Reigniting passion after becoming parents and myths around men's libidos. A question from a mother below...
"I’d like to hear about what ways I can reignite passion and regular sex within a relationship after having children? I feel like my partner and I are in a rut really and basically since I fell pregnant with our child (who is nearly 3) I can count on two hands the amount of times we’ve had sex. I used to be the main initiator and have a higher libido than my partner. There was a point there where I got a complex about it though and felt like I didn’t want to be or shouldn’t be the initiator. I’d also like to hear what you have successfully tried to boost a man's libido?"
I think it’s a common misconception that all men have higher libidos than women and are always up for it. Their libido can fluctuate with their testosterone levels. They have a cycle of around 20-30 days when they fluctuate, they fluctuate daily and also in line with the seasons. If he begins to tune into his own patterns through journalling he will be able to to tune into the daily and ‘monthly’ fluctuations. If you believe there may be an underlying health issue or there may be issues with his hormones then it’s always good to get them checked.
The possibility is that you may just have a higher libido than him which could be just how he is ‘made’.
I like to suggest to those re-entering sex after having children to play the 3 minute game by Betty Martin. This is a great way to reintroduce touch in a way that is non-sexual and gives you both the opportunity to tune into how you want to receive touch and how you want to touch the other. Creating this container of safety of communication is really important in being able to move forward into areas of intimacy and your sex life which can potentially be more triggering.
I’m wondering how your partner’s mental health is too? If he suffers from anxiety or depression (even if it isn’t diagnosed), this can affect his ability to move between the different states of the nervous system of arousal, orgasm and ejaculation. Mental health can also affect a person’t desire for sex too, and this does include men.
Another point to consider is how he coped after the birth of your child? Many men struggle with the transition into fatherhood. Some men experience trauma from being present at the birth of their baby because of the lack of support during and also afterwards. They can feel isolated and rejected and miss the intimacy they once had (which can be emotional intimacy not just physical). In my work I have named this phenomenon The Forgotten Father.
I’m also wondering about his ability and willingness to connect to you emotionally. Is he able to openly express his feelings? Is he given space to say what he feels? I think as women we tend to bombard men with questions and quite often they need a little more time to think about an answer and process it. Asking a man ‘how do you feel?’ can be really difficult for him to answer immediately. Many men will revert to explaining a situation, rather than tuning into an emotion. His ability to connect to his emotions will also impact on his ability to experience intimacy. This is due to the conditioning that men receive as boys as they're growing up. 'Be a big boy, 'Don't cry', 'The man of the house', all of those messages are teaching men to shut down from expressing themselves so to begin the process of unlearning that can be very difficult. The nervous system has learnt safety from detachment and not expressing emotion, it will take time for him and patience on your part to begin to unravel the conditioning and create a container of safety where you can both begin to communicate in a loving and supportive way.
I hope this has been supportive in some way to understanding things from his perspective a little more.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.