If you’ve had a baby within the last three weeks, do yourself a favor: Bookmark this post and come back to it when your doctor brings this subject up. Right now, this should be the least of your worries.
Between the two people it takes to tango, the answer to the question of when to resume sex after baby has mainly depended on the woman, for obvious reasons.
Although a doctor may say it’s physically safe after a certain period of time, many women may still not feel ready. So really, the answer is subjective, because readiness may have more to do with desire than physical capability.
Setting a timeline without 'feeling it' can feel... overwhelming.
But women aren’t the only ones who need time to regain their sexual confidence post-baby. It may take just as long – if not longer – for new fathers to feel ready again, according to a new study published Thursday in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
How long, exactly?
At least three months for some, the study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 114 partners of mothers during the first three months after childbirth, asking questions about their sexual desires during that period. The results of the survey suggest that partners feel a shift in desire just like mothers do.
Reading this study reminded me of an episode on TLC’s popular show “A Baby Story,” where a mother-to-be was frustrated that her husband was no longer attracted to her after her pregnancy began showing. His main reasoning? He was afraid sex would hurt the baby. I’ll save debunking that myth for a different post.
However, even after she gave birth and got the intimacy green light from her doctor, he said it was going to take him a while to regain physical attraction to her.
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard fathers say that they definitely looked at their partner differently after seeing her give birth. As a result, numerous fathers have dished the following advice to future fathers: “whatever you do, don’t look.”
However, this new study interestingly found that, for the partners they surveyed, their sexual lull had nothing to do with how they viewed their partner. While some were concerned about the mother’s physical condition, much of the shift had to do with the fact these partners – most of whom were men – were just plain stressed and tired from caring for a newborn.
Sex is on many couples’ minds, but between feeding, changing, sleeping, working, and cleaning the mind tends to wander. Quick.
What’s even more interesting about the study findings was that the level of sexual desire of one partner mirrored that of the other. Perhaps that means that it takes both partners working together to nurse a physical relationship back to life. For many couples, it may take longer than when a doctor signs off on it.
So how should partners get back ‘that loving feeling’?
Being patient with each other is a good start.
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