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Dec 10 2012

Sex After Baby: Myths vs. Facts

By at 12:52 pm

do not disturb sign on doorI wrote a comment on a Kveller link saying, partially in jest, that infants are “love-killlers”–and proceeded to get killed, myself.

Out came the sanctimony. “Jordana, what an awful thing to say,” one person wrote in response. “Love dies after kids because you let it…. or because the love wasn’t there in the first place.”  “XXX, I’m with you!,” another commenter chimed in. “If infants are ‘love-killers’, then the parents were never in love; they had fallen ‘in lust’!”

“Umm Jordana….I don’t know about you but I love my husband more than I ever did since we had our children,” another chimed in.

O…M…G. Ladies, listen up. Yes, I still love my awesome husband who could kick all your husband’s tushes with his awesomeness, and yes, “more than I ever did since we had our children.” (Although I will say that I know from previous marital experience that if you have problems in your marital relationship, having children will exacerbate the hell out of them rather than act as some sort of cure.) But let’s talk tachlis (details): with a newborn, love just doesn’t necessarily translate into getting laid. And that, my friends, sucks.

I love my husband. I love sex with my husband. But if I may, let me give you a glimpse into my morning. It officially starts when the new baby, O, cries around 4 or 4:30 in the morning. I feed her. She gets changed and cuddled. She falls back asleep. But then, just as I’m starting to get into the shower, I hear someone doing an imitation of Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle down the hall. That’s the “old” baby, Baby G. I go into her room and get her dressed, then try to get her to be quiet as we go downstairs for breakfast so as to not wake up O. I sit G down and make her breakfast. I make breakfast for my two older boys, as well as lunches and snacks. I read a book to G. I check over homework. I resolve one fight about who gets to borrow the iPad, one fight about what they can do on the iPad, and one flurry of tears over a missing library book. I change two more diapers. Then someone else needs a permission slip signed. Then I look at my watch and realize we should have left for school five minutes ago.

That’s all before 8:30 a.m.

I’m not complaining–this is what I signed up for. But you can see where, by the time 10 p.m. rolls around, you’re not exactly rushing to turn on the Barry White and get the corset and garters out of the bottom drawer. In fact, your back probably aches so much from lifting and loading a 25 lb and 10 lb kid that you are probably going to decide you’re too tired even to look for your vibrator.

And surely there is no need to mention the revolving door of day-night-day in newborn life that comes with the wakeups, the crying, the feedings, the endless fruitless burping (GODDAMNIT, BURP!), the pajama-changing poopfests, etc.

I’m sorry…does all that sound not so sexy to you? Me neither.

Kveller rogue commenters aside, I’m going to speculate that most parents of newborns are probably not having sex. And if you like sex, it’s something that you miss.

I’m not really comfortable talking about all this in such a public forum, but I think we do a disservice to each other and ourselves if we don’t talk about it out loud. All this backbenching of the discussion of sexuality is dangerous, and plays into two myths I’d like to see busted.

The first myth is that when we have kids, we women somehow suddenly become safe and asexual–figures of love instead of lust, and that that’s okay, because you’re just making an adjustment to your new life. Well, I think that’s pretty crappy. I want to be both.

But of course, the second myth is that six weeks after birth–at the latest!–we will somehow “bounce back” into our prior bodies and sex lives and IMMEDIATELY be the “both” I reference above. This myth is fed by US Weekly and other publications that show celebrities like Beyonce going to concerts looking exactly the same–if not better!–a month and a half after giving birth. And, I hate to say it, but it’s also fed by people who say things like, “If infants are ‘love-killers,’ then the parents were never in love; they had fallen ‘in lust’!”

Comments like these denigrate someone who is clearly speaking out of a place of discontent. As fellow parents, and “been there done thats,” it’s incumbent on us to help other people through empathy and understanding rather than judgment.

Yes, the nature of your relationship with your partner will change, especially in the first few months after a baby. And to not acknowledge that is just as bad as Amy Deutsch’s lies about how hard it is to parent a second child. (Oh, Amy, I’m just teasing. But you know what I’m saying.)

“Don’t worry–this too shall pass, but only if you make it pass,” would have been how someone should have responded to my ‘infants are love-killers’ bait. “You’re exhausted and spent, but try to make time for each other and make an effort to be intimate. It’s important and will make you feel much happier generally. You can ‘do it’!”

Oh, yeah, baby.


Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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