When two people become a couple, sexuality is their private language of love. It’s through their sex life that they express their complicity, but it’s also an area where existing tensions can be revealed. A couple’s sexuality reflects what they are as a couple, and it’s the best way to strengthen the relationship.
Since sexuality itself is quite complex, it’s only normal for a phase so full of changes, like the perinatal period, to bring on sexuality changes in your relationship.
So many disruptions!
In addition to all the physical and hormonal changes women go through during the different phases of maternity (childbearing, giving birth, breastfeeding), they also go through many psychological, emotional, social and relational changes. All the changes the father goes through and the stress that comes with parenthood also need to be added to the mix.
Becoming parents is a complete and total metamorphosis. As a result, the couple must go through a certain adaptation to stay on the same page. Questions may start to emerge. How is sexuality lived during these stages of life? How can you find balance in your relationship and keep a fulfilling sex life?
When we talk about perinatal sexuality, we mainly talk about the woman’s physical changes. We often mention hormones that suppress libido or give nausea, the belly that is too round and doesn’t allow for much movement or the healing of the perineum. We also hear a lot about psychological changes: self-esteem related to body image, parental stress and responsibilities, intense fatigue, postpartum depression, fear of losing freedom, the dichotomy between being a mother and a lover.
New roles, new expectations
All these changes are real and clearly explain the upheavals you can live as a parent. But there are also new roles you need to play with new expectations and obligations. For example, the family organisation and task sharing will have to be reconsidered. Although men seem to agree with an equal division of the tasks, women usually end up back in the kitchen and doing laundry once they become mothers. Furthermore, devoting themselves body and soul to motherhood, mothers will need to be recognized in this situation. Unfortunately, some men feel like the mother is on “vacation”. These new expectations and needs can bring on extra tensions, which won’t help with the already low libido.
Unfortunately, women who experience an important drop in libido often feel guilty and ashamed. It’s easy to feel the pressure to become a “sexual beast” again. Many women will engage in sexual relations just to please their spouse, simulating an orgasm if need be. A couple that doesn’t come together sexually will suffer from it, and it will put a distance between the partners.
How to get out of this dead end?
It is essential for the couple to be able to talk freely and openly about this. Express your needs, desires, expectations and fears. Listen to your partner with empathy for what he/she has gone through. By expressing and listening to each other, finding constructive solutions becomes possible. When transitioning from being a couple to being a family, it’s important to rediscover get to know each other again. Spending quality time together and having tender, loving and affectionate moments becomes essential.