I Have Zero Sex-Drive!
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I'm hoping you can help me with a slight issue I have had since I had my first baby seven months ago. To put it simply - I have zero sex drive. I love my partner so much, we make a great team and it's no reflection on him...but I just get to the end of the day and it's the last thing I want to be doing.
Is this common? I feel lost with what to do.
Firstly, thank you for asking a question that MANY mums feel, and yet don’t feel comfortable reaching out and talking about.
Unfortunately, we are navigating early motherhood at a time when society tells us that we should be ‘back to business’ in every iterations of the phrase, by 6 weeks post-birth.
As a midwife I have witnessed too many times to count, a woman being told (while getting stitches post-birth no less), that they need to ‘hold off’ on sex until their baby is 6 weeks old. This is a classic example of the wide chasm between what is being said, and what is being heard. When the doctor or midwife tells you to avoid sex for 6 weeks, what a mum hears in this little spiel, is that there is no reason to not have sex after the 6-week mark. This is a small yet hugely significant moment, which begins a seemingly never-ending cycle of ‘sex-pectation’ (yes, I did just come up with this term...and I'm damn impressed with it too).
So putting that not-so-great start aside, let’s explore some reasons for why you might be feeling this way.
You feel touched out. This is a BIG ONE. You have a seven-month-old who I bet wants to be attached to you all the time. You are likely getting to the end of the day and have had a small human attached to you at the hip for most of it. You want your space, not a much larger human to be literally on top of you at the end of your day.
You may be experiencing pain when you do have sex. One study conducted in 2019, found that over 60% of women with a second-degree perineal tear (or episiotomy) had pain at 3 months postpartum and this persisted for over 40% of women at 6-months postpartum. If this is the case, then I’d strongly suggest booking in with your GP and local women’s health physiotherapist.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, your love hormone (oxytocin) is in full-swing, but your body and mind are far more geared towards bonding with your baby, rather than actually wanting sex. Another hormone vital for the production of breast milk is prolactin. Higher levels of prolactin are directly associated with a reduced sex drive.
Now let's get to the nitty-gritty of it all. For many women, there is a HUGE connection between your mind and body. When you are likely going through a degree (however significant) of sleep-deprivation, change in identity and the stress of being the default parent every damn day, it's no shock that sex is the last thing on your mind. You are a mum trying to get through each and every day - it's simply impossible to be everything to everyone at this time of your life.
So! What where-to from here? I hope that the above info can bring some solace that there are many reasons why you don’t have much (or any) sex drive at the moment.
Speaking to your partner and being open about where you’re currently at can be a good first step. Try to seek connection with your partner outside of the bedroom, and still work on fostering your relationship with one another.
Lastly, if you have any ongoing concerns and want to seek help then consider reaching out to a sex therapist. They are experts in helping you to tailor your sexual experiences to meet your needs as an individual and as a couple.
You’re not alone.
P.S. For more info check out this article
The study referenced in this article can be found at:
Åhlund, S., Rådestad, I., Zwedberg, S., & Lindgren, H. (2019). Perineal pain the first year after childbirth and uptake of post-partum check-up- A Swedish cohort study. Midwifery, 78, 85–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2019.08.004