Q: After my delivery, I put on weight and it stayed with me. My husband has hardly been intimate with me since the baby was born. He seems to have lost interest in me. I can see that he indulges in watching porn in the bathroom but won’t come to me. What’s wrong with him?
Ans: What makes you think that the reason for your husband’s apparent disinterest in you is your weight gain? Maybe you are the only one having an issue with it while he is just waiting for your ‘go ahead’. Very often women are more engaged in body shaming and body surveillance than men. Believe it or not, men love curves. Start by finding out whether it is you judging yourself or your husband.
Yes, it is very common for men’s libido to change after their partner has given birth but the reasons are different from a few extra pounds on your body. Physiologically men’s testosterone levels fall when they become fathers and mother’s oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone, is produced for, and primarily exchanged with the child.
Maybe you are signalling less oxytocin to him and that’s all he needs. Psychologically, men are also concerned about causing pain to their partners or about having sex with the new baby around. Sometimes stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue set in and it is easier to watch porn for a few minutes instead of engaging with a human in an intimate way. Have you told him that you are ready and interested in being intimate with him?
You might want to tell him that you need some encouragement, because you are not feeling very attractive at the moment. Start also making some time for kissing and cuddling to stimulate all the intimacy hormones. Privacy and couple time are important to feel relaxed. You both are unlikely to feel like sex if your baby is screaming in the background.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach and an Independent People and Culture Specialist focusing on relationships, sexuality, youth and social media in South Asia. Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)