Tracey Cox talks to mothers who lost their libido after childbirth

Tracey Cox talks to mothers who lost their libido after childbirth

December 20, 2023

‘The baby arrived and my sex drive left’: TRACEY COX hears from mothers whose libidos have dipped after giving birth (and reveals how to get your mojo back)

  • The relationship expert uncovers why some mothers have lost their sex drive
  • READ MORE: Tracey Cox reveals 4 reasons why so many women can’t climax

‘Help! The baby arrived and my sex drive went. I haven’t felt like sex since’.

Emails like this plop into my inbox with dogged regularity – and they have since I started writing about sex thirty years ago.

We don’t talk about it directly (or enough) but children put more strain on your relationship and sex life than you ever dreamed possible.

Most potential parents assume there’s exhaustion and sleep deprivation but underestimate the monotony, boredom and frustration that parenting brings. 

The nagging anxiety that never leaves you. That your needs become secondary as your life becomes reorganised around the child.

UK relationship expert Tracey Cox speaks to new mothers who have lost their sex drive (Stock image)

There’s no spontaneity, no privacy, no freedom, no uninterrupted couple time. The stress and strain of pregnancy and birth on her body can be intense and last much longer than you both expected. 

Is it any wonder parents with kids spend an average of just 20 minutes a week being intimate?

Studies show that on a personal level, children are likely to make you happier rather than less happy. The opposite is true about the effect of parenting on your sex life.

I asked three mothers to tell me their experience of sex after children. Here’s what they told me (and it wasn’t great).


‘We’ve had sex six times in two years, and I wish I never had to do it again’.

Carrie, 34, has been married eight years and has a two-year-old daughter.

‘I expected it to be hard straight after giving birth and it was. I felt totally “touched out”. Even an affectionate hug from my husband felt too much for me. My body felt like a work horse, there to serve others.

‘When we were allowed to have sex, I was dreading it. I used to enjoy sex previously, but childbirth changed everything. The actual birth was OK but I had no idea how much breast feeding would impact how I felt about sex. 

The expert (pictured)has also provided advice for couples trying to get their ‘mojo’ back, including tips on how to ease into intimacy

‘I still find my husband very attractive but having a baby hanging off your breasts all day…the last thing I wanted was his mouth doing the same at night. 


Women aren’t the only ones who feel thrown by parenting. Here’s what new father Myles, 26, told me.

‘Let me preface this by saying I love my son more than anything in the world and can’t imagine a world without him in it. But, dear God, please can I have my wife back? I don’t feel like I have a rival for my affection, I feel replaced.

‘I understand that things have radically changed. At the start when I felt like sex, it felt wrong to even suggest it. My wife was now the mother of my child. A different person. When I did tentatively suggest that it had been three months from the birth and maybe time to start again, she glared at me. I knew she was thinking, “You insensitive b*****d! Can’t you see how exhausted, stressed and unhinged I am already?”.

‘Thing is, I did understand and what I really wanted was her attention. I feel like I’ve lost my best friend and lover. I’m not even sure she likes me anymore.

‘It’s been 18-months since we last had intercourse. I’ve tried talking about our lack of sex with her but she shuts me down. She says she doesn’t feel attractive anymore, but I can’t see that her body has changed that much. I wonder if she ever really enjoyed having sex and this is just a good excuse to avoid it.

‘I can’t see any other option but to wait and see if this is something she’ll just pass through. I won’t cheat but I miss sex and I miss having her to myself. I feel resentful having to satisfy myself purely through porn.

‘I’ve spoken to other new dads and this is a common scenario. We all feel guilty for feeling like our needs aren’t being considered but that’s how we feel’.

‘I don’t know if he was turned on by how big my breasts were or trying to prove my breasts were “his” but every time we did have sex, he’d spend a ridiculous amount of time focusing on them. It disgusted me.

‘I view my body so differently now. It doesn’t feel like something that can provide or receive adult pleasure. Pleasure requires a healthy amount of selfish hedonism. 

‘I find it impossible to stop being a mum to become a lover: one part of me is always listening, always alert to my child. I feel more like I’m here to be a servant to her. 

‘I don’t mind, to be honest. I knew I would love my daughter, but I didn’t realise just how besotted I would be. My world has shrunk to just her and I – my husband is superfluous. I forgot he was even around for the first six months.

‘I know it’s been hard on him. He said I don’t just put my daughter first, his needs ceased to exist. He feels abandoned, my life used to revolve around him, now he barely gets a look in.

‘My daughter is now two years old. We’ve had sex six times in that entire time. The first time after the birth, my husband said penetration felt like he was “putting his penis into a cutlery drawer, with all the knives turned blade up”. 

‘That didn’t make me feel great, like somehow it was my fault. I made such an effort to do it and that was my reward. Every time since, I’ve been tense and it’s felt uncomfortable. 

‘I grit my teeth until it’s done and, the way I feel right now, I wish I never had to do it ever again. I know I might lose my husband if this continues for much longer but I don’t honestly care’.


‘I don’t feel sexy or beautiful anymore. My body is trashed’.

Alice is 29 and has been married for five years.

‘We didn’t just have good sex before the baby, we had fantastic sex. I thought I’d be dying for it the minute the six-week wait period was over. What I didn’t count on was the birth trauma: I tore from end to end.

‘We tried having intercourse about two months in and it really hurt – and I mean really hurt. It felt like my vagina was now made of sandpaper or razor blades. 

‘Every time we’ve attempted sex since then, I feel anxious and tense, almost like I’m about to have a panic attack.

‘I hate feeling like this and I’m so upset by what’s happened. My husband has never pressured me to have sex but I feel like I’m letting the side down. 


It can be done with a little effort from both of you.

Have realistic expectations. Parenting is an all-consuming activity, there’s not much room for anything else. Expect that sex is going to be scarce for the first two years at least.

Don’t compete for the ‘I’m worse off’ award. It’s hard for both of you so don’t play martyr or try to score points. Instead, work together as a team.

Talk about what’s happening. It will stop you both panicking. Most people are happy to put up with no sex for a while, so long as they know it will return at no point. It’s when sex stops and there’s no talk of it ever resuming that threatens relationships.

Set, short achievable goals. Start kissing again. Try non-sexual touching or ‘stroking without intent’. This means caressing each other’s body with the understanding that it won’t lead to sex. You’re doing it simply to connect and because it feels nice.

Your old sex life is gone, create a new one. No couple is ever the same after a baby. But our sex lives are always shifting and changing in response to life events. See it as the chance to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Court each other like you did at the start.

He needs to stop thinking of sex as intercourse. If it’s painful, stop making it the main event. Have your orgasms through oral sex or using a vibrator. Women happily adapt to this change, men fight it. For men, sex means putting their penis in something. Sex works best post birth if it moves more into the ‘female’ model of sexual satisfaction. More focus on the journey and foreplay, less on penetration and orgasm.

You both need time together without the baby. This means fobbing your child off (to your parents, other friends with kids, a baby sitter), not just for ‘special occasions’ but a few hours each week or fortnight. Don’t spend it talking about your kids. Have dinner out. Share some wine. Watch a movie. Once you reconnect, it will feel more natural to spend that time having sex.

Have some kind of sexual contact, even if you don’t feel like it. Having sex is a habit. Get back into it by having low-effort sex, even if it’s the last thing you feel like. Watch him masturbate. Use a vibrator on yourself. Remember, sex doesn’t mean intercourse and sex doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle and end.

‘Sex was so important to us as a couple, we had such fun doing it. We were playful and affectionate, and I miss that so much. We’re definitely not as close and that terrifies me.

‘I don’t feel myself. I don’t feel sexy or beautiful anymore and he doesn’t understand. I’m not sure I loved my body before I got pregnant but even the parts I did like are now trashed. 

‘I’ve got horrible folds of loose skin on my stomach, stretch marks and if one my person tells me, unprompted, not to worry, that I will lose the baby weight, I think I’ll punch them.

‘Women also don’t talk about how much a child satisfies your need to be touched. There’s still caressing and squeezing and kissing, but now it’s between your child and you. I’m trying so hard to get back to how I was, but I worry that’s never going to happen’.


‘He’s the one who doesn’t want it and that’s humiliating’.

Zara is 40 and been with her partner for 12 years.

‘All my friends with children moan about how awful it is that their partners badger them for sex. I secretly think how lucky they are. 

‘It’s utterly humiliating when you’re the mum with kids and your partner is the one turning to face the wall.

‘I had a difficult birth and he was watching. I wonder if that’s what did it. He did say at the time – I thought jokingly – not to ever expect oral sex again.

‘I waited for him to make a move after the birth, and nothing happened after four months. I asked him if he wanted to have sex and he said he thought it was too soon and I shouldn’t feel pressured. I said I wanted to do it and missed us being intimate, but he fobbed me off.

‘Since then, it’s been a string of excuses. He’s stressed, he’s tired, he’s been working too hard. Before the baby, we’d have sex three times a week.

‘I assume it’s because he’s no longer sexually attracted to me. I don’t think I look any different: I weigh the same and look after myself. I asked a friend who is a new Dad and he said it will be to do with him trying to cope with being a father. 

‘That it’s stressful and men feel tremendously responsible for providing for the mother and child. Maybe. He won’t talk to me about it so I don’t know what’s going on. I feel sad and desperate. We’re roommates with a baby. A baby he clearly loves much more than me.

‘It’s like all the attention he used to have for me, now goes to our child. Our son gets all the love and attention, I’m just the mum. 

‘He walks in at the end of the day and barely makes eye contact with me. When it’s just us, all he wants to talk about is the baby. I ask him if he still loves me, and he says “of course” and that’s that. 

‘I’m not suggesting sex anymore. I feel my self-worth slipping away each time he says no.’

Need help with your relationships? Visit for Tracey’s advice on love and sex. You’ll find great gift ideas at Search’ Tracey Cox’ to find Tracey Cox supersex and Tracey Cox Edge products.

Source: Read Full Article