My Wife Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With Me. What Can I Do?
I became a dad last year and, well, my wife and I haven’t had sex in more than six months. I understand that there’s time needed for recovery after birth and that we’re both stressed and exhausted with our new normal. But sex is an important thing for both of us and before we had our son we had a big discussion about our lives as parents and promised to keep that in tact. But it doesn’t happen anymore. I’m growing frustrated and don’t know what to do. — Charles, 33
Congratulations on being a dad! Incomparable joy alert!
I understand that not only is No Sex frustrating in the present, it’s also existentially frightening to think that this could last forever or even six more months. But if there is one thing you are virtually guaranteed to learn via parenting — and you will learn it both the easy way and the hard way and then you’ll learn it again and again in various excruciating and miraculous ways — it’s that everything is a phase. Everything. Everything is a phase.
To some extent, this sexless phase will pass whether you do something or not. Probably, if you do nothing, in a few months one Sunday while the baby is napping you’ll be like “Wanna?” and wiggle your eyebrows a bit and then your lovely wife will be like, “ok, sure.” And then sex will slowly recover from there.
However! We can do so much better than “ok, sure.” In fact, I would personally be a little embarrassed if I became part of an “ok, sure” couple. (Ok Sure Sex is fine from time to time, but not the goal for our one wild and precious lives).
And it’s on you to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Your wife recently gave birth. Not to be like “you owe your wife” but ummm… you owe your wife. This right here is a fantastic opportunity to show up for her and your marriage.
This right here is a fantastic opportunity to show up for her and your marriage.
Firstly, sex is not one thing. Ok? Sex is anything you do with another person that turns you both on. (Nota bene: I did not say, “makes you both come”). You are trying to run a marathon after having been in a cast for six months. Slow your roll.
Get away from the idea that sex is going to look the same as it did before. That’s not bad news; sex could get much, much hotter. You guys have a new level of intimacy! Maybe she hasn’t felt sexy post baby. Compliment her! Flirt with her! Maybe penetration hurts or she’s worried it will. Go down on her! Get a hand job in the car after dropping your kid off at Grandma’s house! Dry hump!
In order for these things to be welcomed, however, you might need to take some things off your wife’s plate. Please be very honest about how much each of you is doing in terms of child care. How often are you entirely alone caring for your child by yourself? Do you know the pediatrician’s name? What changes to your wife’s career has she incurred that maybe you didn’t? Does she have to adjust her diet because of breastfeeding? Who gets more sleep? Who packs the diaper bag?
Make a physical list and write out what each of you does when it comes to the baby. Notice the little things — those matter because they take a lot of energy. It’s not about score keeping, and it doesn’t negate the work you already do, or the stress you feel. This is just for you to realize that sex is probably not as high up on her list for a reason or 400.
I do not doubt that you also are drained, but your wife might be drained plus recovering from a 10 month body horror film that happened inside her.
I also suggest familiarizing yourself with the concept of being “touched out” which is basically where parents — usually mothers — get so much physical contact during the day with their child that physical touch is no longer desirable. There’s a lot more I could say, but also women have their identities vastly shifted by becoming parents in a way that men often don’t, and some of that — a lot of that — has to do with desirability.
I do not doubt that you also are drained, but your wife might be drained plus recovering from a 10 month body horror film that happened inside her. She carried your kid, you can carry the work on adding some romance back in. The more you do, the more energy your wife will have to entertain deep throating you.
Most importantly, though, I require that you talk to your wife. Here’s a suggestion: “I love you so much, babe. Having a kid with you has only made me love you more. And part of that is that I really miss being physical with you. What would feel nice? Can we go on a date?” Offer suggestions! This is a person you had a kid with, I imagine you know some stuff that might turn her on short of P in V sex.
Off the top of my head, I would bring up massages, taking a bath or shower together, making out on the couch with no expectation of sex, watching porn together, masturbating together. Split a bottle of wine! Light a candle! Hold hands! Talk about hot sex you two have had! The idea is not to get to penetration as fast as possible — frankly gross to think that way — it’s to rebuild romance and sexual connection.
I want to be very clear that pressure is not only not hot, but it’s also not kind. And if you can’t be kind to your partner, you should not be having sex with them
I also want to be very clear that pressure is not only not hot, but it’s also not kind. And if you can’t be kind to your partner, you should not be having sex with them. No one—and especially not someone who just gave birth—should feel pressure around sex. These are all invitations, not demands.
I bet a lot of this sounds corny, but loving someone well is often corny as hell. I believe that your wife absolutely wants hot sex with you again…eventually.. The desire is not gone in theory, it’s just buried in practice. And you can help do the work to uncover it. Make her less busy and more horny.
The process will take time. It will frustrate you. But this right here? That’s marriage! This is the part in the vows about marriage being hard, about it being work. And who better to do some work for than the person you love the most (other than your new baby)? Take pleasure and pride in showing up and putting in effort, but also be easy on both of yourselves. With love and patience, sex will come back, I promise.