After the baby is born, many partners look forward to resuming their pre-pregnancy sex lives as soon as possible only to learn that they must wait. For some (especially the fathers), this can come as extremely unhappy news. And even after the doctor has given the okay for sexual intercourse, the time may not be right for the mother. So how does a new parent know when it’s okay — and when it'll be right — to have sex again?

A woman can’t have sexual intercourse for about four to six weeks after birth, even if there were absolutely no complications during the pregnancy or birth. And even after that, the woman may not yet be ready for sex; new mothers often want to avoid sex for completely non-sexual reasons:

  • Physical factors. Having a new baby who gets up several times during the night is tiring.

  • Emotional factors. The sudden decrease of hormones caused by giving birth can result in a case of “the blues.” Psychological factors having to do with becoming a mother may also play into this condition, especially if this is the woman’s first child.

This can be a frustrating time for the father, but he has to learn patience. Keeping the lines of communication open is important so the new mother can let him know how she feels and when she may be ready to try to resume having sex. Certainly he should feel free to masturbate to relieve his sexual tensions. And remember: a refusal is not a comment on your sexual prowess, but on the sometimes-difficult adjustment to parenthood.

Some couples actually split up because they never resume their sex life after having a baby, so make sure that this never happens to you. If you need to make special arrangements, such as hiring a baby sitter and going to a hotel to get reacquainted, you should do so.

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