Couples, let alone expectant couples, have a tough time talking about sex in great detail. The word alone instills a feeling of uneasiness. People feel so uncomfortable simply saying the word “sex” that it is easier to have sex than it is to talk about it.
For many men, it is easier to bring up the word “sex” with friends than it is to talk about it with their girlfriend or spouse. And that is because men joke, not talk, about sex. Okay, I can’t resist: How often do men like to have sex?
Only on days that start with “T”: Tuesday and Thursday, Taturday and Tunday, Today and Tomorrow.
But in a marriage, sex is no joking matter. It is a big deal. And it is even a bigger issue when married couples enter the world of parenthood.
Sex is one of four major topics couples don’t talk about enough before and after marriage. (The other three are finances, parenting philosophy, and religion.) I understand that bringing up an intimate, lengthy discussion about sex to your wife is not easy. But the more a person ignores the subject, the more uncomfortable it is to have a conversation about it.
Remember, sex, and the intimacy and romance that comes with it, is what brought you and your wife closer together and into wedlock. After wedlock sex is necessary in nurturing and strengthening the bond in your marriage. Marriage without sex is a lonely feeling and can tear a couple apart.
There is a legitimate reason couples never establish a habit of discussing sex. During the teenage years, sex education took a “birds-and-the-bees” approach that involved fear-mongering tactics. Sex was also presented more as a dirty or bad act. Any serious conversation about the pros and benefits of sex was never brought up. The good news is that it is not too late to start talking about sex and renew a positive attitude about it!
So how do you begin?
Well, either you or your wife has to break the ice. If you wait for her, the conversation may never come up. This was the case in my marriage. So I made the first move. I figured I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain. My conversations with Tina led me to come up with the following list that compares the different ways men and women think about and view sex before and during pregnancy. I think this brief list will help you feel more comfortable discussing sex with your wife.
What a woman may not know about how a man really feels about sex
A man thinks about sex more often, has no control over his sex drive or blood flow to his penis (just as a woman has not control over her PMS), and can have as many as two or three spontaneous erections a day. When a man does not have sex, he suffers from MSB – Multiple Sperm Backup. Sex is good exercise and more physical than emotional. Still, the word “sex” is synonymous with intimacy. Sex is the language of intimacy and is how a man expresses his feelings about a woman. A man is visual and more interested in the deed. Sex is also a stress reliever; the time a husband spends having sex with his wife is an escape from reality.
What a woman (or man) may not know about a man’s feelings about sex after pregnancy
Not every husband is turned on by his wife’s pregnancy. An expectant dad’s sex drive may diminish because he fears he may hurt the baby. He may be turned off by a growing abdomen, leaking breasts, or symptoms of pregnancy his wife is experiencing, like nausea (hardly an aphrodisiac). He may feel awkward because it feels like someone else is in the room, especially if he knows the baby is a girl. And yes, a husband may be aroused by his pregnant wife’s new physique.
What a man may not know about how a woman really feels about sex
The environment influences a woman’s sex drive, and the ceremony of sex is more important than the deed. Sex is work and more emotional than physical. The word sex is not synonymous with intimacy. A woman’s sexual desire originates between her ears, not between her legs.
What a man (or woman) may not know about sex during the pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman suffers from PMS, and her mood swings increase. Her body, especially her breasts, may become more sensitive to touch. She may struggle with self-esteem and feel unattractive due to weight gain. Fatigue may make it difficult for her to find the energy to have sex. She may feel that a mother isn’t supposed to have sex and also fear hurting the baby. And, yes, a wife’s sex drive can also increase during pregnancy.
The challenging issues a couple may run into is that only one of the spouse’s sex drive stays the same or increases while the other has no interest in sex. Or a couple’s timing may be off. A dad may be in the mood but the wife may not, and vice versa.
Then there is the issue of a pregnant woman not having the ability to engage in sex for health reasons. In this case, a husband may need to resort to short-term celibacy, which a man has experienced before during his single years.
Regardless of a couple’s situation, the sex issue is resolvable through a greater understanding of each other’s feelings and needs through good communication. No matter how uncomfortable a new mom and dad may be, it is important to honestly discuss how each of them really feels about sex.
Excerpted from 30 Things Future Dads Should Know About Pregnancy © 2010 Turner Publishing Company