There are many things that I was warned about before I became a Mum for the first time. You know, the usual suspects; sleepless nights, nappies, baby sick and raging hormones, and even with these warnings I wasn’t fully prepared for the 24/7 life highjack that would happen, but at least I had an inkling, a heads-up from the wise ones who had lived through and made it out of the other side of small baby-dom.
I was warned in hushed tones by a couple of closer friends that if I had stitches “You know… down there” it might take a few weeks to feel back to normal and I figured that with general exhaustion and post-birth recovery I might be ever so slightly less inclined to get jiggy with it. What I hadn’t figured on was being nearly 11 months post-partum and having no interest in sex whatsoever. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Catch you later climax. Au revoir orgasm. Sayonara sex life.
Now I’m definitely not trying to say that I was some kind of nymphette pre-baby, once or twice a week was pretty healthy in my book, but the extent of my new found asexuality has shocked me. Recently I was at a hen-do and people were discussing their celebrity crushes and I literally couldn’t think of one. Not. One. Never, since I hit puberty 20 years ago, have I not harboured some sort of fantasy infatuation. Now there are many parts of my identity that I feel have changed since becoming a mum, and I would be lying if I said that has been easy, but my sex drive? I did not see that coming (pardon the pun).
I had assumed (and as it turned out rightly so) that the first sex post-partum would be slow, steady and painful, but I had also assumed that soon after my sex drive would return to some sort of normal. Not so. Hubby and I have always said that we would like a small gap between two children so really we should be getting on with it… sadly at the moment it looks like baby number two might have to be an immaculate conception.
The wonderful mix of breastfeeding and prescription medication seems to have stopped the juices flowing (so to speak) and I haven’t even thought about giving myself a hand. I am often exhausted and touched out – a cuddle is about the most I can muster and even that is too much on a very clingy baby day. Sometimes I just want to be alone, my skin crawls at the idea of being touched; when I have spent the day trying to avoid various bodily fluids, my breasts have been scratched, kneaded, bitten and pulled to within an inch of their life (which sadly also seems to be closer to the floor), my clothes have food mushed into them and I probably haven’t had time to shower. My husband comes in through the door and all I want is to hand him our boy and go and take a long shower on my own before slipping into my oh-so-sexy onesie and slippers combo. And this is reality – I want to show my partner affection in both words and deeds, because god knows I love him to bits, but too often I feel I have nothing left to give.
Is it any wonder then that when I look at my body now what I see is the womb that grew our beautiful child, the breasts that feed him and the arms that rock him – my brain can’t seem to reconcile that with my sexuality. My body feels like a giant comforter. And while I don’t actively want sex, I do miss it. I miss the intimacy, the closeness and trust in letting go of everything with my man, even if it’s only for a few moments. But you can bet your life that the moment we do feel a romantic tryst coming on our boy will wake and need my body for an entirely different reason. The ultimate passion killer.
For a while, we jokingly referred to our son as a ‘cock block’, but time is moving on and I’m not sure it’s still funny, because in my heart of hearts I know that I could make more of an effort. I worry that my husband will think that my feelings towards him have changed, even though nothing could be further from the truth; seeing him become a father has only confirmed what I already knew, that he is beautiful and caring and funny and sexy. But it gets harder to find the time to say it and easier to get hung up on splitting the chores and the nursery pick-ups. And yet I am one of the lucky ones – I don’t find talking about sex difficult (my Mum trained as a sex therapist when I was a teenager – but that’s a whole other blog), my body is not so different from its pre-pregnancy incarnation and I have a man who tells me I’m beautiful – but even so, I am struggling. Struggling to remember the sexy side of me, struggling to know if that part of me can still exist now, struggling to see an end to this sexual apathy.
I know I can’t be alone in this but our sex-obsessed media paints a very difficult picture and I do wonder if we have become so conditioned to think that everyone is ‘at it’ that we’re ashamed to say we’re not? So if we’re not having sex can we at least talk about it? Because I think it’s about time that we did.
Love this? You can read Claire’s last blog about her secret addiction…
33 year old first-time mum muddling her way through one nappy change at a time. Lover of yoga, music, walking, roast dinners, cosy nights in and chocolate.