After I gave birth to my daughter my sex drive decreased. I am 27. It's a problem in my relationship with my husband. I don't like to cuddle and I barely like to kiss. I know that I can control this, but I don't know how. Do I need therapy?
Women commonly report loss of sex drive after having a child and there are a few possible contributors: hormonal changes, lifestyle changes, and of course, emotional changes. It's important to understand physiological factors whenever you feel a loss of libido. Physicians often look for hormonal fluctuations after a pregnancy. However, there may be other factors such as lifestyle adjustments contributing to the problem.
You may be fatigued. Perhaps your sleep and eating habits have changed. If you're tired and distracted, sex gets relegated to the back burner. The energy exerted in the first year of motherhood may be an important part of the libido puzzle. Or you may have a diminished emotional connection with your husband. It is possible that low libido is a temporary situation—and if you don't put too many demands on yourself and your husband, you might find time to connect more (and better).
There are common emotional circumstances that might also affect sex drive, including anxiety, resentment, or depression.
At this point, you may feel anxiety about sex. If you put pressure on yourself to feel sexy—that pressure may kill your enjoyment. If you're spying on your own libido ("Come on, body, let's get going") you may be distracting yourself from the pleasurable sensations that might arise when you get close.
You may feel resentful toward your husband if he pressures you to be sexier—again, this may eradicate the possibility of feeling aroused. If there are issues between you, work on them in a supportive and loving manner. Make time for yourself as a couple, and commit to working on these issues together.
If you feel depressed about sex, about your work schedule, and responsibilities, you may benefit from psychotherapy focusing on handling the various challenges you face. Here are some ways to regain your sex drive:
- See a physician to rule out hormonal imbalances.
- Refuse the pressure to feel sexy when you don't—but also, let yourself feel sexy when you do.
- Think of arousing things—get yourself aroused even a little, and build on it regularly.
- Work on ridding anxiety, depression, and resentment, by giving yourself the right not to feel sexually aroused.
- Keep communication with your husband open and supportive.
- Make time for erotic adventure—if your husband isn't the sexiest guy, don't give up—teach him what you like and don't like.
If you have trouble getting over resentment and anxiety, consider finding a therapist—perhaps one who also can help with attitudes toward sex.
To find a therapist near you, go to Psychology Today's Therapy Directory and type in your zip code.