ROWAN PELLING"S SEX ADVICE COLUMN: My husband hasn"t touched me since I gave birth

My husband hasn't touched me since I gave birth

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 7 October 2012

QUESTION:

I gave birth to my first child three months ago and my husband and I haven’t made love since. It was a straightforward delivery and after six weeks my midwife said it was fine to have sex again.

But my husband makes excuses every time I suggest we make love. He’s a great, supportive dad, but I fear he doesn’t view me sexually now I’m a mum.

ANSWER:

Remember how your midwife said proper breathing would help keep you calm and focused during childbirth

Post-baby sex: Your husband may find it impossible to believe youre back to normal

Post-baby sex: Your husband may find it impossible to believe youre back to normal

Well, take a deep breath and stop panicking — it’s only three months since you had your baby and many parents feel shell-shocked at this stage. It sounds as if your husband’s one of them.

Yes, you are the one who’s undergone pretty much the most arduous and profound physical experience known to humankind, but men find childbirth onerous in very different ways.

For a start, they’re relegated to onlookers, which can make them feel helpless or emasculated. It’s frustrating to be passive when your instinct is to protect your partner and unborn child.

It’s often difficult for men to comprehend the body’s capacity for swift recovery. There’s a common worry that, as one honest dad friend put it: ‘It may all look like a bit of a battleground down there.’

This friend said it was only when he saw his wife naked for the first time post-birth that he appreciated our ability to ‘ping back’.

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You may feel fine and ready to go, but your husband may find it impossible to believe you’re back to normal. Many fathers worry they may cause their wives pain the first time they make love after childbirth.

Your spouse’s reluctance to touch you may also, in some part, be due to feeling awestruck at what you have achieved.

If your spouse has put you on a mummy pedestal, it may be difficult for him to swoop you down and into bed. Reverence is a great emotion, but it’s not necessarily the world’s most powerful aphrodisiac.

Has your husband become a bit too bound up with the world of fatherhood When men are stressed by work they experience a dip in libido — well, what is parenthood but a new job

All the reactions and causes I have cited are common in new fathers.

Furthermore, almost all will have happily moved beyond the early tension.

You need to ask your husband which specific factors are cramping his sexual style and then tackle these inhibitions together.

Don’t stampede him into the bedroom. Go gently and try the old-fashioned art of seduction.

In those early baby days it’s easy to wander around in sick-stained pyjamas with bird’s nest hair, forgetting that a slip and a dash of grooming might work wonders.

Try foreplay and a glass of wine before you begin to move to anything more strenuous.

I would also advise farming out your lovely baby to a close friend or relative for a few hours.

If a year passes without sex, I’d suggest booking some sessions with a relationship counsellor. No child should bear the burden of feeling their birth created a rift between their parents.