing exhausting and suck away everyone's energy. Lots of new mothers lose some of their sex drive because they are constantly holding a needy human being all day and want some physical space when the kid is asleep. Don't push her when she's tired or make her feel guilty for not wanting have sex immediately or all the time.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:27 AM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just for clarification: any kind of general touching is, apparently, just tickling as far as she's concerned does that mean she does not like to be touched at all? Like...say, on her back?
posted by sully75 at 10:30 AM on November 26, 2009

Is she still breastfeeding? I am and I know that hormonally, I don't feel any sort of desire to partake in sex at all.

And while physically I'm back to normal (my kid's a year), I am so exhausted from baby wrangling, well... that doesn't add anything to the situation.

So, I'm watching this question too, but wanted to let you know that this is all pretty normal, as far as what I have read and heard.
posted by k8t at 10:40 AM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

So, you two had unresolved sex issues before the baby came along? Therapy. Sorry, there's not enough info here to diagnose why your wife has issues with intimacy and what to do about them. Throwing a baby in the mix does not make solving that issue easier. Approach this as learning how to become intimate again so that you can be lifelong partners and good parents.
posted by amanda at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2009

If this were just a post-baby drought, some of the more typical suggestions might be helpful -- help her get a good night's sleep; go slowly; maybe try just manual stimulation for both of you the first couple of times, if that's been more pleasurable for her.

But this all seems outside the range of normal to me -- no sex during pregnancy, a sharp drop-off in sex after marriage (I don't think that's at all typical, at least before children enter the picture), a general discomfort with sex on her part.

I'm with the folks suggesting couples therapy, for those reasons. I know your relationship is great outside of this, but that just makes it all the more likely that therapy will help -- both of you are already there with the attitude that the other's happiness is as important as your own.

You sound like a great dad and husband, and it can be better than this.
posted by palliser at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2009 [7 favorites]

I just wanted to comment on the 'all touching is tickling' - I'm like that. I can't stand light touch. I know it's supposed to be alluring and shit, but I flail like a flaily thing and tense up and shudder and it's all very very unsexy. So the other anachronism has learnt (mostly) to touch me in a much firmer manner. Which sounds bad actually, but it isn't.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:36 PM on November 26, 2009

As just another data point, I also cannot stand light touch, and a lot of things that people see as foreplay will just tickle me or be abrasive or irritating rather than turning me on. I do not have body issues at all.

A lot of details are missing here, like what exactly you mean what you say the sex is awkward, what the difference is between the sex you had before and after marriage, and what it is that you allude to that you think you did.

So I'm kind of shooting in the dark here. But one piece of advice off the top of my head is, it might help to just work with what she likes instead of pathologizing it. So she likes digital stimulation instead of oral- that's what she likes. I would definitely feel awkward if someone was always pushing me to try to like I didn't like because I "should" like them or because "normal" people like them.

Not saying you do this- again there's a lot of detail left out here. I just think it's something to avoid.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:02 PM on November 26, 2009 [6 favorites]

Too many missing details to comment, but as k8t mentioned, if your wife is breastfeeding it's entirely possible that her libido is nonexistent. It's nothing personal--she just doesn't have any interest in sex right now. If this is the case, there is absolutely nothing you can do to make her want it. She can't control her hormones. Also, she's very likely touched-out. When you have someone pulling, pushing, hanging, punching, pinching, sucking, kicking, crawling, and smacking on your body all day, the very last thing you want to do after crawling into bed is have sex. Fortunately, this is a phase and it will pass.

On the no-sex-during-pregnancy thing, I will flat out state that that is not necessarily a problem either. Some women have a huge libido and amazing pregnancy sex during the last two trimesters--but some do not. Sorry if this is TMI, but I had sex maybe...three times?--during my entire pregnancy. This bothered me at the time, but my health care providers repeatedly assured me that my lack of desire was normal and okay. Every pregnancy is different.

If there were issues with your sex life before the baby, clearly you guys need to see a counselor about it. But please keep in mind that her not wanting sex during pregnancy or now that she has a small child doesn't mean there's something wrong with her. It might just mean she's a normal new mother dealing with the stresses and hormonal changes of having a baby. Additionally, her dislike of foreplay might not be a sign that she has body issues or emotional problems; if I may be frank, it might be a sign that you suck at foreplay. But again, it's impossible for us to know without more details and information.

Your best bet is probably to talk to her about these things as gently and openly as possible, without using phrases that make it sound like you think she's the problem. If that fails, seek couples' counseling.
posted by balls at 9:51 AM on November 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

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