Anyone who's ever witnessed from the outside the harried routine of new parents — their clothes in disarray, their eyes bloodshot from sleep deprivation — might believe that having kids means saying "sayonara" to your sex life. And while it won't disappear completely, your sex life will surely change once you welcome a baby into your family.
"At times, a couple may feel like their sex life should take a back seat because their child should take priority," explains certified sex therapist and couples psychotherapist Sari Cooper. "There may be difficulty wearing two hats — the sexually seductive or responsive spouse and the responsible, attentive parent who is concerned about getting it done superbly."
After all, if you feel like you have to choose between caring for your baby or your husband's needs, the baby will win, hands down. "Some men feel like their needs have been put aside and that they don't have as much to contribute to the care of a newborn," Cooper says. " If this isn't discussed openly, resentment can build between a couple."
It's also normal to feel too pooped for explosive sex, Cooper says, no matter how hot your sex life was before your baby. "Some women feel fatigued and perhaps emotionally strained by the birth and the physical recovery following," she explains.
And don't forget you'll no longer be logging a solid eight hours of sleep each night. "Lack of sleep is the precursor to many mood challenges," Cooper says. "So when one or both partners are not getting enough sleep, which is common with a newborn, they can be irritable, depressed and more anxious." And that's not exactly a recipe for sexy time.
But the sex changes and challenges you'll face once you have a baby aren't all bad. Having a child can be life-fulfilling and affirming, says Cooper, and that joy can spill over into all aspects of your life — even your sex life. "Having a baby allows you to experience yourself and your partner as giving, playful and selfless in ways you hadn't seen before," she says.
"Children give parents a possibility of creating a certain type of meaning and hope for the future of their lives," she continues. "They also are innocent and provide parents the opportunity for fun, playfulness, creativity and more opportunities of sharing their love."