Thursday, April 28, 2011

let's talk about [not having any] s.e.x, baby

So, yesterday someone suggested that I might be in early menopause.


Let me tell you about it.

Yesterday was my last "Parent-Baby Group" at the hospital where Baby Girl was born.  (They call this "Parent-Baby Group" in an effort to be all PC and everything, but the truth is, it's just moms.  And babies.)  I didn't go to the 0-3 month group, because those were the months where I didn't feel much like doing things that started at a certain time.  I liked getting out of the house [read: I was often desperate to get out of the house] but I wanted to do that in my own sweet feet-dragging way, and not feel perpetually late to everything, which is what would have happened.  Also, my job involves a lot of people-time, and it was nice to be a little bit more solitary for awhile.

So I joined the 3-6 month group because a bunch of moms told me in effusive tones that I absooooluuuutely had to do this, it was the best thing ever, they met these women who are still their best friends even though their babies are all in high school now, etc.  I went.  It was okay, in the way that walking into the high school cafeteria and recognizing immediately that everyone else is already sitting with a group and you are the odd kid out is also, "okay."  Like in every group, there were some moms I connected with and others I didn't.  This was fine.

Yesterday, our topic was, "guilt and parenting."  We were supposed to write down all our guilt-triggers on a piece of paper, talk about them with the group, and then put them into a bucket which symbolized casting away this guilt.  I have never found this to work overly well, but it's a nice symbol.  We all re-hashed the things about which moms have felt guilty for a thousand years: sleeping methods, breast-vs-bottle feeding, to-work-or-not-to-work-outside-the-home, etc. 

My first guilt topic was this: I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty about liking my job and enjoying work.  (Did you follow that?  I know.)  This is a post for another time.

My second one was this: I feel guilty that I have absolutely, totally, 100%, no doubt, zip, zero, nada, NO sex drive whatsoever and (this is the guilt-inducing part) not much interest in doing anything about it. 

From what little I've read and heard on this topic, I feel like it's pretty normal for new moms to feel this way.  Breastfeeding depresses your estrogen supply, which means you aren't as interested or, um, capable.  Because of, you know, the fluid levels and the lubricating factors and the...yeah. You get it.

But infertility ups the ante on this, because it's not just that I've had no real desire since the baby was born: I was nauseous for, well, about the entire pregnancy, and on fertility drugs off-and-on for several years before that, and when you look back at it, it's about five years since I really had much sustained interest in this area.  Which is not to say that we haven't had sex in five years.  (I think my husband feels this way sometimes, but he would also admit that this is not quite the case.) 

So I talked about how this made me feel guilty, and all the other moms were nodding their heads in recognition, and then the group facilitator gave me some suggestions (which, oddly enough, just made me feel more guilty) and then she casually mentioned that "at your age, you might be peri-menopausal" which she said as if this was no big deal but was pretty much like hitting me in the face with a Mack truck, because my "age" is, in fact, THIRTY-EIGHT and if that's entering early menopause, then thanks a whole freaking lot lady, you've been very helpful.

Let me assure you (as I wish I had done to her, had I not been too shocked to say anything coherent) that I have had every fertility test in the book, so if I were entering early menopause, I would already know about it.  And my mom didn't start menopause until her early 60's, the same as her mother, so I'm not too worried.  Mostly, I wanted to slap this woman in the face.  I mean, I'm not opposed to menopause.  It happens to us all.  But maybe this is not the best thing to say to a woman with a 6-month old child who has just confided in you that she isn't much into Barry White music at the moment.  Maybe you could jump to something a little less drastic than, say, the end of her fertility and gradual slide into silver hair and polyester pants and a weekly game of bridge.  For which she will apparently need to get a babysitter for her kindergartner.

At what point do you think I should do something about this whole sex drive thing?  I mean, Group Facilitator Lady said sweetly that we could "be creative, it doesn't have to involve intercourse," to which I said, "yes, my husband is full of suggestions on that, it's not a lack of information I'm worried about here," but I really am wondering if there might be something wrong.  Like, can I take a pill for this? Because that would be great.  Because I do love my husband, and I miss that part of my life, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

Other than buy up some polyester pants and call it a day.

Thoughts?  Help!


  1. I have no suggestions because I am in the same boat as you. I could care less about s.ex right now and have felt that way for... I don't know how long. Occassionally before I was pregnant, I'd get a small hint of some sort of libido and there was like a week where I was really, well, ya know, but since then it's like my se.x drive is just dead. Hubby wants me to see the doctor but since I'm pregnant now, obviously it's kind of pointless because they're not going to start shooting me up with hormones at this point, so he'll have to wait.

    I miss it, too. :(

  2. There is female vi.agra, but I don't think you'd want to do anything like that while you're nursing -- both because of meds getting into the milk and because you don't know what's just a nursing side effect.

    When I stopped BF, there were all sorts of changes to my body, mostly good. There were several things that I thought might be wrong with me including severe, crippling fatigue and it all went away when I stopped BF. (My DH didn't mind the no s.ex part because he was afraid of me lactating onto him!)

    My advice is to wait it out. Enjoy nursing while you're doing it, there's plenty of time for the rest.

  3. Ahem. I'm right there with you, and it's been kind of bothering me too, lately - I mean, I've always been rather er, lusty. And these days? "What? You want to do what? WHY?" I'm hoping that once I stop breastfeeding the, um, urge will return. Or that I get a whole lot better about faking it...

  4. Get Drunk


    No really I have no suggestions, because, um...I'm in the same boat as well. I just tell my husband, "I can't have sex, I'm a mom now." That doesn't go over very well though. lol

  5. I fifth the running tally! Yeah, no desire. My husband keeps making me feel bad saying that it's been "a year" since he's gotten any. Um, so not true, but he is expecting it now at least once a week or every 10 days. While that used to be right up my alley, now not so much. So yeah, I was on pelvic rest for a good portion of my pregnancy with the girls, but I don't think it's fair that he can hold that against me! Grr! Okay, so that wasn't helpful for you. . .let me try to redirect.
    I would be interested to see if the urge would return once you stop breastfeeding. . . I'm still breastfeeding too, and I would be excited to learn that that may help. The only thing I am trying to do is find things to do with my husband that I find romantic (ie - we are taking ballroom dancing lessons), in hopes that that will spark my interest in him and in sex. Fingers crossed it works, but I'm not holding my breath!
    If you figure out what works, let me know! And if you talk to your doc, I'd be interested to hear what he/she has to say too!!
    And that stupid woman in your group that said you may be peri-menopausal?! Seriously. . .she has no idea what she is talking about. I'd not like her very much either!

  6. It's really hard for me to even remember when we had sex for fun. Because since the baby arrived, I've been way too exhausted and uninterested. While pregnant, I was too scared it would end in m/c. While TTC, it turned into a chore. So, it's been a very long time.

    But let me say that I laughed so hard at your post. The polyester pants and bridge game cracked me up. And the thought that you'd need a babysitter to go. TOO FUNNY!!!

  7. I'll jump on the long list and say "Me too!" I think you can't judge anything until after you stop breastfeeding. Don't discount how much BFing messes up your hormones too. When I went for my 6-week OB appointment, the doc told me it was like being in menopause, very low estrogen, so having hot flashes, dryness, and low libido was expected. Explain this to your DH. It easy to think that since you are done being pregnant, your hormones are back to normal. But BFing changes that. I think you don't need to do anything at this point, and when you stop BFing, give yourself a month or two to recover. And know you are not alone. Well, maybe wearing the polyester pants :)

  8. Don't worry about it! Honestly...I have 4 boys and I went throughthe same Phase....I couldn't stand having sex...I would rather sleep and have my own time then have sex. Finally after two years after giving birth to the last one....I'm enjoying it alot more now and even look forward to having it. I also find that nooners are the key for me. Its when I have the most energy, babe is down for a nap and its whoo hoo time. You have to also be honest with hubby about how you feel....Mine aways thought it was because of him and then got really defensive and we'd fight. Once he understood what I was going through he was better at anticipating my moods. It also made me understand that that was how he got his intamacy, while i got mine a different way. So we traded favors....he got sex I got a back massage. We both Won. Eventually I started enjoying having sex it's win win for both of us!

    Viagra is lovely! Porn, toys, what ever gets you may work for a while or not. I've tried it all in an effort to boost my libido. I think the real only cure is time and the baby growing up. Its then you feel like a normal person and not some baby factory milk cow.

  9. The thing I learned through this is that men view sex as their intmacy connection with you. When you turn it down you are essentially pushing him away. I had to learn to compromise and our mutual friend suggested the "The Love Bank" Basically you have 3 things that your other half can do to you that means intimacy and love. Mine were massaging, cuddling, and rubbing my hands. His were sex, and bj's (lol). and then we would set a time frame for thos ethings to happe, like 2 of them per week, So when he did one of my things for me I would do one of those things for him. It was pretty clinical and awkward at first, but it got us over the fighting of who's not being fair to whom and got us into a better comunicating loving pattern. We still sometimes fall of the wagon and have to start again but it has been the one thing that saved our sex life and marriage.

  10. yep, me too. Dh valiantly tries to stoke the fires every so often but I just have no NO NO desire to get all hot and bothered.

  11. You are so not peri-menopausal. Give me a freaking break. It was a LONG time before I had any interest in sex after C was born (though I was very frisky a week before she was born!) I was so dry it was painful. And her sleep was so terrible for so long... K is amazingly patient. It's better now. Estrogen cream can really help and is safe while bf. I'm now nursing just once or twice a day and don't seem to have depressed estrogen in quite the same way anymore and don't use the cream. My desire is still low... but I can get there... be patient, communicate, and... see if you can get some estrogen cream!

  12. Oh my...this sounds sooooo familiar. Had baby # 2 in November at 43 years old (we have a 3 yo son as well)...My Husband then decided he wanted to sell our a new house and completely gut the new house and start over...and guess who got to do all the prep for moving out...moving in...lining up contractors etc....I AM EXHAUSTED and he complains there is not enough sex!!!! OMG!!! no matter the circumstance that will ALWAYS be the case. They are never satisfied. Ahrg.

    Now..mind you...I love my husband dearly, we have a great marriage and I truly desire him....but I am TIRED. He finally figured it out recently when he said to never want to have sex with me...My response was...honey...that is not the case...I desire you and would love to make love to you all the time...the issue is that I want sleep more! It was like a lightbulb went off and he quipped back..."It is like a cost-benefit analyis and sleep just has more or a return right now right?"...YES>>>>YES>>>>YES>>>>!! Now..this did not stop the begging and the complaining...but he is getting it and things have been sooo much better. I am still nursing so suffering the lack of libido as well...but we are finally starting to get a little bit of a groove back and I am feeling less guilty about the fact that it is now once every 7-10 days instead of the 2-3 times a week from our past (distant past mind you...we have been undergoing fertility, pregnant or nursing for almost 4 years now...luckily...we are DONE and I am seeing the light).

    Hang in will come may just take some time.

  13. The last few months of pregnancy I had no desire whatsoever. After she was born, I was pretty torn. Slowly I'm finding the desire is coming back, but I'm just too tired to act on it! Both hubby and I am tired, though, so we're both in the same state.
    But - every one of our good friends who had babies lost the urge for a while after the baby was born. I think it's really common. I dunno what to do for it, though!

  14. Dude I am SO THERE. I feel guilty about not feeling more guilty. I think about it once in a while, like does this make me a terrible wife? Does it make me a terribler wife if I really just do not care to do anything about it? I feel like I *should* but with the no lubrication and the hormones all zilch and the baby grabby and the no sleep and the cranky cranky... no, I would rather sit in the corner with my chocolate bar and watch TV.

    I have noticed, however, that since I got AF (for the first time in a very long time) that I've been having sexual-type dreams. Maybe things are starting to come back? Maybe?

  15. I found that the sex drive issue improved for me once I stopped breastfeeding. One part I'm sure was the estrogen, but another part was that I was so not into being sexual with the upper half of my body. The other reality is that you're TIRED and OVEREXTENDED.

    I've come to really despise the "facilitators" of moms' groups, by the way.