THE BLOG

When Your Sex Life Is Changing: Be a New Father and Still a Lover

28/10/2014 11:54 GMT | Updated 27/12/2014 10:59 GMT

With the birth of your (first) child, life changes completely. You'll probably feel the joy and happiness of being a father but also experience the challenges of being exhausted, tired and sometimes low. You and your partner's sex life changes too. Let's check out what's happening by starting to look at breastfeeding: The vast majority of men understand the importance of breastfeeding and are a supportive advocate before the birth.

However, once the baby is born it can suddenly become difficult to see you partner's breasts, that you enjoyed in intimate lovemaking before, being "out in the open" a lot and, rather than being there for sexual pleasure, now are needed to feed the baby. Jealousy is not a nice feeling to have. But many women feel sensitive and don't want their partner to touch their breasts, or feel uncomfortable by them leaking milk.

It can only be beneficial for both partners to acknowledge these feelings (they can be especially strong when own attachment needs have not been met, some men find it healing here when they can suckle their woman's breasts a little every once in a while, if she is happy with that).

Men can still be close to their family during breastfeeding by offering drinks or snacks for the exhausted mother or simply by snuggling up close and enjoying the intimate moment.

Meryn Callander writes

the essential value of breastfeeding is not just about nutrition but rather the whole bonding and attachment process...is a critical preventive factor in curbing the tide of the next generation of men leaving.

In her book "Why Dads Leave: Insights and resources for when partners become parents," she explains the phenomenon that she calls Dynamic of Disappearing Dads (DDD), looking at the underlying issues why many men leave emotionally or physically once they have a child. Her main argument is that because many of us were insecurely attached (meaning we haven't had our need for physical and emotional closeness met) to our parents as babies, we seek to meet these basic human needs with our partners, which works well until we become parents.

Then suddenly the exclusive love and physical closeness we needed to feel self-worth cannot be provided as much as before and therefore, especially men, get depressed or addicted to things that numb these emotions of rejection and jealousy. As a result they leave the family emotionally or physically. (Please read further After the Babymoon - When Fathers Get Depressed)

So, how can we turn things around? How can you enjoy intimate moments with your partner, even when life is full? I believe Tantra, especially for exhausted and tired parents, is an excellent way to enjoy intimacy again without the pressure that many parents feel when it comes to making love. Tantra originates in India. It means "woven together" or "connecting with inner self".

One of the first practices you might try, for example, is 'soul gazing'. Find some quiet space in your house and sit face to face with your partner. Look into each other's eyes. That could be the first step (and it's such a beautiful thing to do) to reconnect with another person. From here, once you made that deep connection, it is so much easier to feel what the other likes.

Often parents worry whether bed sharing with their baby prevents couples from having a fulfilling sex life. Well, there are many other places around the house you could try. Just take the baby phone with you and find your 'secret, comfy spot'.

Tom Hodgkinson's (author of the "The Idle Parent") suggests to just go to bed early!

Well rested parents mean a more manageable day with the kids ahead as well as less irritated and snapping at each other parents.

And of course that time can then be spent relaxing, if you feel like sex, great, if not great too! In bed you can cuddle up, read, write, give each other a massage, read to one another etc. You are much more likely to be in the mood for sex, when relaxed and emotionally close.

Avoid technical gadgets in your bedroom. All digital devices work as a distraction, but in bed together you want to give your partner attention and spend time as a couple.

Parents need to get creative and patient when it comes to sex. I certainly found that the less couples stress about it and accept what it is and are honest with each other, the more they enjoyed the intimacy they had.

Maybe you have decided to schedule in regular "sex dates" in the week, just so that you get to have any at all. Or you feel that you are not ready for it just yet. Often just sharing the warmth of the other's skin is enough to recharge and get closer again, whatever you decide, make sure you talk about it!