New parents and expecting couples often experience a dip in libido due to frantic schedules and the constant demands of young children. While parents don't want this change to negatively affect their relationship, couples aren't always sure what steps to take to improve physical closeness. Rest assured, because experts say that with good communication and a little work, those dips don't have to turn into a drought of sexual contact and intimacy.
Nicole Griffiths of Greenfield Center, New York, is a mother of one and also in her last trimester of pregnancy with her second child. She says that she is too tired for intimacy these days and admits to avoiding sex in the evening. "We're both exhausted at the end of the day," she says, adding that carrying 45 extra pounds has contributed to the fatigue.
Although the physical contact may have waned, Griffiths says she still finds her husband attractive. "Making home improvements is a huge turn on. Watching my husband interact with our 21-month-old keeps the spark going; knowing that he loves this child as intensely as I do is a huge turn on, too."
The Ebb and Flow of Intimacy
Rachel Greene Baldino, a therapist and author of The New Age Guide to Loving Simply, explains that intimacy ebbs and flows during big life transitions, such as having and raising children.
Couples can work in regaining intimacy after children, first by increasing their awareness. "Before you give birth, it is good to be aware that your libido, your overall energy level, your interest in sex, and the amount of time that you have to devote to intimate moments with your spouse will all decline quite a bit immediately after the birth of your child. This is a perfectly natural, expected development," Baldino notes.
"If you expect to return to a very active sex life six to eight weeks after you have given birth, you may be disappointed, because while your body will probably be nearly or fully healed at that point, your energy level and sexual desire may still not be up to your usual level," she says.