The Case of the Disappearing Libido

January 27, 2009


After the birth of M I lost something very dear to me: my libido.  And it wasn’t just that I didn’t want to have sex anymore, it wasn’t even fun anymore.  In fact, it hurt. 

This was cause for panic.  Not only was it a problem in my marriage, but I had always been proud of my sexual liberation and contentment.  So I started asking around.  Turns out, most of my women friends who had recently had babies were experiencing similar things.  As one friend said, “I think I might be permanently broken down there.”

So at my six-month check-up with the OB/GYN I asked him about it.  He checked things out and said, “well, it looks ok but some women do find that they need reconstructive surgery after childbirth.”  Then he advised that if I were to go that route, I should wait until I was done having children, just so I don’t need to have the surgery multiple times.  Ok, is it just me or is surgery as a solution FUCKING LUDICROUS?! 

Women have been having babies for eons and have not had reconstructive surgery.  And you can’t tell me that all women stop enjoying sex after the first child.  So the idea of needing SURGERY to fix things is just insane to me.  And that surgery would be the only option offered is terrifying.

But my refusing the idea of surgery didn’t solve the problem- there was still no cravin’ for the lovin’.  And I was getting pretty damn frustrated.  Then, one day, I started thinking about my old line of work, providing services to survivors of sexual assault, and how one common issue survivors often struggle with is finding a way to enjoy sex again.  

Now, before people yell at me, I am not comparing child birth to sexual assault.  Not at all.  They are not even remotely alike- one is the worst kind of assault on your being, the other the greatest gift you can receive.  But the act of childbirth is a physically painful one and does leave you very sore, and kind of gun-shy.

So I thought, maybe I could take some of the techniques I had used with survivors and adjust them for my own situation.  So I worked on changing my mindset.  First, I would plan ahead.  Then, as I got closer to the time of hanky panky, I would start to think about the good things that were going to happen.  And once we started fooling around my main goal was to relax.  Taking deep breaths, staying in the moment.  And, slowly but surely, I started to find that my body responded, and responded with enthusiasm.   And the more I enjoyed, the more I relaxed, until I found it!  Turns out, my libido hadn’t moved away, it was just hiding under my rat-y old  nursing pajamas with my lingerie…


One Response to “The Case of the Disappearing Libido”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Love this post and your honesty. I may be unduly harsh, but typical of a male doctor to jump to a surgery conclusion first, thinking only of the body and not of the full person. My female doctor told me all that you stated was totally normal and to be expected, it’s just that no one talks about it. Also, on a very practical note, while nursing, your estrogen levels (responsible for your mojo) get VERY low and everything drys up. So the libido is probably still there, but just totally parched and blowing in the wind like dust-covered tumbleweed. At least, that’s what mine feels like anyway. 🙂 On a good note, lower levels of estrogen in the body while nursing, and letting the body lay “fallow” for a while from the menstrual cycle, may lead to a reduced risk of all types of female cancers. At least that’s what I have been told….

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