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So I’m supposed to have sex now, eh?

I had my six week check up last week (at seven weeks), and was asked what method of birth control I plan on using. I think abstinence is going to work just fine for us. For a number of reasons. Unlike many new mothers, I’m not healing from any ravages of the birth canal, and yet when my OB checked my cervix, it felt a lot like making sweet love to a red hot poker covered with knives. And of course my lack of interest in the whole enterprise is quite profound. And then there are some logistical issues. So maybe some of you can report on your experiences and at least help with the latter?

For example, I’ve heard that my breasts might leak when I become sexually aroused. While I don’t expect to ever become sexually aroused again in my life, I’m wondering precisely what we’re talking about here. A little dripping? A geyser of milk? And how do you handle this, exactly? Do you have a frank discussion with your partner at some point prior to engaging? And how do partners tend to feel about the whole MILK thing? Does it gross them out? And then there’s the fact that nipple simulation tends to be pretty integral to me having an orgasm, but my nipples are still quite tender, and I’m not sure I want them used for recreational purposes. So maybe I should just keep some clothes on, to avoid the whole issue? Perhaps a ratty old t-shirt, all covered with spit-up?

Then there’s the question of where and when. We’ve always tended to have sex at night in our bed, but there’s now another occupant. Do we stash her in her crib and try to ignore her? Isn’t she guaranteed to wake up and start shrieking the moment we get started? And while I have lots of experience with joyless timed intercourse under pressure, I never got particularly good at it. And now, the whole idea of going from 0 to 60 in thirty seconds, knowing a baby might start fussing at any moment… How am I supposed to keep my head in the game?

And finally, will my sex drive (poor beaten-up old thing) revive before my husband loses patience? Does he even want to be getting laid right now? (I mean, obviously I should ask HIM, but I though perhaps some of you were pleasantly surprised to discover your partner wasn’t even interested when you got around to broaching the subject.) And if your partner isn’t interested, is it because you’re a saggy old milkbag?

I will certainly talk about all of this with my husband, but if you have any thoughts, do share. And if you don’t want to share with the whole internet, you can e-mail me at lampreychildATgmailDOTcom.

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. cgd #

    I wish I had advice for you. It is interesting how first our sex lives get hijacked by IF and then (hopefully) by a newborn and the recovery of from child birth. Wondering when we will all get to have sex like normal people again??? I am keeping this is a secret from my husband, I think he is hoping that things get back on track after we are done with ART. Sending love to you always.

    June 30, 2011
  2. I still don't know that my libido has returned. I think it sends little postcards every now and then, but generally remains far, far away. It took 3 months for us to have our first post-baby sex. This time of year is filled with big dates for us (N's birthday, our wedding anniversary, etc.) so I've had to do a little cursory trotting out of my shy, busted vag. Sigh. For me, the boobs are off the table. This has less to do with tenderness and everything to do with the face that les boobees are for FEEDIN' MAH BEHBEH. They just don't feel sexual at all, and that's sort of sad because I'm like you in the Tits Are Critical department of adult relations. I have tended to leave a bra on. We co-sleep, too, so as far as the Where goes, we will either put Arlo down in his crib for the first stretch of the night and conduct ourselves then (sometimes, yes, with interruption) OR we'll just use our guest room, which is actually kind of nice change in scenery, really. I've read in books and on other boards where parents share sleep that babies are so little right now that they have no idea that you're knocking the boots right next to them, but I just can't do that. I can't relax. I feel like I'm still in mom mode if he's still in the room. It's hard. N has pointedly told me (in gentle, non-demanding terms and tones) that he's a man and he needs to have sex. He's really "endured" a drought of good sex, what with all the IF and timed sex and now the postpartum issues. He still yearns for the days of yore when most couples go at it like crazy, will do it anywhere, and generally just behave like junkies for each other. It's a tough standard to live up to, even if it is our old standard. And I hate to break it to him, but we'll probably never be there again… It can be a challenge, but be brave. 🙂

    June 30, 2011
  3. You already know about baby radar. Then there's the wanting sleep ten thousand times more than wanting sex. And the dryness. And the discomfort that can border on pain. Oh, and the fact that boobs are completely off limits, one, for the leaking, and two, cause it just seems weird. And worst of all, the sudden, unwanted thoughts of sweet baby at the most inopportune time. Eight months later our sex life is existent, though not earth shattering. My advice is to keep your bra on and try first thing in the morning when you're rested (ha!) and baby's still sleeping. Good luck!

    June 30, 2011
  4. Ummmm yeah, I wore a bra to deal with the milk leakage the ONE time we had sex, the baby is almost 5 months old now. Have talked with the husband about it and his libido pretty much in the tolite as well. So wow my house is super fun!

    June 30, 2011
  5. I'm commenting here from the perspective of the partner of a recently pregnant person, so I'll only respond to your very last two questions. Am I interested? Yes, but also totally exhausted, so that's kind of a toss up. Am I not approaching my wife because she's a saggy old milk bag? No, rather that I'm afraid of thoughtlessly tromping into sensitive emotional territory. For the record, we also waited about 3 months, and contrary to our fears the baby did NOT wake up. Also, I don't find milk leaking gross at all, but then, I'm a woman, don't know what the men out there would say.

    June 30, 2011
  6. AL #

    I just had my 6 week appointment yesterday and oh, I feel this too. I'm mostly completely uninterested and too exhausted for such things but feel like I should do it. For my husband. It's so weird feeling nervous and awkward about sex after 5 yrs of marriage. Good luck, Bunny.

    June 30, 2011
  7. HA HA HA HA. I'll let you know when my libido returns. So far, it's been gone for three years. It visits for about ten-minute intervals, when I usually think "MMM, sex… no, wait, I think I'll lay down and have a cup of herbal tea instead." Never leaked milk, spouse definitely was always very interested (though he did turn me down a couple times due to fatigue), nipples were off-limits pretty much the whole time I was breastfeeding.For me, it wasn't the fatigue so much as the NOBODY TOUCH ME THE BABY NOMS ME ALL THE TIME OH GOD I JUST WANT THREE HOURS ALL ALONE WITH A BOOK. Of course, now I've conditioned my poor spouse to almost never ask, because the rejection rate is so high.

    June 30, 2011
  8. Oh, dude… this is one of my big worries in life right now and I haven't even had the damn baby yet.I don't remember the last time we had sex. Maybe 2-3 months ago? I am constantly worrying that C's missing sex and yet he doesn't bring it up and it doesn't seem to be bothering him. I have no idea where my libido went since becoming pregnant. I'm not worried about harming the baby or anything. I'm just NOT feeling it. I worry that, if we don't do it more often, we're going to lose all ability to see each other THAT way again. So much to wonder/worry about during pregnancy and after… Good luck!

    June 30, 2011
  9. N #

    I'm not really interested currently, boobs are off limits, it will come back eventually. Put baby in crib and hope for best. 🙂

    June 30, 2011
  10. JB #

    Libido has sort-of returned (and here we are at 9 months), boobs are a sore subject (for realz), I wish nipples weren't off limits but they mostly are, sexytime causes milk letdown (but I've never leaked), and usually sleep is just more enticing than sex. It just The Way Things Are Now.I would suggest what several others have: baby in the crib for part of the night or for a nap, and turn off monitors and such (we do that because his room is next door to ours and we can hear him anyway). He does seem to have a BootKnockRadar (TM) but we've had the best success, if you will, early in the morning when he's still sound asleep or perhaps has just nursed for a while and gone back to sleep.I feel like, for me at least, this will be much easier once I'm not nursing anymore and the boobs are back in play AND once Jackson is reliably sleeping through the night. I have no idea when this will be. Maybe by the time he's in college.(And, to gauge my comments accordingly, I believe we've had sexytime relations about 4-5 times since Jackson was born. Yep, 4-5 times in about 7.5 months. So far, no threats of divorce or pouting.)

    June 30, 2011
  11. Since our 2 rounds of IVF in '05-'06-neither ending in a baby-but we did adopt, I've had zero sex drive. Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that my kid is a boy-and that I often have to help him wipe after #2, I'd really rather never see another penis again in my life. That is the absolute truth. I think it's the IVF meds and dealing with the whole IF factor itself that does it to you. My body has never been the same since. I've held out hope for over 6 years now-but nothing, zip, nada. Back before I jacked with my hormones, sex used to be amazing. I'm 'debbie downer' when it comes to this subject–sorry (my dh is more sorry than I am…bless his heart)

    June 30, 2011
  12. The big estrogen flood associated with nursing gives me the same blunted libido I remember from my years on the pill. So I'm hopeful about getting my mojo back later. Though it seems like many of my favorite nerve endings are MIA post-delivery. :-(But anyway, we've made something of a project of rebuilding our sex life starting from like, second base. And it's been really, really fun.

    July 1, 2011
  13. With my son, my libido was definitely back in force by the end of his first year–but I gave up breastfeeding at six months and he slept through the night early. Sex was painful and required lots of lube until around four months.With my daughter, I'm breastfeeding more, sleeping less and am struggling with depression so things are going a lot worse.In both cases though, I've tried to keep up the sex life. For me, the intimacy with my husband helps me re-connect with the non-mother side of me, and since I'm a SAHM, that's something I do feel I need… even if sex is the last thing I feel like.Can't vouch for other women's husbands, but mine was never turned off either by my postpartum state or by exhaustion. He was quite clear that his preference was for the sex to remain regular, if I didn't mind. For me, sex ends up being another thing on the to-do list, and I can't always reach orgasm due to wacky hormones, but I do still feel it's worthwhile.Logistics wise, I keep a bra on and we do it in the guest room.

    July 1, 2011
  14. XH and I had a crack at it soon after (6 weeks or so) but the c-section incision was too hurty, so we left it for a while. Then he got ill and couldn't and we ended up not trying again til the Little Guy was 5 months old. By which time my libido had returned with a vengeance and everything was a-ok. I fed tLG til he was 20 months old and never had any problemos with boobehs and se.xytime, but I'm not much of a boobeh lady anyway, so I can't help with that. I do know XH was never grossed out by milk though.We're all different, remember that, and also remember that your darling may be delighted with a bj or some hand action as anything else! And same (in reverse for you) 😉

    July 1, 2011
  15. Infertility sex is crazy hott, as you well know. I think that there is more pressure to do this than to do the things that lead up to sex. Stress is a mind killer. That dune dude stole that from my eternal being before I was born. One tidbit I feel that my barren self can impart is the concept of date night. Once you get into the world where you can leave the bun in the care of another for an hour or three, I think the usual bun vs. bun banter will lead to it's sexy end. But, pushing it prior to being ready to resume seems like a bad idea. Pace yourself tiger.

    July 1, 2011
  16. Gently does it, I would tentatively suggest. No need to race toward the finish line if you catch my drift. And I think you do.

    July 1, 2011
  17. Obviously, I wasn't pregnant, so I'm not dealing with recovery from birth and all that, but the nursing does tend to kill the sex drive. My poor husband wants sex a LOT more than I do, and we've managed to average about once a week to every two weeks since little I. came home, which I think is pretty good considering. We generally sneak into the guest room, but the baby still has sexytime radar and will 75% of the time start fussing as soon as we're right in the middle of things.I have to admit, for the first few weeks I couldn't stop thinking about the baby nonstop, so it was really hard to get in the mood, period. I don't really have the problem with leaking, since my milk doesn't act the same as a woman who gave birth, but I still feel like the boobs pretty much belong to I. right now and I'm not really interested in them being "involved" in sexytime.

    July 1, 2011
  18. M #

    First, I'm with anonymous: I felt like se.x was important, even though, for the first year, it sucked.Second, boobs: off limits, and even at fifteen months post-baby, they're just barely (and, given my post-breast-feeding cup size, I do mean barely) back in the sack. For me, it was both a mental and a physical issue. Also, my sensitivity was beyond the beyond–anything/everything triggered a letdown, and while my husband probably would have loved that scenario, it wasn't for me. I wore a bra.Third: for me, se.x was totally a pain in the v. for the first year. This is due to breast feeding, I know, but I really was surprised that I was not only not into it, but that even when I did it anyway (which I did pretty regularly), it would feel burny- terrible. Now, though, now. There has been a huge (HUGE) difference (both in my libido and the physical stuff).Good luck. The first time was for me the absolute worst (although also sort of virginy hilarious). It didn't get better and better, but now it's pretty great.

    July 2, 2011
  19. Oddly enough, my husband is not all that interested in having sex even now (and as we're still trying for a baby the old-fashioned way, this is not exactly helpful — there might be a connection though) but he did mention the milk thing once and seemed to find it interesting, in a positive way. While I rather have my boobs untouched (they are very sensitive, already… you kind of scare me with the stories of this getting even more intense). Which is a long way of saying that I don't have any advice for you, but I understand the issue (in as much as an infertile can). BTW, your new header is adorable!

    July 4, 2011
  20. I have never EVER leaked…I must be a freak of nature…but I do understand the hesitation and lack of interested in se.x postpartum. It still kind of feels like a favor to the hubs, but I know it keeps us close and for that it's worth the discomfort and less sleep 🙂

    July 4, 2011
  21. I have plenty of experience with this. At first I was a no way are we having sex with the baby beside us. Then later it was no way are we having sex without a pillow between us and the baby (king size bed).I only have libido when it has been awhile, whereas the hubby seems to have it when it has been a few days or so. I find it is worth while to let him have his fun so that he is in better mood rest of the time. Once the action starts though, I always seem to enjoy it enough.Hubby found breast stimulation was especially more likely to trigger let-down. It basically means he gets less wet when he is on top and you are on the bottom. When it was the other way he did get wet a few times but if we timed it right both orgasms were out of the way and he didn't mind a little milk bath and we both ended up laughing. We did keep a towel handy though in case the timing wasn't as perfect.I am surprised your husband waited 6 weeks. Not mine. Result was a few urinary infections. 6 weeks is really good idea! You can use lubricant to help with the dryness. It is dry for first 6 months or so I should say. I nursed forever–18-24 months for all four kids, and I only remember the dryness for the beginning. We always made sure at least he had some natural lubrication going. I have to post anonymous as this is not what i usually post about on my blog!

    July 4, 2011
  22. Sex? Libido? What are these words you speak of, oh fair one? I do not understand. I am sorry not to have anything to add, but it seems like many of your readers thankfully put in their 2 cents.

    July 6, 2011
  23. I think I would laugh in his face if he went for the boobs.These monsters have only had the lips of Toddlerina since 2009.Damn shame.

    July 7, 2011
  24. Boobs are off limits. I leak like craaaaazaaaaay and it's just…no.Don't hate me for saying this, and I know I am def in the minority, but my libido returned pretty quickly after birth to the point we were counting down til I was cleared to have sex. Maybe it was all of those weeks of bedrest when we couldn't do the deed + postpartum no sex for 6 weeks rules = we can finally be close again! But yeah, to state the obvious, I TOTALLY prefer sleep. If you do go for it, slow, gentle and lube are the way to go. I don't know how many stitches I had (the doc wouldn't tell me), but it took til about 12 weeks pp to feel comfortable during sex. xoxo

    July 9, 2011
  25. EBC #

    while i can't say i'm excited to read this, it at least helps set my expectations. i've been on total pelvic rest since 12 weeks (ok, that was only 3 weeks ago…just not at all what i expected), so we will be looking at about nine months of absolutely nothing should this kid get here okay at we try at the 3 mo point. oh my. at least this helps me to realize that my concerns about pp relations are not just me being paranoid, such as the letdown issues, etc. great post and great comments!

    July 12, 2011
  26. Unfortunately my husband is not at all put off by my new jiggly stomach roll that folds gently over my C- section scar, the pink stretch marks that crisscross themselves over the same C-section scar, my unwashed hair, undeoderized armpits, nor – it's true – my leaky breasts. (The leaking is a drip drip drip.) The poor man is BACKED UP! I feel the same way you do, I'm afraid. Basically completely not in that time zone. Not even in the same galaxy. But a wife has her duties … ;/ Have you tired thinking of Engla

    July 22, 2011

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