One day my college-age sister was helping our mom rearrange her study, and to her abject horror, she found a book titled Sex after Fifty on top of a box of other books.
"Go ahead, have a look at it," my mom urged, grinning strangely. My sister declined, but Mom insisted until finally Kelli flipped open the book and peered through one squinted eye at a completely blank page. All the pages were, in fact, blank. To her great relief, it was a gag gift book.
The point of this story will not be lost on any man whose partner has just had a baby. Over the next six weeks or so the story of his sex life will read like the back of a yellow sticky tab. Given his lack of control over her recovery and his own possible feelings of loss as the newborn takes center stage, the lack of sex can be tough for a guy to handle in a way that doesn't drive the couple apart. This article discusses important physical and emotional considerations for this pivotal time in a couple's relationship.
Because having babies is so natural and common, many guys have difficulty appreciating just how dramatically a woman's body changes even after the birth and recovery. This lack of awareness may be due in part to the stereotypical male mentality of ignoring those problems we can't fix, and also to a simple lack of physiological knowledge.
Jay from Toronto relates, "I think that during and after the pregnancy I was a good guy in understanding what her body was going through (I went through a couple years in med school before we married), so it was obvious to me that she wouldn't be ready for vaginal sex the week after giving birth. Strangely enough this is not always obvious to guys. My big brother thought that with both his kids, once they were out everything should be back to normal."
Although individual circumstances vary, the typical medical recommendation is for a six-week waiting period before sex after childbirth. Since that can seem like a terribly long time for a guy, here's how to explain some of the physical reasons for the wait in ways that will help him cope.