Understanding Intimacy: Sex After Baby | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Understanding Intimacy: Sex After Baby

A column that fosters deeper love between couples

Dear Dr. Jane,

My wife and I had a baby girl four months ago and our sex life has been off track ever since. I know it takes time for a woman to feel good postpartum, but our doctor said we could have sex after six weeks. We've only had sex once and it was terrible. I'm sensitive to my wife, but I'm going crazy without it. She's exhausted and stressed. And she's nursing. I'm lonely. I'm actually jealous of the baby. Is that crazy?

From, Jealous of baby


Understanding Intimacy: Sex After Baby
Source Weekly

Dear Jealous,

It makes perfect sense that you're feeling jealous. Having a baby (particularly the first baby) is one of the most challenging things you'll ever do as a couple. The realities of creating another human, combined with the physical difficulties and the exhaustion (sleepless nights!) are huge. I can't overstate the impact that pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester (baby's first three months) have on you both.  

I'm sure you know that your wife's been through massive physical changes. That's obvious when you look at her. What you can't see are the hidden hormonal and energetic shifts that she's experiencing. We tend to focus on the issues women face after birth, but you've been through a lot, too. One in 10 dads suffer postpartum depression or anxiety as well. This is a profound change and it's true for moms and dads who become parents through pregnancy or through adoption. When we take another little human into our lives, we change at a deep level. The feelings of responsibility, love and vulnerability are profound. 

Tip #1 Realize the impact. Becoming a parent changes the way you both feel about your lives, who you are, and how you are in your bodies. The responsibility you're experiencing is intense (even without specific physical, hormonal and emotional changes). The trauma of birth shakes you both (even when it went perfectly—which isn't always the case). You're both adjusting to her new figure and hoping that it'll get back to pre-baby in some way. When she's nursing, her body isn't her own. She's feeding the baby with her breasts—a totally new experience for you both. Her breasts were your playground before the baby arrived. And now they've become a snack bar. It's very off-putting for some new dads.

Tip #2: Focus on connection. Your best next move is to spend intimate time with her in other ways—not just sexually. That doesn't mean your sex life is over. When lovemaking does happen, take it slowly. You've both been through a lot. Sex may not feel right—at all. I recommend a visit to the pelvic floor physical therapist for every woman who's had a baby— vaginally or via C-section. There are new modalities available that'll help her feel like herself doing everyday things and when having sex.

Tip #3: It's not personal. I know that it's hard not to take it personally. I imagine that being sexual with her is deeply important to you. It makes you feel amazing—loved and safe. Your relationship has been based on your physical connection with her. I hear you. But right now she's in a different head space. It's not that she doesn't want you or find you attractive. She needs your patience so that she can keep healing her body, regulating her hormones and getting accustomed to her new relationship with the baby. You need self-care too. Have you been getting to the gym? Seeing friends?

Tips #4: This too shall pass. It's a brief time in your life. Sex is really important for you both, but for now—do your best to focus on keeping the lines of communication open. Know that even though she's busy with the baby, she still loves you. You'll be back to yourselves again (with new awareness and experience as new parents). You're important to her, too. 

I'm so glad that you reached out to me. You're in the middle of big stuff in your life. It's all new for both of you and it makes sense that you're both sensitive right now. Take it one step at a time and it'll be OK. Promise.


Xoxo, Dr. Jane

—Dr. Jane Guyn (she/her) is a well-known relationship coach who received her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and is trained as a Professional Sex Coach and Core Energy Coach. She works to help women and their partners release shame and increase confidence in themselves. Her work is in the area of intimacy and sex, as well as fears and/or abuse issues related to sex, plus a variety of other issues that may arise from any relationship. She's the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, "Too Busy to Get Busy," and has been passionately married to her best friend for over 30 years. You can find her at

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