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How do you get past the awkwardness of resuming sex after a difficult pregnancy?

Jay Dee

How do you get past the awkwardness of resuming sex after a difficult pregnancy?

Feb 18, 2016

Here’s a question I received yesterday from our anonymous Have A Question page: My husband and I used to have sex ALL the time. It was like we could never keep our hands off each other. We were adventurous, interested in trying new things in

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Anonymous QuestionHere’s a question I received yesterday from our anonymous Have A Question page:

My husband and I used to have sex ALL the time. It was like we could never keep our hands off each other. We were adventurous, interested in trying new things in the bedroom, etc. But now, we haven’t had sex in over a year. It started (rather ended) when I became pregnant with our first child. Sex stopped abruptly as he was concerned he might “hurt the baby” if we had sex. Then, at one of my doctor checkups, we found out I had placenta previa, and was told not to have sex for the duration of the pregnancy. After our son was born, we were both so sleep deprived, sex was the last thing on our minds.

But now that our son is sleeping through the night and we finally have a good daily routine in place, my husband still won’t have sex.

I’ve talked to him about this, but still nothing. I’m starting to become insecure with my postpartum figure, feeling so unwanted. I’ve told my husband this too.

I think a big part of our problem is we have become numb to sexual desires. We have gone so long without sex that it feels awkward to initiate it and/or we don’t realize the other person is initiating because it’s become so foreign. How do we get back to wanting each other? How do we get over this awkwardness?

Now, it seems like there are a few things going on here.  So, let’s tackle them one at a time.

Can you hurt the baby during pregnancy from having sex

It’s highly unlikely.  Firstly, during sex, the penis doesn’t enter the uterus, where the baby is, so you can’t directly “hit” the baby.  Sometimes I think some husbands don’t understand the simple facts of what body parts are where.  Perhaps that should be required reading when you’re having your first baby.

Secondly, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, inside a membrane.  This protects it from, well, a lot of things, but in this case, the movement of sex won’t bother the baby at all.

In short, without a doctor saying “no sex”, there’s no reason to stop from a health standpoint.  Even then, I think most doctors suggest stopping sex as precaution, not because sex is guaranteed to hurt the baby.

However, even if told “no sex”, that often doesn’t mean “no orgasms”.  Sometimes doctors will specifically say you can’t have an orgasm either, but if they don’t, ask.  Then, if you get the all clear from the doctor, you can use oral sex, manual sex, mutual masturbation or other means to keep that sexual connection alive.

I know this advice comes too late for the questioner, but I hope someone else can be helped by it.

Sometimes men have trouble coping with pregnancy and birth

Another issue is that some husbands have trouble seeing you as a sexual being after seeing you as a … well, baby maker.  There are jokes on TV and in movies about men giving other men advice “not to look” during the birthing process, because “you can’t un-see that”.  Some men have serious problems trying to view their wife as a sexual being after experiencing the “miracle of life”.

This might be something to consider discussing with your husband, to see if that’s what his concern is.  Perhaps he’s having trouble with the juxtaposition of you as his wife and you as the mother of his child.  It’s possible that he’s not even aware of the issue as men tend to be less self-aware than women.  But, talking about it, giving him the chance to evaluate it, might help with that.

How do we get over this awkwardness?

Honestly, the way out is through.  The only way to dispel the awkwardness is to push through it.  Initiating sex after a year long hiatus is…well, it’s rough.  I know, I’ve been there.  It’s incredibly difficult.  You feel awkward and shy, and scared, and a whole lot of things.  And that’s just initiating.  Sex is probably going to feel a little weird too.  Especially if you haven’t had sex since your pregnancy.  After all, pregnancy and birth changes sex dramatically for many women.

If your husband won’t initiate, then you should.  And don’t be subtle about it.  Men often don’t pick up on subtlety well.  If you want to initiate sex, come to bed naked and just jump right into oral sex.  That should get his attention.  Unless you get a hard “no”, keep going.  Don’t let him just casually brush you off.  Don’t rape him, but don’t let him give weak excuses.  If he gives you a hard “no”, without just cause (seriously ill or something like that) then it might be time to get some help.

I hope that helps, and I hope you’ll let me know how it turns out.

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4 thoughts on “How do you get past the awkwardness of resuming sex after a difficult pregnancy?”

  1. Alex says:

    This is an important question. I can only relate my own experience. Before our son, my wife and I had sex pretty regularly. But our sex life wasn’t that steamy. When she was pregnant, we continued to have sex except for a few stretches where she had bad morning sickness. But we had sex up until our son was born and it was great sex. It allowed us the opportunity to try new positions given her pregnancy. After we had our son, there were a few months where there was no sex. But then when he started sleeping through the night, the sex not only resumed but it got steamier. I find my wife so much sexier now that she’s a mom. And the sex we do have is much more spontaneous because we do it when windows of opportunity open, like if our son is at a friend’s house. I would say give your husband some time.

  2. libl says:

    Because of the length of time since you had sex, I wonder if he has resorted to pornography and/or masturbation and just got comfortable with those easy releases? Hopefully not, but it isn’t unheard of. Some husband’s believe they are actually doing YOU a favor engaging in this sinfulness and thus it isn’t sin. Again, I hope I am wrong.

    Otherwise, you both need reminding that you aren’t just mom now. You are WIFE first and foremost. I suggest dating and getting to know each other again as a couple, and flirting. Don’t wait for him to initiate because he is likely waiting for an obvious green light from you.

  3. LatterDay Marriage says:

    Seeing my wife pregnant was something I found rather sexy. But our first child was a long, hard delivery for my wife and it made me reluctant to risk putting her though that again for a short time. The Dr said to wait at least 6 weeks after giving birth and for the first 4 that was no problem for me, but by the 5th week the libido woke up and I was ready to go again but I still needed her to assure me that she was recovered and OK.

    Ladies, if you need to be the one to initiate, do it, and go all out. Wait till you have a chance when the baby is asleep and put something sexy on and seduce him. Wake up his desire and it won’t matter that you are your child’s mother, he’ll only be thinking of you as his woman.

  4. J. Parker says:

    Great advice. As someone, though, who had placenta previa with a pregnancy, I would not test the doctor’s advice on that one. We stopped intercourse, and I’m glad we did. We’ve absolutely made up for that dry spell since!

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