That’s normal. A recent Canadian study found that 90 per cent of couples with babies between the ages of three months and 12 months reported at least 10 sexual concerns (like frequency) that they found moderately distressing.
It’s also perfectly normal for both of you to feel no desire for sex whatsoever, considering the all-consuming effort and exhaustion of keeping your new baby alive.
But, if you want to have more sex, and both you and your partner are on board, then science has offered up a tip: change more diapers. Really!
A few recent studies highlighted this week by Psychology Today suggest that when a mom’s partner starts picking up some slack with child-care duties, that couple sees improvements in the bedroom.
“Results indicate that men’s performance of child care is generally associated with more satisfaction with the division of child care, more satisfying sexual relationships, and higher quality relationships,” authors wrote in a 2016 study published in Gender & Society.
They also noted equal child-care arrangements have positive consequences for both moms and dads.
“For new fathers who find themselves at the bottom of the post-baby relationship satisfaction dip, a few small changes could have significant payoffs,” clinical psychology graduate student Daniel Flint wrote in Psychology Today.
And being supportive doesn’t just improve your sex life.
A 2019 Swedish study showed that when fathers take time off work after their partners have a baby, it improves a new mom’s physical and mental health. That’s important, given that nearly one in four Canadian moms experience postpartum depression or anxiety in the months after giving birth.
Spending more time with your new baby (whether that’s by taking parental leave or just spending solo time being responsible for the little one) also benefits dads and partners.
“It establishes a life-long pattern of caregiving and nurturing. The father who takes parental leave develops much more quickly the confidence that there isn’t a single job, other than breastfeeding, that he can’t do well, and as well as a mother can do,” Dr. Michael Kaufman, Toronto author of The Time Has Come: Why Men Must Join The Gender Equality Revolution, previously told HuffPost Canada.
Even baby benefits when partners step up. A 2017 Australian study found that a dad’s bond with his baby affects the wellbeing of the entire family.
“If you’re looking at the long-term impact of the child, the father is critical. It’s tragic we don’t recognize the importance of fathers more,” researcher Dawson Cooke told Perth Now.
Watch: It’s no coincidence the world’s sexiest man is also an incredible dad. Story continues below.
But circling back to sex, it’s critical that neither parent pushes it until you’re both into the idea.
Nearly a third of millennial moms (31 per cent) say they had postpartum sex with their partners before they felt ready, according to Motherly’s 2019 State of Motherhood Survey.
But how soon is too soon? It can vary. About 40 per cent of the moms in Motherly’s survey said they didn’t feel ready for six months to a year. When HuffPost Canada spoke to a handful of new moms about how long they waited to have sex, those timeframes ranged anywhere from two weeks to two years.
So, yes, for a variety of reasons, please do change more diapers. But also remember that intimacy doesn’t just have to be about sex.