Update Q+A from Petra Boynton

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Dear Nappy Science Gang, friends, affiliates, random visitors and the rest of you, I am happy to finally present you with the much awaited follow up Q+A with psychologist Petra Boynton. After spending nearly three hours in a live chat with us and answering dozens of our questions (you can read the write-up of that chat here), she also agreed to separately reply to some of the anonymous questions that we sent her – what can I say? Petra is just the best.

Thank you to everyone who joined in the Nappy Science Gang discussion recently about the impact that being pregnant/having a baby can have on sex and relationships. During the chat you asked me some really good and thought provoking questions, but as is always the case you also offered each other loads of support and insights.

A few people asked questions before and after the chat, which I’ve answered here. I really appreciate how open you’ve all been. As with our recent conversation, it may be helpful if people have ideas, tips and experiences to add to my comments that you do so – or feel free to disagree or talk about what has helped in your own lives/relationships. Often with answers they throw up even more questions so if anything isn’t clear or you want me to address anything I’ve covered here you’re welcome to drop me an email at info@drpetra.co.uk or I’m happy to do another chat or answer questions via your FB page if preferred.

If you need further help/information you might want to check out the resources I’ve archived here (also happy if you have more to recommend for me to add to the list!)

http://nostartoguideme.com/if-you-need-help/

There’s also an archive of problems I’ve replied to you can find here that may again be helpful in terms of the links, resources and tools included within replies

http://journalisted.com/petra-boynton-1?allarticles=yes

Q: My partner has completely lost all interest in sex or any physical contact with me (cuddles, kisses, hand holding) since around the third month of my pregnancy. Our child is now 2. I love him to bits and he is the best Dad ever but it’s hard. I worry that he is afraid of my body, that I involved him too much in the process of birth and that he simply no longer finds me attractive with my new physical being and his too intimate knowledge of it. He is really impossible to talk to about anything emotional and just shuts down and will turn away from me and go totally silent and unresponsive for days if I try to speak to him. I want to have counselling but he won’t even entertain it. Help!

Petra: If you want counselling I would start it, even if he isn’t willing. You can do it in person, via email, phone or Skype (some people also have it provided via work) and it can be useful just for you to vent, talk over your worries and develop strategies for communicating with your partner. You don’t have to tell them you’re seeking counselling right away if you prefer not to, or you might want to say that even if they don’t want to go it will help you. They may well follow if they see it working for you.

It’s great that you think so highly of him and I wonder if he knows this? I like how you describe that you ‘love him to bits and he is the best Dad ever’ and I wondered if you began conversations together that were not based on the things that were wrong/missing but the things that are good it might be a positive way to connect. As you say (and as we’ll all know) this is hard so giving voice to that, saying you find parenting tough, boring etc and you want to enjoy being together is non threatening and allows you both to find ways – big and small – to just be nice.

I don’t know what your pregnancy or birth was like but if that was in any way traumatic then it’s common for partners to really struggle after. They may be distressed by the birth and fears of losing you/baby, in some cases even experiencing anxiety, depression or PTSD http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/pregnancy-children/conditions-threaten-womens-lives-childbirth-pregnancy/fatherspartners-emotional-recovery

The responsibility of parenthood can also be overwhelming, as can the exhaustion of parenting and that frequently leads to erection problems that partners can hide by avoiding all kinds of intimacy.  If he feels any kind of touch, comment, caress or hug is a signal to have sex – or a reminder that he’s not doing it – then he may avoid affection. But he may be missing closeness as much as you. You could make agreements that there’s no expectation to have sex but you might think about cuddles, hand holding, kisses, massage, hair brushing, bathing etc.

If he doesn’t want to talk, you might try writing to him. You could frame this either in terms of your fears – pretty much what you’ve told me. Or you could set it out as a means of helping each other out. That you’re in love and you have a child and there are good things about the relationship but you would like more affection, closeness, touch and sex.

A lot of this can feel awkward or false, but it’s worth noting we have a cultural expectation that desire must be ‘spontaneous’, which for most people it isn’t http://www.amazon.co.uk/Come-You-Are-Surprising-Transform/dp/1476762090  Specially once you have had kids. So setting aside time to be together, deliberately making decisions to say and do nice things, and noting where there may be barriers of work/stress/childcare to find ways to either work around them or reduce their impact.

He may well feel very embarrassed and worried about this. He may fear you will leave or that he is messing up. It could be this is about your body, but in most cases it isn’t. And even if it is neither of you will deal with this if he withdraws. The silent treatment behaviour is more troubling, but not unusual. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10020662/Silent-treatment-how-to-snap-him-out-of-it.html  Trying other routes in (see above) may help but if he responds to even the most gentle discussions around how to make your relationship nicer for the both of you with withdrawal then that might require you to be more assertive about how even if he has reasons for the behaviour it’s actually making things worse.

All of this is much easier to say, and far harder to do so if you want to come back to me privately about what you think wouldn’t work I can add those responses to this chat archive. In the meantime others might have had similar experiences and ideas on how to address this.

Q: Hi Petra. Apart from getting generally extra horny, why do I go a little bit gay when pregnant, when I’m usually just straight?

Petra: That’s a good question! It’s also not unusual but is a taboo topic for discussion. The usual explanation given is ‘hormones’. So hormonal changes in the second and third trimester can lead to some women reporting higher levels of desire. Which in turn can lead to noticing a change in the amount you think about sex, what you fantasise about and who you fancy.

Another theory is that the cultural stereotype of the pregnant woman is she may be voluptuous and feels sexy but she is sexually unavailable (aside from to her partner). So having lesbian, bi or queer fantasies or thinking about stuff you’d never normally consider is ‘safe’ because you’re not presumed to be acting on it. That tends to fall down when we encounter women who decided they would act on it, enjoying same sex experiences, threesomes, orgies, using sex toys, sex with strangers, bdsm – all manner of things we don’t necessarily associate with pregnancy (but should, because life happens).  As you can imagine the self-help literature and certainly health professionals like midwives and gynaecologists don’t really address this.

A third view would be that these are feelings/desires you have all the time but pregnancy gives you permission to step outside your usual sexual comfort zone. While a fourth would note that there are many ways of defining sexuality and having categories of lesbian, bi or straight may not account for women who would define themselves as normally straight but bisexual or lesbian during pregnancy. Susie Bright wrote an essay called ‘Egg Sex’ that’s pretty upfront about how she felt during pregnancy which you can search for online.

What is interesting is because we don’t talk about it, when it happens women feel very anxious and frightened. I’ve certainly heard from women who’ve worried their desires during pregnancy might mean they need to end a relationship, or may act on some of the fantasies they have had which have turned them on but they may also be troubled by. They also worry that increased desire, wetter genitals and engorged labia and larger clitorises are a sign there’s something wrong rather than being part of pregnancy. But nobody’s going to feel brave enough to mention this to a partner or midwife or doctor. And again if you do, most health providers are clueless about how to respond.

The flip side is also those women who don’t experience desire changes in their pregnancies or who feel so grim they’re in no place to contemplate pleasure. Or partners who find the changes in pregnancy and their partners – including a partner now being the one who initiates sex (if that was not the pattern in their relationship) is unnerving and they may experience sexual problems in response.

The best answer I can give you, however, is we don’t really know because like so much in this area, desire is massively under-researched in pregnancy studies and where it is studied it tends to be so heteronormative that questions like yours would either not be answered or sidestepped.

Q: I’m interested to know how breastfeeding changes sex for people. Since having my baby and breastfeeding, I feel uncomfortable using nipple stimulation either myself or with my partner (we haven’t had sex yet since the baby), but I also realise just how important it is to turn me on! I’m having difficulty with the idea of using my boobs in a sexual way now I’m using them for feeding my baby, I guess also because feeding is pleasurable but not sexual and I don’t want to mix them up! This must surely be a common problem, how do people reconcile it?

Petra: You’re absolutely right, it’s a very common issue. But again it isn’t talked about. I’ve sat through countless breastfeeding talks and I’ve never heard it discussed. Perhaps others here have in which case I’d love to hear what you were told.

While this isn’t directly related to your question the first thing I’d like to mention about breastfeeding and sex/relationships is that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. The stress of trying to get feeding established, painful and engorged boobs, cracked nipples or babies with tongue tie, colic, reflux or who don’t gain weight can be enormously upsetting. I won’t get into the debates that I’m sure you’re all familiar with around feeding choices or how breastfeeding is promoted. But it is worth noting that talking about how this affects relationships is rarely addressed and that can have long term repercussions on relationship quality, arguments, and whether we feel loved, supported, valued and understood.

For those who experience feeding as something painful, uncomfortable or not terrible but not a brilliant bonding experience they’d hoped for, this can also lead to worries that they may never enjoy their breasts being touched in a sexual way again. Or fear that touching their breasts will trigger upsetting memories of feeding (not to mention guilt if they discontinued feeding before they wanted to, or even if they wanted to but felt judged for their choice).

I’m glad your experience of breastfeeding is pleasurable and I really like how you mention that it feels ‘pleasurable but not sexual’ as that is the case for many, and one interesting aspect of this relates to sex. Not so much about the worry you have around nipple stimulation and pleasure (that I’ll come onto) but about the idea of your physical needs being met. Not everyone experiences babyhood as falling in love, being besotted and getting real contentment from skin to skin touching, nursing their baby or looking at/cuddling them. But if that is the case for you then you may not need it anywhere else. That presents something of a conundrum when talking about the role of mothers who’re expected not just to have amazing homes and contented babies, but also to be meeting their partner’s sexual needs. A lot of advice hinges around persuading unwilling women to have sex in order to keep a partner happy. But it doesn’t really know what to do with women who feel perfectly fulfilled by a new love in their life.

Thinking about pleasure and feeding can also cause anxiety because much of our focus on breastfeeding hinges around this being ‘best for baby’ and something ‘good mothers’ do but time and again you’ll see messaging in public health and the media highlighting how it ‘isn’t sexual’. This cartoon sums it up quite neatly https://www.pinterest.com/pin/218354281905669061/  The tricky thing is that if you experience feeding as pleasurable, or arousing (as women also report) then reconciling this with the messages of breasts being for baby feeding not titillation, or that the feeding experience is bonding not orgasm inducing (yes, that happens too) then women do feel very worried, even concerned they are somehow sexually abusing their baby because they get pleasure from feeding.

This diversion doesn’t really answer your question, so to do that here are some practical pointers to start with. If you’re breastfeeding and haven’t started having sex yet it’s worth noting nursing mothers tend to report more tiredness and more vaginal dryness than non-nursing mums. So you may want to recognise you’ll have sex later than other women you know and you may want to consider using a lubricant. Some women don’t have sex until they have stopped breastfeeding. Some start sex while feeding and although feeding is a means of delaying getting pregnant again it isn’t foolproof so if you definitely don’t want to get pregnant considering contraceptive choices that work with breastfeeding is worth considering. (There are also some people who have sex while feeding their baby, as in you’re enjoying sex and baby wants a feed and are wailing but you still want to keep on having sex, so you feed them. It’s another taboo – but it happens).

Depending on how your baby feeds you may find your nipples are actually less sensitive when it comes to having sex again. If you’ve got one who particularly enjoys a good suck or gnaw then your breasts may well feel less sensitive when your partner touches you. And the longer you feed a baby for will also contribute to this as older babies and toddlers tend to have a far stronger suck.

Some people find they can get over the worry you’ve expressed by simply voicing it to themselves or their partner. Their partner may also feel uncertain about kissing/licking/sucking where baby has been. Noting and being open together that you’re worried or unsure is powerful in itself.  As is recognising individually or together that breasts can feed and feel sexy, sometimes separately and sometimes at the same time. But because you use them to feed baby and get sexual pleasure with a partner doesn’t mean you’re doing anything harmful to your child.

Some people find that when their partner licks or sucks their breasts it feels nothing like baby doing it and are relieved. Others find it does feel similar, but arousing, and either accept this and carry on or opt to leave that kind of pleasure until feeding stops. Some prefer to explore touch with fingers may work where a tongue previously did the job. Nipple clamps appeal to some while others run a mile from anything that might hang off their boob (given they’ve already got that covered with baby). Or nipple pumps and suckers can work if sensitivity is reduced (assuming you’re not put off by associating them with feeding pumps).

It may be your nipples do feel more sensitive so a softer touch is required. Or that you prefer your breasts played with but not your nipples (or vice versa). Although you can’t always time sex around feeding, some women prefer to express or feed before sex. In the early days of feeding or if you produce a lot of milk you might find you’re a bit of a leaker or a squirter with milk coming out during sex or especially during orgasm. Nobody tells us this so it can come as something of a surprise to partners to get a drenching. Which can be funny or sexy. But if you find it really awkward you may prefer to wear a feeding bra and pad during sex.

Finally I’ve talked about ‘having sex’ but it’s worth remembering how much our focus here would be on rehabilitating the vagina for penetrative sex with fingers, penis or sex toy (depending on the kind of penetrative sex you’ve had in the past). So when you think about returning to sex it may help to think about returning to pleasure that might include touch, massage, talking about what you’d like to do, oral sex, masturbation or finding places on each other’s bodies that feel good. All of which you can explore at a pace that suits you and fitted around when you don’t feel knackered.

Some people reconcile this and some don’t. It doesn’t mean it’s a problem. It doesn’t mean that boobs aren’t going to be part of your enjoyment in the future. Sometimes it can make sex more enjoyable. Sometimes it means you have to think of other ways to get turned on, which can be an adventure in themselves.

Q: I felt rushed into having sex too quickly after having a baby I wasn’t physically or emotionally ready and said I wasn’t. Now a few years down the line I still don’t really want it. Don’t know if it’s physical or emotional. Do you know anything about the effects of having sex too soon after birth? Thanks.

Petra: Yes there is some research on this and more anecdotal evidence of women feeling under pressure to have sex – some because they misunderstand the ‘6 week check’ statement as a time they must resume penetrative sex. Some because their partners pester them. And some feel they have to do it for fear their partner will look elsewhere. Others want to do it but when they try find it painful and upsetting and feel it was a case of trying too much too soon. The fact you said you weren’t ready and your partner didn’t seem to listen is concerning and if you want to discuss that privately later, please do.

Certainly having sex before you feel ready – even if you were up for it and then it hurt, or where you weren’t physically or mentally ready but did it anyway – can lead to anxiety, pain, tension and an inability to want to have sex or relax, and possibly to trust in a partner or consider sex to be pleasurable.

You might want to have a physical check up just to rule out any problems there, but emotionally counselling might be beneficial, or we could talk more about rethinking sex/pleasure. If your birth was traumatic, then sex was also painful/upsetting those things can become confused too and be particularly triggering and distressing. http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk

Finally it’s worth noting that the idea of ‘too soon’ is subjective. The kind of birth you had, the kind of baby you have, the amount of support you have and whether you’re experiencing other issues around PND or other physical/mental health issues may all have a bearing on when you feel ‘ready’ for sex again. ‘Too soon’ isn’t something that’s measured in weeks or months, but is about how you are feeling physically and emotionally and the right time to start exploring sex for one person will not be right for another. We’re often led to feel unreasonable for not feeling like sex again, being scared to try, or finding it painful or difficult. Rather than noting these are really good alarm bells that are telling us that right now might not be our time to try.

Q: After all the talk of “bat caves” I was pleased that my vagina returned to its original tightness after the vaginal birth of my first child. I’m now pregnant with my second and have noticed that I have considerably less muscle control than before. Is this a result of the relaxin in my system? Can I expect it to go back to normal after the birth of my second child presuming I have another vaginal birth?

You might want to check with your midwife if you are worried, just in case there are any other things they want to assess. They may not be all that helpful, but they may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist after birth if you are worried. Sometimes with your pregnancy info from the hospital it includes information about OTs and physios who specialise in pregnancy/post-birth support so again you could approach them directly if you have any questions. Vaginas are pretty flexible, although the more pregnancies and deliveries you have this can effect elasticity – and if you have any cuts or tears that can make a difference. So it might not be an issue about tightness but you may find there are other issues around pain, feeling too tight, stretching etc following episiotomies etc. A better person to ask about this than me is https://www.facebook.com/gussiegrips who offers advice and information about vaginas, perineums and bums to anyone who’ll listen. I wrote about a related issue to vaginal looseness, which was the fear of fanny farts – and in this reply there are additional resources about vaginal wellbeing and information on pelvic floor care http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/11349173/My-vagina-makes-noises-constantly-and-I-dont-know-what-to-do.html

Q: Do the levels of relaxin remain elevated when you’re breastfeeding or is it purely a pregnancy phenomenon?

As a social psychologist I always feel a bit worried answering questions about hormones or more medical issues as I don’t want to give the wrong advice. If you are concerned it would be worth asking your midwife or an endocrinologist http://www.endocrinology.org/public/  However, as far as I know relaxin levels are higher if you are breastfeeding, which in turn may have a bearing on things like exercise, lifting, and other body movement. So again if you’re worried about any physical health aspects asking your doc or practice nurse, or hospital OT or physiotherapy departments is a good idea.

Q: My partner has been so disinterested in sex for a while. I’m not suggesting that I’m some sort of crazed sex pest, but it’s gradually affected me to the point whereby I don’t even bother initiating anything anymore (even kissing!) we have two young children aged 2 and 7 months, and the other night he woke me up in the night to ‘get romantic’. The next day I felt so disgusted with myself, ashamed of my body and how it’s changed since having the children. I also found it very uncomfortable- (there seemed to be no natural lubrication there at all!) is there anything you can recommend to help get our relationship back on track in the bedroom? He cites tiredness as the reason why he’s not interested, and I feel like it’s been that long now that I don’t even know where to begin! I don’t think it helps that we share our room with the two little ones, but just don’t want to be settling for this being the way it’s going to be for the rest of our relationship! Please help!

Petra: If you look back over the chat we had recently (and earlier/later in these list of questions) you’ll see you’re definitely not alone. One thing to note is while things may well feel very difficult at the moment, this is not going to be the case for the rest of your relationship as you fear. Partly because you don’t want it to be, and partly because your children aren’t going to be this little (and demanding) forever. A lot of pregnancy/baby advice seems obsessed by getting us back into having loads of regular, exotic and physical sex as soon as possible, which ignores that a. we’re often genuinely too tired to do much and b. there is time to get back to enjoy sex rather than feeling we’re pressured to do it loads right now – when there are really good reasons why we’re not willing/able to do it.

I appreciate, however, that knowing this isn’t the same as living within a situation where you’re anxious about how much you’re doing it (or not) and all the guilt, worry and stress that brings. Not to mention frustration if you’d like sex but aren’t having it.

I appreciate how open you were with your question as many of us will relate to your worries that it’s been so long you’re unsure what to do, and fears things will not get better. Just being open about this either with yourself or with your partner is an important step as it may be if he’s aware you’re finding this difficult or feeling awkward or worried then together you are in a position to think about what the barriers are to intimacy and how you’d like to ‘rewrite the rules’ about what sex might now mean to you. That in turn stops it being a case of having to get back to some kind of sex you vaguely recall happening pre-kids, and thinking about all the options for exploring pleasure that you might want to try out now.

Your babies are still very little and you have two under two which is a lot of exhausting work. Your partner may well be being completely honest about feeling too tired for sex. Or it might be that both of you do still have desire but the times you feel it are not convenient for when you’re available to do it. If exhaustion is an issue then looking for the causes of that – work, stress, childcare worries, lack of sleep etc may be worth considering before thinking about addressing your sex life.

It’s also worth thinking about what kind of pleasure you would like to explore and when. Maybe if kissing and cuddling have stopped you might want to begin there (assuming you both enjoy it) with an agreement this is just about reconnecting together rather than any expectation of it leading to sex. Spending time talking, holding each other, listening to each other and catching up on each other’s lives may also be a good idea if most of your life’s now spent chasing after little ones.

You mentioned that you didn’t enjoy sex the other night, and that may be because it wasn’t something you had particularly initiated. Often if we’re not having sex much, when it is offered by a partner who’s seemingly gone off it we feel we can’t refuse because we’ve already made a point about wanting sex more, and also may be anxious we’ll not get it again for a while. The problem is that if we’re not up for it, even if they are, then we may not enjoy it much. And if you’re not enjoying it much (plus also if your breastfeeding etc – see question above) then you’ll understandably not get that wet (lubricated) which in turn may mean you don’t enjoy sex much.

Talking about this is often hideously embarrassing, and saying that to him might be a good starter. You could explain (as advised in one of the previous replies) that you care for him and want to enjoy being close and to see, together, what kinds of ideas you could come up with that would enable this. These might be sexual or non sexual things, along with identifying the barriers that are preventing sex.

He may be anxious that the babies are in the room with you – perhaps afraid they’ll wake and you’ll both be more tired. Or just uncomfortable they are there. While little ones will usually sleep through sex, and aren’t going to be traumatised if they wake and see you having sex, many parents aren’t able to relax and be intimate knowing their children are in the room. So thinking about other times, places in the home or ways to experience pleasure that account for tiredness and aren’t about lots of energetic, lengthy, penetrative sex might be a good idea.

You talked about your body image and that’s also a barrier to desire. I’m sure your partner would be upset to learn how you felt after sex, and that you didn’t feel good about yourself. And it’s worth noting many of us feel like this after having a baby. Some people find dance, sport, yoga, pilates or confidence/assertiveness classes or drama groups can help boost confidence – although again these rely on having cash and also the time/energy to do it. Others take reassurance from the fact they’ve been through a remarkable physical journey (in your case more than once) and of course their body is going to be different. If you’ve not seen it, the 4th Trimester Project is all about this http://4thtrimesterbodies.com/ I also know that telling people to ‘feel good’ or ‘get confident’ isn’t much help if you’re struggling with body image worries, so this might be something that you, as a group, start thinking about in terms of peer support or challenging why we feel this way.

Q: My husband shows little to no interest with sex. We have the herpes virus and he is prone to breakouts after stress, lack of sleep, absolutely anything. He has a breakout at least once a month. We have sex maybe once every two months, maybe once a month if I’m lucky. Is this normal? Could there be something wrong with my husband’s sex drive? Is it linked to the herpes?

I’m not a fan of the term ‘normal’ just because we’re so diverse and ‘normal’ always makes anyone who’s not fitting in feel anxious. In terms of how often we have sex, if we look to sex research most of us collecting data about sex are more interested in whether you enjoyed it rather than how often you do it. But within the range of ‘normal’ once a month is fine. Particularly if you’ve got young children in which case it might seem quite frequent! Again, my question for you would be if you enjoy it.

The advice above to the two other people asking about sex drive/lack of sex may help with some general ideas about addressing the lack of sex and wider ways to explore pleasure.

Your situation’s made different by the fact you’re negotiating trying to have sex while also being parents and your husband managing his herpes. So all of these things are definitely going to be related and affecting how often you’ll be able to (and feel like) having sex.

You mention that he has flare ups with his herpes when he is stressed, tired etc and having children is certainly going to aggravate this. I don’t know if he has spoken to his doctor about this but it might be worth a checkup to ensure there’s no other cause of the problem and to see if there are any other suggestions to help him manage this. If he’s not talked to the HVA I’d really recommend giving them a call, they’re very experienced, down to earth and friendly and will certainly have some ideas for him and you which may be about sex but also about coping with herpes, stress and parenting https://herpes.org.uk/

Q: We don’t have sex very often, I’d love to have more sex but he just isn’t interested. There’s little to no affection, no touching, no hugging. I’d love a more tactile relationship. I’m not a big fan of kissing though. I’m worrying that we’re just not compatible as lovers.

Petra: Has this always been the case – or something you’ve noticed more since pregnancy/parenthood? As you’ll see from our group chat and also the replies above, changes in desire, the amount you have sex and what kind of sex you end up having all do change once you have kids. So noting this may be a temporary change and identifying the reasons why you aren’t having sex (that may be as much about what’s going outside the bedroom as within it) could be a good place to begin.

If you’ve always wanted sex more it may be that this is how you both are. It doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t compatible as lovers if you can find ways to adapt to it – and if the rest of the relationship is good.

Often in advice giving this issue is approached as a deficit model, with the person who doesn’t want sex much being seen as having a desire problem, and that problem requiring a fix to bring them up to the same level of desire as their partner. Unfortunately this can often leave feeling people feeling pressured and resentful and inadequate which, unsurprisingly, don’t really make them feel like having sex much.

If your relationship is otherwise happy – so everything outside of this sex drive difference is pretty good most of the time – you could consider ways around this that might include masturbation on your own or looking to experience closeness and non sexual pleasure in terms of cuddles, bathing together, massage etc.

However, I note you say yours isn’t a very tactile relationship and there’s little affection, touching etc. You don’t have to kiss much if you don’t like it (lots of people don’t) but I wonder if what you are describing is not just a relationship where there’s little sex, but also where there’s not enough love for you?

It could be that parenthood is coming between you (as is often the case) or maybe he isn’t that interested in sex. He might be asexual or aromantic. Or it may be he isn’t that bothered about intimacy but particularly avoids touch for fear it has to lead to something more.

I don’t know if you have tried talking to him, but it might be worth explaining to him what you would like. Not just in terms of more sex, but more love, affection, touching and being close. Rather than this being a criticism of either of you, you might want to present this as wanting to connect now that you’re parents and what ways might he like to do this? You can think for yourself what you’d like to have done to you or share with him – sexually and nonsexually – and to suggest this. You’ll see in replies above I’ve given some more ideas on this and also some thoughts about how to broach this if you feel anxious or embarrassed.

If he is unwilling to discuss it. If he’s defensive or unpleasant. Or if he admits he just doesn’t feel much in the way of desire then your concern about being incompatible may be justified and at that point you’d need to think about where your limits lie within a relationship. I answered some similar problems on this before so the advice within these replies might also help you work out what you’d like to do http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9590372/My-man-doesnt-want-sex-anymore.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10133297/We-dont-have-sex-anymore.html

nappy

 

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