Tough Actin’ Prolactin
Women, contrary to popular belief, actually have similar sex drives to men, but there is an emotional basis for this sex drive, and this interpersonal conflict does nothing to establish the sex drive. We will talk in depth about WHY women have low sex drives after pregnancy. Too often, I am confronted with women and men that are extremely frustrated and are having vicious arguments about their sex life. I find it unfortunate, to the least, that partners fail to work together in this critical period, with a new child. It is common for a many, both during and after pregnancy, to pressure his partner into having sex. It is because of a few reasons. Men have a need to connect on a sexual level with their partner; this is for a lot of reasons, but lets just say this animal drive connects him emotionally to his partner. In this, he feels victimized, unloved and not manly if his partner does not desire him for sex. What happens does not actually fulfill eithers’ needs.
Isn’t it amazing? This just like Pavlov’s dogs, a psychological experiment in which Pavlov was able to use associations to train the dogs. The dogs would eventually begin salivating by seeing a plate, or hearing a dinner bell, as it became associated with the meal that ensued. What women experience with their men in the post-partum period is similar, and all men are wise to take note. By having this relational conflict, women are developing a disgust for sex. That longing for emotional connection, passion, and romance will turn into disgust and contempt, as she feels like a masturbatory aid, not like a human being. The effects of this will decrease her long term sex drive.
Let’s face it men and women both face significant hurdles, both before, during and after pregnancy. Men want sex, and they want to know why they aren’t getting it, but also how to get it. Women want their partner to understand the changes that have taken place and why her sex drive is low or nonexistent. Not only do we have the life change associated with one or more children, but we also have issues of finance, we have issues related to the necessary changes that occur in the romantic relationship. What we also have to look at is how the process of pregnancy alters the relationship. It is important to understand this information as we can look to the facts to not only guide us through these difficult periods, but we can use the facts to lessen any pain that is felt.
- “Some 67 percent of couples say they feel “very unhappy” after a baby is born, according to the findings of Seattle’s famed Gottman Institute” (1). Gottman is a very famous marriage researcher, for your information.
- “Up to 10 per cent of new fathers” experience depression in the six months after a baby’s birth – with little support from health professionals (2).
- Women suffer about twice as much, though. the CDC only looks at self-reported cases, and has it between 11-15%, although when we look at unreported cases too, we are looking at about 20% (3).
MEN stop taking it personally. Your wife is still a sexual being. Her sex drive was stolen from her. So what sense does it make to guilt her into sex? What sense does it make to treat her as if she was a criminal, when it was not of her doing? It took two to tango or mambo in the mattress. Her sex drive is nonexistent because of hormones – plain and simple.
Consider that in past centuries, women would typically abstain from sex for two years or so, as they breastfed and raised their new children. It was accepted that the man would get no sex from his wife, yet today, we seem to have lost that insight. Mother nature is a tricky one. Breastfeeding will keep women from ovulating, and having their periods. It also decreases vaginal lubrication. The biggest effect it has is to remove her sex drive. Not only does she not think about sex, but she also doesn’t desire it. You can try all you want to stimulate her privates, and there will be little to no effect, usually. Nature does this to protect the newborn from the mother getting pregnant again. One child is hard enough to breastfeed – which is the predominant source of nutrition for babies.
With breastfeeding comes the release of the hormone Prolactin, which turns that sex drive off, like a light switch. It stimulates milk production and suppresses ovulation (4).
Your Estrogen levels are also in disarray. They plummet while breastfeeding, and this hormone is the predominant precursors for vaginal mucus, the lubrication. This is what makes post-partum sex unbelievably painful for women, even with the use of purchased lubrication (4).
For men: Either get used to self-stimulation or discuss with your wife as to how you can get pleased without vaginal sex. She may be willing to perform oral sex, but more likely will be up to giving you manual stimulation. Empathize with her. Realize that she didn’t choose to have no sex drive. She would like not to be so tired. She would like to have a sex drive and enjoy sex, but it was stolen from her. Don’t hold this against her, love and support her instead.
For women: Knowledge is power; show this information to your man. I have a newborn. I know this far too well. But I also live according to facts. I can’t even imagine why I would attack my partner for something that is entirely hormonally based. There are two people in this relationship. You don’t have to “just give in” to his demands for sex. a little bit of communication can go a long way. He doesn’t have to like the answer, but it is the truth. Just giving in takes the relationship away from passion and romance into just a sexual release for one part of the equation, while it likely physically and emotionally hurts the other.
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Thank you for reading,
Relationship Teacher – Anthony John Bartlett