Postpartum Sex Difficulties

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Sex just isn't the same since having a baby

February 2007

My husband and I used to enjoy a lively and active sex life before the arrival of our son. After a traumatic vaginal delivery that required several surgeries to remove scar tissue and the fact that I'm still in a chronic sleepless state 8 months later, sex just isn't the same. I never had a problem achieving orgasm before and now, I feel almost nothing. My poor husband is almost at the end of his rope and I desperately want to enjoy and desire sex again! I almost dread it now and I really hate feeling this way. Is there anything out there I do? Maybe some homeopathy? Help!!
Dying to get off

I really feel for you. I had a very easy birth that resulted in permanant damage to my vagina--not what I expected. I am still in pain, sometimes, 18 months later, and sex is sometimes uncomfortable.

But, I am getting better, and I think you will, too. (Our sex life has become more tender and changed in wonderful, positive ways, as well)

For now, your husband needs to be more sensitive. You have been through a lot, and need to heal mentally and physically. He needs to masterbate, use porn, whatever--but intercourse sounds like it is not in the picture for you right now, and that's ok. In fact, for many (I really think--most) families, sex is not in the picture for a long time after the first baby. 8 months of no sex is not unusual even for women who had no physical problems. So please cut yourself some slack there! And bring your husband on board. I asked my husband to imagine if he had pushed a baby through his penis and ended up as damaged as I--he got sympathetic, fast.

As far as looking for more medical help, I would encourage you to wait. Christine Ciavarella is a great homeopath in El Cerrito, but I think you should try and focus on your baby now. the baby time really only lasts until the first birthday. Try to divert your focus from this disappointing and painful injury to your baby. I was not always able to do this, and I regret it profoundly.

You will get better, and you can always seek more help later. Give your body a chance to heal. There is almost a competitiion, it seems, of who can get back to their previous life the fastest--triathlon at 6 weeks? done! amazing all night sex sessions at 2 months? Yes and yes!

It's crap. Most people, especially older moms, need a long time to recover, and no one is ever the same again. It would be a shame if we were.

I don't know if the surgeries you had are impacting you ability to orgasm, and that should be checked out, but not now. Just give it time and please just enjoy your baby for now. You will regain your life, and better. You will sleep again (that is huge!) and you will enjoy being with your husband again.

Don't feel like having sex anymore - baby and toddler

December 2006

My husband and I were blessed with a second child this summer. He is a wonderful baby, although quite high maintenance. He has never slept more than 2-3 hours, and nurses a lot at night (cluster feeding on the couple days I work - maybe 4-6 times). We also have a delightful, very high energy toddler. I love my kids, but am utterly exhausted, especially working full time (nights and weekends). I haven't slept more than 2 hours in a row in 5 months; my baby hates the bottle and will refuse it if I am in a 3 mile radius.

Here is the issue - I have no interest in sex with my husband. I should stress that he is a wonderful, caring father. He more than pulls his weight with childrearing and household chores. I still find him attractive as well. I don't know if maybe this is a hormonal issue that will recede with time. Or possibly I am just being pulled in so many directions at once...some days I feel like a small person is attached to me 24/7.

Honestly, I cannot think of anything more inticing at the end of the day than falling into bed and sleeping. I feel terribly guilty, although my husband never pressures me and just tells me how great I look (even though I have flabs of baby weight to lose). Will this pass with time? Anyone have a remedy for this? Let me know how you reconnected even though you had small kids - please. Thanks! lost that lovin feeling

First of all, you are amazing! You have a lot on your plate and are incredibly busy. No wonder you're tired. I have one and am workign part-time (among other things) and am not all that interested in sex either. Sounds like you too have a healthy relationship, which I think often is an issue. I'm not an expert, but a health care provider suggested to me having my thyroid/adrenal glands checked. Pregnancies can really get the thyroid off, from what I understand. Also, I've noticed that I am definitely more ''in the mood'' when my husband and I have some time - even if just an hour - to sit w/ each other, talk, eat a nice dinner, look each other in the eye and try to renew some of the ''dating'' feeling. I know it's tough but even a house-bound date now and again has worked wonders for me. Good luck! anon

Hi Sounds like you are not taking care of yourself!! Not sleeping for more than 2 hours in a row for 5 months could do it to anyone!!! You haven't lost that loving' feeling, you've lost your sense of well-being. When you start to feel more healthy, your sex drive will come back. My suggestion to you is to find some way to have more time to yourself. Babysitter? nanny? Grandparents taking the kids for a night here and there? working less? I don't know where the answer lies for you, but no wonder you are exhausted. You can't expect to feel like having sex when you have driven yourself to the ground and feel fatigue most of your waking hours!! Rearrange your life so you have more time for YOU!! You deserve it! Sex will follow burkenli [at]

I know its hard to pull yourself out of your situation and look at it a bit more objectively, so I'll tell you what you aren't quite seeing clearly right now. YOU ARE EXHAUSTED!! If you were still wanting sex all the time and jumping your husband every other night, I'd think you were on crack. Give yourself a little bit of a break. You are barely sleeping and you are on overload. It will pass with time, with rest, with life becoming a bit more normalized. Until that happens, do whatever you have to do to sneak a nap here and there in your life. You need that!!! A Mom

I had no sex drive for several years myself. My kids are 6 and 2-1/2, and just about three months ago it came back! I think there are so many issues including hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, mental shifts about your role in life and what your body is used for and capable of, that it must be a natural thing. I'm always so shocked to hear the statistics that most couples have sex once a week! However, after several years of questioning myself, I feel like the person I was ten years ago! My Mojo is Back!

I think you know the answer yourself. Taking care of two children, working full time, and not having slept more than 2 hours in a row in 5 months. I'm amazed that you're able to carry on. You are too tired to have sex. You need to make some life changes i.e. not work full time or hire a nanny. If you need the money and your husband isn't working, he should get a job so you can rest. If you don't take care of yourself, you may become so physically exhausted that you may get sick, and not feeling like sex will be the least of your problems Anon

This is totally normal. Breastfeeding releases Oxytocin which decreases the sex drive. You produce more oxytocin in your second pregnancy (and the nursing thereafter) than the first. Exhaustion also kills the sex drive. If after you have weaned and are getting good sleep you still don't have a sex drive, then you should look into doing something about it. There are some great books out there. Check out this website too: Anon

This may be politically incorrect advice, but if your husband wants sex and you don't, I think you should compromise and just do it sometimes. Two things about this.

One - you can get out of the habit of sex if you avoid it, and once you're back in the saddle, so to speak, you will probably find you really enjoy it. I mean, you won't find yourself saying, ''Wow, I wish I hadn't done that.''

Two - sex is so important to men on so many levels. It is how they express love, how they feel attractive, how they feel connected and important to you. I'm not saying women never feel this way, but I find that it's more generally true of men than women.

Your husband is kind, you love him, he's not pressuring you. Give him the gift and you'll find you've given yourself a gift.

My first marriage died for a lot of reasons, but in reflection my lack of effort sexually was a big part of it. Now that I'm remarried, I'm much more focused on this, and I find that not only is my husband happer, I am too! it's kind of my religion

Hormones radically change during and after pregnancy, affecting sex drive, sleep, mood, etc. If you want to balance your hormones back to pre-pregnancy state ( or even better) seek natural hormones which are not synthetic, and are administered as a lotion applied to the skin. Many women end up on Prozac, etc. because of the wonderful marketing job these companies do to consumers and doctors. The problem isn't that you lack Prozac, you lack balanced hormones. Find a holistic or naturopathic doctor who is knowledgeable in this area. Solicit BPN to find one, perhaps Tina

I mostly just want to say that I HEAR YOU! I have a very active 4 year old, a wonderful but demanding 9 mo. old, and am pregnant with #3-yes-oh my gosh!! (Oh yes-and a full time job)I not only feel totally physically exhausted every single day but SEX is the very last thing I can even think about fitting in.

I have to force myself to go to bed at 7:30 just to make sure I can get enough sleep to function the next day (my 9mo. old is still waking 4-5x a night!). I think you are totally normal and it is just really tough for ''couple time.'' What I keep telling myself is that 1) I still would like to sleep with my husband 2) to make an honest effort to make sure that this is temporary. I just try to stay connected to him on some level, maybe a ten minute talk after dinner or getting up 10 minutes earlier to have coffee together (maybe even sex!). Don't beat yourself up-it is just a fact that us moms literally get too exhausted and busy. If you still love and desire your husband things can/will gradually change :) anon

who would want to have sex after having a baby less than a year ago + breastfeeding all the time and not sleeping? nobody. take a vacation, and do it then. go out with the girls and get a little tipsy then come home and attack your husband. you need more sleep, when things calm down you will more easily get in the mood. but you have to change your routine so you can get some sleep and downtime (you time). don't worry about your husband, he can take care of himself until things calm down in your world anon guy

I don't have any answers for you but wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I'm in the same situation. I love my husband, but the VERY last thing on my mind right now is sex while it seems the very first thing on his mind IS sex. I feel very guilty but I just don't want to at all. My baby is nearly six months. It was a difficult time pre and post partum. I've dealt with some blues and am still dealing with medical conditions related to the pregnancy. I hate when I read articles for new parents about how critical it is to get back on the hobby horse but I JUST CAN'T. So, I hope to hear some good responses from this. Good luck and I hope you get some sleep anon

Just to put your situation into perspective, I had my 2nd child almost one year ago, and my husband and I have had sex once, yes once, since she was born. We know we will have sex regularly some day soon, but right now we are in survivor mode. Sleep, eat, bathe, a little cuddle now and then. Sex is now a luxury. This too shall pass Anonymous, please

Hi- I have been through similar situation and I know why. I was just too tired. It will get better after you get enough sleep and not worring about baby waking up. HP

You can satisfy your husband, your need for sleep AND your guilt - if you keep an open mind and are willing to be a little adventurous. If you don't already know, find out what gets your husband going outside of intercourse. Talking dirty, hand jobs and oral sex are all great substitutes for straight sex and can be very hot if done well.

Although it goes against stereotype, I think men crave mental and emotional seduction as well as physical - especially men in committed relationships. After going a while without sex, your husband probably feels unattractive and undesirable. In addition, he may feel guilty and selfish for expecting a woman who just had a baby to satisfy his needs. However, touching him throughout the day, sexy notes, quick makeout sessions and some of the other techniques mentioned above can go a long way toward making him feel like a sexual being without requiring a large time investment on your part.

Although you're probably not feeling too desirable or sexy yourself, if you show your husband that you want him so badly, that you're desperate to have sex with him - BUT you're just too tired and overwhelmed, I think 99% of your worries will go away.

In addition, scheduling sex has worked for some couples I know. It sounds very un- romantic, but given your busy situation, sex on the same day/same time once a week or once every other week can help diffuse any tension that builds up between you.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), you need to know yourself, understand what would put you in the mood for sex and then communicate that to your husband. Because he needs to step up as well G

Here's the thing: my son is 3.5, and although my sex drive is more ''back'' than it was, it certainly isn't anything like it was. What I tell my girlfriends is that my desire for sex comes and goes, but is very fleeting. But, here's the thing---although I agree with all the posters who said you have to take care of yourself; I also feel very strongly that also means taking care of your marriage.

So, here's how I convince myself to do it (pretty much only once a week):

I think to myself---this will take, at the most, an hour of my time(including snuggling and talking) a whole week! But, I miss my husband and feeling close to him, but even though I don't often really feel like it, I'm always really happy afterwards. Taking care of my marriage does make me feel better.

If I'm feeling really like I don't want to do it--I think to myself: I wonder how much time I spend in a week feeling bad about not wanting to have sex? Probably as much time as it would take to actually do it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that taking care of my relationship with my husband is a good way to take care of myself, too Just Do It!

Husband lost interest in sex after I became a mom

November 2006

My husband and I have been together for 5 years. I have always had a much stronger sexual desire than he. My husband and I got married last year (August 2005) and despite birth control pills, had gotten pregnant soon after with our daughter, who is now almost 3 months old.

During the pregnancy, I was still very sexual and didn't see my being pregnant as a hindrance to being intimate. My husband, however, had a hard time getting past the fact that there was another being - ''an innocent little child'' - inside of me while we were having sex. He stopped being able to ejaculate within my 1st trimester, and by the 2nd trimester, didn't have any sexual interest in me at all. Having my husband lose sexual interest in me was a huge blow to my ego and my confidence. Not only that, but his need to masturbate and look at pornography increased, which hurt me as well. I even offered to help him orally or manually, but he never came around.

After the baby was born, my husband was ready to go! The 6 week postpartum wait was unbearable for me to know that my husband finally wanted me again. We finally had sex and after all that wait, he still couldn't ejaculate. I was just happy to have sex again, but it was discouraging to think that I was still not pleasing him as much as his own hand could. We tried again within the next few weeks, but still, nothing. Now, he has a hard time even having an erection with me. He says that he hasn't masturbated in a while, but I still find him looking at pornography sites on the internet. He said that he's become lazy when in comes to sex and that masturbation is much easier. He also said (last night even!) ''you're my daughter's mother... you're a mommy. its just so different now''

Its very hard to not get emotional about all of this. Having a baby is very tiring, and at the end of the day I just want my needs to be met as well. When I confront him about it, he says that I don't appreciate him for all that he does (paying for everything since I'm not working, buying me nice things, etc). I really do appreciate him, but I'd rather have the intimacy we used to have instead of nice things. what can I do? Please help sexually frustrated

dear frustrated. i am sure you are not only sexually but also emotionally frustrated. i was once in a long term relationship with a similar dynamic. my partner rarely wanted sex and had difficulty with erections. it was devastating to my self-esteem. i don't have a sure solution for you, but as a starting point you MUST acknowledge: it's not you, it's him!! he may be in denial or embarressed about his difficulty ''performing.'' seek councling as a couple or at least for yourself to deal with this. both of your self'esteems are being injured and that makes it very difficult to open up and love eachother freely. annon

Your husband's comments show a great deal of detachment on his part from the marriage. He has stopped looking at you as his wife. There are many possible reasons for this. The possibilities range from deep depression he is having to psychological issues he (and perhaps you) are having in the marriage. You need to see a marriage therapist to find out what's going on. The good news is that he is making an attempt to show you he cares (outside of sex) which means that deep down he still must love you. With a good counselor, you and him can start working on issues that are holding you back and revitalize the passion that used to be there. Anon

My first question is: how old is your husband? He may be going through a mid-life crisis with a decrease in sexual desire, as my husband did around his mid-forties. We went to therapy together specifically to talk about sex. It seems from your posting that your husband doesn't have any problem with erection, just ejaculation. So actually if you are being satisfied when you DO have sex, that's already better than, say, premature ejaculation, for example. Also, can you have other forms of sex other than intercourse? Can you both get satisfied orally or manually? Sounds like he may be one of those men who feel that his wife and mother to his child is too ''pure and clean'' to have sex because he has his mind linking sex to ''dirty'' (as in pornography). Those issues need to be talked out with a therapist, in my opinion. I've been there, and I recommend it. anonymous member of BPN

This situation, unfortunately, is far too common. I have some very strong opinions that have been formed after having been a therapist for quite some time as well as my own journey in healing. (Just as a reference, I am a man.)

Society accepts men's masterbation as normal and acceptable. I find that most men masterbate to ''check out'' as in a pot addict smoking his joint/cigarette to check out or an alcoholic having his 3rd or 33rd drink of the day to check out.

When a partner in a relationship would rather masterbate (especially to pornographic materials) this is a SIGNIFICANT problem. I am going to get a little ''new-agey'' on this subject to an extent for a moment or 2 here: when a person (your husband) looks at another (person/image/objectifcation) and has sexual fantasy with that image/objectification, ENERGETICALLY, that is the same as being with the other person (the object/image) aka: infidelity. OF COURSE your feelings are hurt.

HERE is the kicker: IF your spouse is a sex addict, and in my opinion he absolutely shows signs of it, then his infidelity has nothing to do with you. and for you to seperate this out will be hard, yet it will be tremendously healing for you. He may feel that there is no problem here. Yet, he is being, at least sexually (i have to assume elsewhere as well) completely unavailable. for, his fantasy images (pornography) have satiated him and he wants no intimacy with you, his wife.

i realize that i am covering a great deal of ground quickly here and hope that i have not led you to any confusion. but i personally and as therapist and as a man see this as a huge and significant problem.

here is some reading for you to do (WHETHER or not your spouse finds his masterbation to fantasy/pornography as a problem) you may also contact me any time. Charlton

How to get back sex life after post-baby celibacy

Feb 2006

I really enjoyed reading the discussion about passion and marriage . I would love to hear more about what sort of relationships people are really having.

I would also like advice about how to re-connect after serial monogomy gone astray...husband to baby who is growing into a fine youngster but how do you get back to husband after several years of celebacy? It seems similar to being single a long time only we still live together? I can not imagine ever letting him see me naked again! No problem with kid seeing me because that has evolved....but the husband wife thing pretty much died in child birth. Lots of mis trust and irritation. Not fundenmental, we are both nice people. But the kind of trust that lets you take a bath with someone is kaput.

I read this column and it keeps me off the therapist's couch, finaly can admit I need some ideas. Stagnated

I think you've touched on a much-hidden, yet very common issue.

My own situation is this: 15 mo daughter, and my husband and I haven't had sex since two weeks before I gave birth. In short, we're celibate. Part of it is that we've just been so tired. Getting the house organized feels like a major accomplishment. Between our two jobs and our finances, daily life feels Sisyphusian enough. And sex? Huh huh. It's enough for us to snuggle, give a peck on the cheek, and then sack out. I feel like I've scored if he gives me a playful grab. Oh, we talk about It. We say we're not Doing It enough. We know we need to Do It. But we don't. I don't know why.

There are probably some psychology PhD candidates who've done research on marital sex lives post baby, but I'll tell you what I think. I think twenty first century American life forces a set of unrealistic expectations on couples with kids: Be happy! Buy lots of stuff! Have great sex! Live an effortlessly clean, fart-free life! Raise a perfect child! Yeah. Right. We are, all of us, on the treadmill, and most of us are too pooped to pork.

I wish I had an answer for you. I'm still friends with my husband, and we laugh a lot, but sex is about as far away as the cry of a lone gull on some foggy shore.

Life is Bird Song and Droppings

I can only relate a little since those periods of ''celibacy'' have lasted only a week or two at a time. But I know what you mean... the resistence is nasty to get past. I found that the best way for me to get past it is to get myself in the mood, really, really in the mood. Ex: I would practice my Kegel exercises several sessions a day (those apparently get the body primed). Since my hormone levels are a bit screwed up, I used both progesterone & estrogen creams (just a little--they're powerful). By the time my husband came home, all I could think about was... well, you know. =) Happily married

You both are screaming for a two week vacation to re-connect. Please, this is the moment to splurge; no money, this is the moment to re-finance and get some cash out, lower your mortgage payments. If saving the marriage is not worth spending money, what is? solid advice

Lesbian mom of 9 month old and touch saturation

June 2005

I saw some advice on the website re: sex after baby, but most of it seemed to relate to straight couples, and I think lesbian couples have some unique issues in this area (can you say ''lesbian bed death''?).

Here's the story. I'm the birth mom of a 9 month old son, our 1st child. I'm still nursing and I'm a stay at home mom right now. I'm writing to ask about what I've heard called ''touch saturation'' -- basically, the concept that I spend so much of my day being touched by, and touching, my baby, that I have no interest in being touched by my partner. It happened again last night: she clearly wanted affection from me, and I was just frozen. It's not just sex; it's that sometimes I really just don't want to be touched at all. It's a little easier if I'm doing the touching -- I like giving her backrubs and snuggling up to her in bed -- but I really am not interested in progressing further. Sometimes every single touch bothers me, no matter whether it's my knee, my arm, or whatever. I guess I just feel invaded or something. We have had sex ONCE since our baby was born. That was after watching a sexy lesbian movie. (Which I suppose gives us a clue).

Prior to baby, we hadn't had a ton of sex for a few years there, but at least we were super affectionate (people used to comment on it), and at least I wanted sex sometimes. Now, I just feel frozen. I am also embarrassed to admit that I don't even really find my partner attractive right now. I just feel like the sexy spark we used to have is missing.

Long-term, I'm thinking it would be good for us to go to a professional who would help us deal with this. Short-term, I'd be interested in any books or any other advice.

Oh, and I guess it goes without saying that I am sleep deprived, don't get enough time to myself or enough exercise (though I try), etc etc. We do try to go on dates every few weeks, but we haven't yet tried the check-into-a-cheap-motel option.

Thanks in advance. anon

I know a therapist who specializes in just these types of lesbian sex/relationship issues. She's very solution oriented and has written books on creating successful lesbian relationships. Her practice is in the Oakland Hills. Her name is Marny Hall and her phone number is 510-530-1490. JPC

I've been there (although in a heterosexual marriage). Your baby is still very young so things will get better. Is it that you just crave time alone so you can remember who you are and get centered? That's what it was for me. It is hard for me to connect with my partner physically when I stay home all the time and never get a chance to feel that I am by myself. Maybe watch more sexy movies!? good luck

Don't worry so much right now about ''lesbian bed death.'' This is a special, intense time of high demands on your body by your young child. My partner, the birth mom who breast fed, had similar feelings. So did I, although less intense, because our little ones clung to me all the time as well. The feelings are the result of being the mom of a physically demanding little one, not the gender of your parnter. Be concerned about LBD if you don't gradually find your body becoming more open to your parnter over time (it can take quite a while), as your child breast feeds less and starts sleeping regularly through the night.

For now, strategize how to meet the physical and emotional needs of your parnter and your own during this intense time. It sounds like you're both trying to do that & if you put your mind to it, you can think of even more ways. Regular date nights. Schedule in sex & don't expect it to be great, just a way to be intimate. Read love poems to each other in the bath. Let her put the babe to bed while you're left alone in the bath, with no one clinging to you or making demands & maybe after that you'll be more open to her touch. Or let her touch your hands, feet, back, areas that aren't so touch saturated. If you're willing to hold her, you can do her once in a while. Contrive, strategize, be patient & just try to keep your love & romance alive. Praise and appreciate each other for being great partners & moms -- any little reason.

Your romance can ultimately return. When you're more rested, you can have a lot of fun rediscovering & reinventing yourselves. lesbo mom

Dear tired mom, I am wondering if ''lesbian bed death'' means the same thing as ''the sexless marriage''? Maybe there are some issues that are unique to lesbian couples, but I think that what you are describing (touch saturation, no spark, being exhausted, etc..) is universal to new parents, gay or straight, and I know I went thru it and am still going thru it with my two kids and my poor husband. We are in therapy now and trying to find out where my libido went (my kids are now way older than 9 mos). If you are breast feeding your libido is inhibited by other hormones your body is producing-- I think what you are going thru is normal, and hopefully you'll regain your sexlife (but it will never be the same as pre-kid!) after more time has passed. Good luck. Anon

Speaking as another lesbian mom, you're totally normal! In fact, speaking as any kind of mom, it's normal. As you noticed, there are a lot of women who wonder if it's common to have lost interest in sex, and the responses suggest it is. Add to that the ''lesbian bed death'' you mentioned, and - well, here you are.

It can really be a lot of work for 2 women to have sex. And when you're exhausted physically and emotionally every day, it's not crazy at all to hope for some time without someone wanting something from you! Sometimes even a touch can subconsciously suggest neediness. I think you're pretty right on with your notion of ''touch saturation''.

On the other hand, sex is like any exercise - it gets ''easier'' [and more fun] if you do it more. It can be difficult to get it going again after a long period without. You're going to have to work at it even when you feel like you don't want to, and I would suggest you use any triggers you want to help get it going. Sexy movies, toys, reading materials, therapy, whatever - use it if you can and you'll eventually find that things get better.

Good luck, and don't be too hard on yourself. -anon

I'm not a lesbian, but I'm a woman and can totally relate. I went through very similar things. To make matters worse, when I did go back to work, I'm a health care provider so I'm always caring for and touching others and having them touch me. When I'm alone with my husband, I often do feel affectionate, but not sexual. I'm worn out! Sometimes I don't even want to be touched. I just need space. The only advice I have is that you are not alone. I think it's normal. I think with time it all gets better. I find sexy movies do help, but only when I'm not exhausted. If I'm too tired I think, ''Oh no, will he want to get intimate after this?'' Talking to my husband helped a bit. Have you tried just explaining things to your partner. Then just know it gets better. As your child gets older and can do more alone, you'll get more rest and you'll really relish those hugs and cuddles from both your partner and your child! anon

I am heterosexual so I can't give you advice on lesbian sex issues, but I can say that I could have written your exact post! (seriously, EVERYTHING you said can and has been said by me, the only difference in our lives being the sex of our partners.) I have a 10 month-old son and my husband and I finally had sex for the first time since the birth last weekend, and it took a lot of wine to get me in the mood! I too feel all touched out and have zero interest in sex (although I have sex in my dreams....never want to do it while awake though). I also don't want affection either, or to be touched usually. I guess I have no advice but can say that you are not alone! I get really scared that my sex drive (or desire for affection) will never return and I'll be this way forever. I am thinking of getting couseling about all this after I wean my son. In the meantime, we are not alone. Sad to say but your post made me feel a little better and that perhaps I am not such a freak after all? I hope knowing that there is a fellow sufferer will help you a little. Good luck, and I can't wait to read other people's posts. Anon

Hi there, I'm not lesbian but I felt that your concerns/problem is a universal one after having a baby. Can you talk to you partner about your feelings (not so much that you don't find her attractive but that you are sleep deprived, hormones are still kicking in, etc.)? Our toddler is now 18 months old and my husband jokes that I turned frigid soon after our baby was born. We have sex often but not as regularly as before; but the important thing is that we talk about it, and I try to get in the mood (because sex is often like exercise - if you don't do it, you start thinking you don't really want/need it!) as often as I can, and he totally understands that night nursing and chasing a toddler all day long gets me dog-tired. Good luck. You are normal. anon

Lesbians may have some unique issues, but everything you wrote fit my experience too. I felt that sex was one more thing I was supposed to do for someone else and I was already drained. Having a baby cling to you all the time more than meets your need for touch, and anything more feels like too much. The only advice I would give, besides to give it time, is 1) to get supportive, non-sexual touch from your partner like hugs, 2) use whatever helps you get in the mood (like movies), and 3) sometimes do it even if you don't feel like it (you might find yourself getting in the mood once you start, and even if you don't it is a nice thing to do for your partner once in a while). I think we get a little too hung up on sex and how it's supposed to be and how we are supposed to feel. You're not always going to want to go to the park or make dinner either, but sometimes you will do those just to make someone else happy. And of course it should go without saying that your partner can help you more to get your needs met for more time for yourself, etc. And remember that your baby won't be a little 24 hr/day cling-on forever. It should get better soon. Good luck!
--formerly touch-saturated mama

Your post sounds so familiar! I am not a lesbian, but very much a woman and went thru the same things you are. I was frustrated that i had no sex drive after only a month(!) post-birth. ( i was previously quite the randy one, ESPECIALLY during pregnancy!). First of all your breasts have been taken over by a little creature who uses them for food ALOT of the time, and there's no way it's going to feel sexy if your partner is groping them. Secondly, I know that I, personally, had a hard time recognizing my body for many months after birth; and not just my body but my new identity as a mother and total provider for another life. That's a lot to swallow all at once!

For me and i would guess alot of other women, sexuality is very tied in to personal identity, and if that's challenged or in transition, it seems sex would just seem foreign and weird. As for the touching, i hear ya there too. If you spend most of your time touching and holding your baby and being nursed from and giving (and giving and giving, happily of course) all day, what's left? Space is golden at that point. When I went back to work and spent more time away from my daughter (she's now 15 months) I did notice that the touching wasn't as annoying. I also cut back on the breast feeding and ended up only breastfeeding on the left side, so the right boob was fair game for my partner while the left was reserved for food. It sounds funny, but it actually was a nice distinction and worked well. And I definitely noticed that with the return of my periods, my sex drive went back up! Getting sleep also makes a huge difference. ( yeah right, who gets sleep anymore?) Also if you can get a babysitter for a whole day so that you and your partner can decompress as well as have some fun together for an extended AWAKE period, that helps too. Nighttime dates are fun, but it's hard to do much when you're beat from the day!

My husband and I still aren't having the sex life we previously had, but we are finding ways to re-invent it and adjust to our crazy new lives. Slowly but surely! GOOD LUCK to you and all the low libido moms out there. :) sometimes gettin laid

Mom of tot feeling sexy, but dad is

August 2003

I have been married for 6 years to a wonderful guy, however, our sex life is suffering. His sex drive has remained strong (and seems to be getting stronger), but mine has diminished greatly. Today he mentioned how it used to be 5 times a week (I reminded him it was during our ''newlywed'' phase), then slowed to 2x a week, then 1x, now once every other week on average (although I disagree w/that last number--it is more often weekly than biweekly). I reminded him that we are now parents (of a 16 month old) and that time is much more limited now. I am starting to get resentful when he brings it up and seemingly seems to say that having a child should not impact our sex life at all. It makes me want to be less intimate, not more. Also, he ordered 4 videos that came yesterday--3 on lovemaking/spicing up your sex life, and 1 on massage. I found myself being angry about them--maybe because he didn't talk to me first about it. I'm honestly not sure, since I'm not a prude and own some x- rated videos myself. I guess what I'm hoping is that someone can offer me some guidance in how to get interested again in sex. BTW, I can't blame it on post-partum anything--my child is adopted.

In addition, I have talked to other friends of small children who seemed somewhat surprised that we were having sex as frequently as once a week as they were not. When I mention that to my husband, he just gets mad and accusatory and we end up arguing. Am I/are we the only ones whose sex life has been impacted since becoming parents--I think not.

Thanks for any helpful information. not feeling sexy

for having a 16 month old you ARE having a lot of sex! Im so sorry your husband is so resentful sounding. He must not have many man friends who are dads. I would highly recomend couples counseling. I hope he is open to this. However I had a similar situation with my husband. I arranged it with my girlfriend (who has kids and whom my husband respects) to start a conversation with me about how tiring it was to raise small children and how she and her husband hardly had any sex for 2 years. All of this was in front of my husband. another of my friends happend to start a similar conversation a couple of weeks later with out my prompting. My husband overheard and became more understanding, having heard it from these other ladies. About the videos: if you don't want them around he should not have them around. It is a matter of his respect for you

Your child may be adopted, but you are still the mother of a small child, and it's exhausting! Add to that the oh-so-frustrating changes that happen in your 40s. I'm in the same place you are--often just plain not interested in sex. My husband is a pretty good sport about it, and compared to others we still have an active sex life. But there are times when I feel like we are playing out that scene in ''Annie Hall'' to the question ''how often do you have sex,'' he answers, ''hardly ever, maybe 3 times a week;'' she answers, ''constantly, probably three times a week.'' There are two things that have helped us. One is that we have talked with a therapist about it. He understand a little better that not wanting sex is not a rejection of him, and he gives me a little more space. And I try to go for it a little more than I might if left to my own impulses. Usually, I am very glad I did. One more comment, I was discussing this with an older friend who has older kids. She said, ''You do know that this is a problem of having very young kids, don't you? Things will definately get better.'' So I am optimistic. been there

Hi, you'll probably get lots of responses agreeing with you because I know many of my friends feel the way you do. However, I have a different perspective. I think sex (fairly frequent) is a necessary and essential part of a loving relationship and it is very very difficult to maintain one without the other.

In my 30s I lost interest in sex with my husband and it turned out to be symptomatic of a larger problem - I was falling out of love with him.

I am older now, remarried (for 5 years) and have two kids with my new husband. I still feel extremely sexually attracted to him and the only impediment to 5x/week for us is finding the time &/or privacy with two wee ones in the house. There is no lack of desire on either of our parts. I hate to sound like Dear Abby, but I really think this is a make-or-break issue, particularly if your husband is unhappy with your frequency, and you should see a counselor to find ways to reconnect with each other. I doubt it's solely about sex drive - there are probably underlying resentments that keep you from wanting to be intimate with your husband, and you really need to talk about these things or they'll only get worse.

(And don't get me started on the 50 - 75% of married men I meet at work who are ''on the make'' because they don't get sex at home.) been there

Please do not argue. People who argue are not sexually attractive. According to you your husband is a wonderful man, and you probably do not want to spoil the relationship. Actually you are lucky - he wants you. You have a young child, and this rather than age probably is the main reason for not wanting sex. I would suggest to try to relax more often, and have a date with your husband at least once a month. Exersize and healthy diet also helps. Another thing I learned: do not discuss such private matters with other women, it can only hurt you. Somehow things are often ''better'' in other families, and comparing usually does not help. have been there

Painful intercourse post-partum

July 2003

I had a relatively easy labor in January. However, my tear did not heal as quickly as was expected. At my 6 week checkup I was not given the go ahead for sex....the tear hadn't completely healed yet. I returned at 9 and was told things were better but not perfect and to proceed with caution! At 12 weeks I was told everything looked fine but I physically couldn't complete intercourse because the pain was too severe. I waited another month, trying intercourse weekly hoping the pain would improve. At this point my desire was there and we are experts at our lube choices etc. but still sex was terrible. At this point I changed to a new OBGYN practice and was told I did have excess scar tissue and was given some estrogen cream. It seemed to help a little but there was still sharp pain deeper inside. The doc has now isolated the pain to be on the left side of my pelvic floor muscle but can't see any damage. She has suggested physical therapy for my pelvic floor muscle which sounds odd at best. I am wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience and if it went away by itself or if some treatment was needed. It seems the rest of my ''mommy'' friends are back to normal sex routines. I have this fear that I have lost my ability to ever enjoy sex again :-( Any advice of specialists to see would also be appreciated. Thanks,
Wanting my sex life back

It was painfull for me to have sex untill I was about 9 months postpartum. many of my mommy friends have had similar experiences. I know women who suffered in this way for two years. You'll have to be creative with your parner. I hope he's understanding ( and good at pleasuring you in other ways.) Sorry honey. anon

I have been there! After the relatively easy birth of my son 4 years ago, I too had a LONG recovery time from my tear My son dropped so quickly that I ended up with a high tear wasn't noticed at first, in addition to an episiotomy. I ended up with several stitches more than a normal episiotomy requires. After 8 weeks of healing I was given the cautious go ahead for sex. It was extremely painful for the first few weeks. I went back to the OBGYN, who told me that, like you, there was a lot of scar tissue and nothing to really worry about. For several months sex was terrible because there was still pain deep inside of me. After several months of ''gentleness'' (for lack of a better phrase- not because we are sex animals or anything!) and some pain- though not enough to actually stop,the pain was completely gone. When I was at my check-up last year I asked the OBGYN about this. She said that the vagina is a very tough muscle and that it builds up the scar tissue to protect itself, etc. etc. She told me to compare it to the first few times I'd ever had sex. It was painful because my body had to adjust to the size of the male organ etc. So, because you have had all this scar tissue built up, it has changed the shape of your vagina, and it has to get used to the size of your husband's penis all over again. So, I'm here to tell you that it gets better, though maybe not as soon as you would wish, and I had completely forgotten about the pain I'd had after my son was born until reading your post. Of course, I never thought I'd be so openly discussing this subject with anyone either! Hope this helps! Sign me as- I Promise It Gets Better!

I had a lot of pain, too. Didn't do much about it for a long time. Eventually used the estrogen cream some and at about a year it went away. Not sure whether it was the cream or just time. Good luck. anon

I don't know if my situation is at all relevant to you or not. I had severe tearing during delivery, but the doctors told me all was well at my six month post partum appointment. However, I found intercourse to be terribly terribly painful until after I stopped breastfeeding. The good news is that after weaning sex was better than ever.

Not sure if this is peculiar to me and my psyche. Good Luck!

I have definitely been in your shoes. I had two internal tears, as well as a 2nd degree external tear. It was the internal pain that I was having a hard time dealing with. I did go for the physical therapy, and the kegels did help a little. But, it think it was the scar tissue that was causing the pain. They even were suggesting surgery for me.

I was in so much pain, and my husband didn't want to hurt me so we just didn't have sex. It was so painful I would cry and we wouldn't finish. I don't want to scare you, I know everyone is different, but my daughter will be two next month, and we've just begun having sucessful sex. No matter what the docs say, I think it just takes time for your body to heal. I was very discouraged when no one I knew had these problems, but finally, my sex drive returned (at least a little more), the pain is less severe, and we're somewhat normal again.

My only advice is I felt using lubrication gave me a false sense that my body was ready for sex. Maybe take it slow (lots and lots of foreplay), try without lubrication (let your body tell you when you are ready), and keep trying. Even if you don't have ''successful'' sex, keep trying as every little bit will help get your body back to normal.

I don't know if this helps, but just know it will get better, and don't be frustrated--others have been there. Good luck to you! Been There

Your situation is not all that uncommon, especially for those with big episitomy scars. With scarring, adhesions can form from the scar to underlying tissues, and it's oftentimes the adhesions that cause pain. Not the scar itself. Ask for a referral to a PT who specializes in pelvic floor problems. As a perinatal exercise specialist, I doubt whether Kegals exercises alone will help your problem. but it is possible that massage and scar mobilization techniques might help alot.

On a personal note, I had a terrible amount of discomfort at the onset of intercourse during sex for almost a year postpartum due to a very large, adhered, episitomy scar. And of course my doctor couldn't see anything wrong. What helped was to take that apsect of sex slowly, like a half inch at a time. Gradually my tissues would expand, and then with more lubrication, go an inch further, ect, until my vagina and pelvic floor were gently stretched out. No pain, just pleasure, after that.

Hope that works for you too.

I could have written your post. Post partum sex was dreadfully painful. For nine months I managed to completely avoid intercourse (I can say with confidence that my husband's BJ fantasies have been satiated for the time being).

Suddenly at 9-1/2 months sex was good again. I think that this timing was a combo of healing and a return to more normal estrogen levels (my baby started to self wean and my period showed up shortly there after).

I hope things happen more quickly for you, but if they don't know you're not the only one. anon

Haven't had sex since baby arrived, she's one now

June 2002

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how to get the sparks going after the baby arrives. Our child is now 12 months old, and we haven't had sex even once since our baby arrived.

I think we both want to be intimate (we even joke a bit about how we want to have sex), but just don't know how to get started, especially when we're so exhausted with just the day-to- day stuff (he's studying, both of us are working, etc).

If anyone has experienced and overcome this situation, I'd really like to hear from you. Thanks. --anonymous

Make dates for sex. Get a babysitter and disappear at 7:00 pm into your room with wine, candles, and massage oil. Or go away for a night if you can. You can get the spark back, but only with some effort at first. Just as when you are having a lot of sex you want to do it more, when you are not having any, it seems far away and easy to skip because you;'re so tired. But it is very important to your relationship, so some sexy things to get your mind working in a sexy way. Read a sexy book or rent a steamy movie. Whatever sounds fun. Good luck. anonymous

Still having difficulty having sex after 5 months

Dec 2001

Eek, I'm hoping someone out there has some advice for me on a delicate topic... It is now 5 months postpartum, and we're still having difficulty having sex--it's just way, way too painful for my husband to enter me. I had a cesarean, so the issue is not tearing or an episiotomy (I didn't even have any real labor). Things seem verrrrrry dry, and we're using a ton of astroglide when we make our attempts at intercourse, but it's not helping. Things also seem strangely tight, like I shrank or something... My husband has been very patient and kind, but I am very frustrated, and it's gotten to the point where I almost don't want to try anymore because I'm afraid of the lack of results and the pain. I don't want to ever see my prenatal care provider again (communication between us became very bad at the end of my pregnancy, and I just don't trust her anymore). I do have a wonderful nurse practitioner that I see for other medical stuff, and she is aware of the situation. She wants to refer me out to a an ob/gyn. I'm almost ready to do that, but I wanted to check here and see if anyone has any advice or has experienced something similar. I'm nursing, and I'm pretty sure that my lactation hormones are causing this. (FYI, my baby nurses very frequently and hasn't had any solids yet.)

I've had two kids and each time my libido resurfaced after I started menstruating again (9.5 and 10.5 months, respectively). Like you, it was due to lactation. Not only was I not very interested in sex, but it was uncomfortable, no matter how much astroglide we glopped on. Now our sex life is great and we don't even need to use lube anymore (too much information?)! This is the natural life cycle of things. Hang in there!

Here's what worked for us: try to not to worry about it and make an effort to spend some quality time together- hugging and snuggling will be enough. Have somebody else take care of the baby and have a couple of hours just for you too. This will help both of you too to relax. Once you have learned to be together again, have a ton of oral sex! Make it fun. The rest will come by itself. And when you get the urge to have sex - do it! No matter what time of the day or how many things you still have to get done.

For me, things got even better after I stopped breastfeeding. So our hormones are probably the cause of all this.

Good luck and have fun!

There are many women who feel the way you do! And you're right, it's hard to talk about. I had the same problem and spoke with my doctor about it, but she couldn't find anything wrong. For me, it took about a year for sex to be comfortable, and didn't feel completely normal until I weaned my child at about 14 months. Another woman I know had trouble for 7 or 8 months. There may definitely be a tie-in to nursing and hormones, but to this day I feel that there may have been more to it. I know, it seems with a C-section you wouldn't have that kind of trouble, but I had a C-section as well. I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone. Good luck!

This is in response to the mom who was having problems with intercourse post-partum. I had the same problem for awhile after the birth of my first child. I recomment lots of fore-play and relaxation. Have your partner use his fingers to massage you inside and out with lubrication. As you try intercourse, relax as your partner very gradually enters. Take time to pause, relax, and move a little further. Try not to rush. Try kegels during penetration, where you squeeze the vaginal muscles and relax them as you try penetration. It can help relax things even more.

You also may want to talk about any fears or stresses that you may be having. Are there concerns about getting pregnant too soon again? Do you have birth control that you feel comfortable and confident about? Are you getting enough privacy so that you can really relax during your love-making?

I wish you the best!

I haven't given birth (yet), but I experienced painful sex for many years. In my case, it was mostly psychological. It became better once I learned to relax. What helped me was smoking pot prior to sex. Not only did it make me interested in sex, but also relaxed me and calmed the pain. If you're not adverse to drugs, you may want to try it. You can also try having anal and/or oral sex for a while, at least that should help you relieve the pressure/guilt about not being there sexually for your husband.

You will probably get many responses to this oh-so-important topic, but I feel compelled to write because I could have written your message 9 months ago when my son was 5 months old. I, too, had a c-section and an avid, on-demand nursing baby. I wanted and craved sex with my husband, but my body just wasn't ready for a long time. I think my son was 8 months old before we had what I'd call real sex. I thought that I might be able to have sex sooner due to the c-section, but my body acted just like yours. My advice, however, is not just wait it out, but that is a huge part of it. Believe me, other new moms aren't getting more sex than you either. I think you are correct in associating your difficulties with the raging hormones (and also lack of sleep). You just can't get fully aroused physically. I remember being frustrated and for awhile obsessed with sex, but my body wouldn't cooperate. At first once your body is is a bit more ready, you'll need 10x the pre-baby foreplay in order to be as excited as possible before penetration. Still, our early love-making attempts ended in my tears. Crying is a good thing post-partum! My husband was very supportive and patient. He told me almost every day that I was beautiful and sexy, and we found ways to keep connected and maintain intimacy during those stressful months when our baby was small. Having a baby messes with our identities in many ways, and I didn't want to lose my sexuality. Rest assured, it returns! I think our sex-life is better than ever probably because it is so precious and loving now. (Our babe sleeps in our bed, so now the challenge is where and when) Get as much rest as you can. At 5 months I thought I no longer needed naps -- I still need naps sometimes and my guy is 14 months old! You have a 24 hour job right now, and night-time can be really difficult. My husband napped with me occasionally on weekend afternoons and we would wake up and fool around and a few months later have real sex. Other suggestions were showers together, massages, etc. Do what you can to connect physically with your partner, and talk about it (or have him read this message thread!) I think all nursing mothers are beautiful and sensuous. Enjoy your body and your partner's companionship and love. Sex will return, and it will be good.

I also had very low sexual desire and painful intercourse post partum, while I was nursing both my children. I ended going for a consultation with Elizabeth Davis (midwife) who advised that I perform perineal massage with evening primrose oil. It worked like a charm! Good luck!

Wow, do I know what you're talking about. I'm 9 months postpartum from a c-section. I didn't even try sex until 3 or 4 months postpartum, and --- hated it. Tried it a few times again just to be a good sport, and --- problem got worse. Copious applications of Astroglide did no good at all. You haven't seen an ob/gyn yet? My advice: see an ob/gyn ASAP before the psychological ramifications of this problem keep making it worse. I waited too long to see mine (6 months) and had to go back a couple times to rule a few things out. One, I had an infection so had to take antibiotics. Turns out that wasn't the source of the problem, so I took some sort of topical thing like what you'd do for a yeast infection. Didn't improve. Then I went on Estrace (topical estrogen creme, inserted vaginally). This helped a LOT. I know some people wouldn't take this because it's estrogen, and what if it interferes with breastfeeding, etc. The package instructions got me a little skeptical. Do your research to find out about it and see if you're ok with it. For me personally, it has helped. I found that the psychological issues attached to feeling 'frigid' were scary and depressing. I am glad I found a treatment that helps me. Is sex as good as it was before? No. Is orgasm easy or even achievable? Not yet. But sex-as-communication, as an expression of love and affection, is back in my relationship and not painful and I am grateful.

I would love to hear from others on this topic. I, too, was amazed and kind of angry that a c-section (which I thought left me 'intact') would so curtail my sex life. What have other people experienced?

Follow your nurse-pratitioner's advice. The right OB-gyn can make all the difference. I experienced it as well and I also nursed, but I had an imbalance for a few months that was causing it. In my case, it was just a matter of putting me back on those prenatal vitamins which helped a bunch, that and my husband's patience.

This isn't very encouraging, I know, but just thought I'd let you know that our post partum sex life didn't get good until our child weaned at about 2.25 years! Wow, what a positive difference after that. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but I've talked with enough friends to know it's not uncommon either.

I've had exactly the same problem. I worried about it for a while on my own and then finally went to see the nurse practitioner at my o.b.'s. She said it is a fairly common occurrence for some post-partum women, which has to do with lack of estrogen. Basically, the external cells in your vagina slough off, leaving the much more sensitive skin underneath exposed. She prescribed Premarin estrogen cream, which she said would only take about 1-2 weeks to work. I must confess that I haven't used it yet because I didn't want it to affect my breast milk, but a friend who's a nurse practitioner just told me that it is likely to have no effect at all, and if it does I can reverse it by stopping the cream, so I'm about to start using it. My baby is older, though. If you went this route, you might want to wait until 6 months post-partum-that is when both nurse practitioners told me the milk supply is established enough that the estrogen will likely not affect it. I also did an informal survey of my friends with older babies/kids, and those who have had similar issues said that once they stopped nursing at night their bodies and hormones regained more of a regular balance. Another suggestion: oral sex! Good luck, Anonymous

I had the very same feeling, along with dryness. My midwife explained that she could see if a woman was breastfeeding just by looking at her vaginal tissue; it's very fragile and inelastic under those hormonal conditions. She and I determined it was really just my hymenal ring which felt tight and hurt no matter what. She prescribed zylocaine gel (a topical anesthetic) That helped a little. It felt strange to try to deaden sensation to enjoy sex, although of course the hymenal ring (i.e. most outter ring of vagina) is not a major pleasure center. It helped to reduce the pain, and it helped to feel like we were doing something about the miserable sex. For me, the pain persisted throughout breast feeding, although it did steadily decrease as breastfeeding decreased. Good luck. Anon.

And now a few words from the other side of the equation....

Your experience pretty much echoes what happened to our sex life after our son was born. My partner's libido pretty much got up and went. The boy is 3-1/2 now, long since weaned, and her libido may still not have returned, for we've been divorced for 9 months now, and I haven't been privy to that sort of information for longer than that.

Many other factors were responsible, but in spite of my patience, my expectation that this would happen, and my willingness to work with this issue, it was certainly a factor in the slow moving car crash our marriage became.

I say this not to put fear in your heart - that would only make matters worse. My intention is to recognize, and acknowledge this as a problem many face, and to encourage you to FACE IT. You've already started by naming it, to us. I hope you're in a comparable dialog with your partner. Ignoring it won't work...for either of you. And when the pleasure bond is shot, you can put a fork in your marriage, 'cause it's DONE.

And guess what - men have similar issues. 90 % of all men have at least one instance of sexual dysfunction before they're 40! I can't tell you how tremendously reassuring that Factoid was when about 6 months ago, MY libido took a vacation, for no apparent reason (I'm not nursing, and the male Usual Suspects - diabetes, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, clinical depression - have been ruled out). As we age, our sexual response changes, but not necessarily for the worse. I'm lucky that I have understanding partners, who actually APPRECIATE my somewhat tardy response these days. But it took some research, some meditation, some thought, and some time before I could, ahem, come to grips with my changing body.

I suggest you get calm, get ready, get a babysitter, and get busy; the rewards are manifold.

No Interest in Sex after Weaning

August 1999

Promptly after weaning my second child (at 18 mo's) my interest in sex, which had been going great, disappeared. I felt various bodily shifts occurring, thought there must be hormone changes afoot, and hoped the sex would resume after an adjustment period. At the same time I became mildly depressed, related mostly to the isolation of being home with my kids a great deal. (Perhaps the Lactin or other nursing hormones had been shielding me from latent depression?)

Now many months out, I continue to have almost no interest in sex whatsoever. My partner and I miss it, and of course, are feeling growing tension over this change. Otherwise we're getting along and not facing any new big issues.

I saw my internist, who tested thyroid levels and prescribed an antidepressant. I'm now on the lowest dose of Prozac, feeling better, and still sexually in outer space. (The prozac has the side effect of making me unable to orgasm -a common side effect- which is just making our infrequent love-making all the more tense.)

I'm at a loss here. Can anyone suggest what to try next? Sex therapist recommendations? Aphrodesiacs? Anything? Thanks!

My partner and I have experienced a gulf in our levels of desire for nearly the entirety of our marriage (9 years). In fact, my pregnancy 3 years ago resulted because I chose to go off the pill (we tried the cervical cap, which, needless to say, didn't work for us!). I had heard that the hormonal changes of the pill can result in a reduced level of oxytocin, which is one of the hormones involved in orgasm, and also in making you feel generally well. A lack of this hormone can make you feel deparessed. Oxytocin is--not coincidentally--released when you are lactating as well. You didn't say whether you are on the pill or not, but you might consider dropping it if you are.

About 4 years ago I was also on Prozac (I stopped when I learned of my pregnancy). I found that, while it did help my mood a great deal, it did also interfere with orgasm. The good news was that my body apparently got used to it after a while, and I was able to orgasm again after a few months. So this effect may eventually go away for you. The bad news about Prozac for me was that it caused me to be relaxed about a lot of things -- I was so relaxed about food that I gained about 20 lbs that year, which, to date, I have not been able to lose. On the other hand, I'm still nursing and I'm reluctant to try anything drastic, and have only recently managed to add in a few minutes of excercise each day. But it's something to be aware of.

You didn't say whether you had tried St. John's Wort. Many people swear by it as a natural alternative to Prozac. I think it probably has less dramatic effects on the body, which could be good over the long haul. On the other hand, the effects might not be strong enough to counter the depression you are in. It might be something to try if you decide to quit the Prozac.

My partner and I have also had a great deal of success working with a couple who offer private tantric-based sexual coaching. This is not sex therapy per se (they emphasize that it's to make a good situation better), but it had very positive results for us. The piece of information they offered that we found most useful was actually not a sex tool at all, but a relationship tool--something that they call acknowledgements and withholds. In addition to being the first thing they teach you in their private coaching sessions, this technique is also described in the book _The_Enchantment_of_Opposites_. It's written by Patricia Taylor, the female coach. It's available on for $13.56, and I think it's an extremely worthwhile read for anyone who wants to strengthen their relationships. Here's what Amazon says:

Book Description
This book lays out a clear, step-by-step program for creating and sustaining enchanted man-woman relationships. The book explores seven games of relationship, starting with the Self Game, and proceeding through stages of growth in partners' ability to enhance relating.

From the Publisher
Ms. Taylor's first book has been compared favorably to the Mars/ Venus series, but with a message more relevant for our gender-role-conscious era. She is President of the Enchantment Center in Oakland, California, which offers courses and private sessions on Enchanted Relating.

Anyhow, you might want to check out the book, and then decide if you want to pursue further study with them. Their personal coaching is not for everyone (they are very new age), but the book is written to appeal to a much broader audience.

I wish you all the best of luck. It's a very difficult problem, and results in all sorts of negative spirals that are hard to overcome. Good luck.