So when I hear new moms complain about that ever-present struggle of getting their sexy back after baby, I can’t help but sympathize.
After three babies and currently growing my fourth (why does that sound so weird, even if it’s the truth?), I know that there will come a period during my pregnancy when the “Don’t touch me” stage will begin, only to morph into the “Are you kidding me?!” stage after I pop that kid out.
I am just not someone who bounces back well after a baby, neither in the body department, nor, apparently, in the bedroom department.
And while I’m (mostly) OK with that, because I (mostly) know I’ll get there eventually and I have a (mostly) wonderful, patient, and understanding husband, I can’t help but feel a teensy bit of guilt over my lack of enthusiasm in the romance department. I definitely worry if I’m “normal” or if our marriage will suffer, or if heaven forbid, there’s something wrong with me.
But luckily for me, a recent study shows that it’s not just new moms like me who struggle with re-kindling the fire after a baby.
Turns out, new dads have trouble in the bedroom, too.
The study, conducted by my favorite college of all time (even though I only attended there in my dreams), Notre Dame University, studied the hormones and sex patterns of new fathers in the Philippines.
In an interesting twist, the study found that men with the highest levels of testosterone were most likely to become fathers (perhaps because testosterone fuels sex drive), but after becoming dads through the deed, the men’s testosterone levels actually dropped, leading to — you guessed it — less sex.
Not only did the testosterone levels drop, but the men also had an increase in the hormone called prolactin, which honestly, I didn’t even know men had. As you may have guessed, prolactin is the hormone responsible for a mother’s breast milk production, but apparently, men also have it and researchers theorize that it helps men be more caring, emphatic fathers. Prolactin has also found to suppress the sex drive in women, so it’s no surprise if it has the same effect on men.
I am always intrigued by these types of studies that show that it’s not just women who are “hormonal” during pregnancy — it’s also men. They experience their own type of pregnancy and obviously, hormonal changes after birth as well. And the findings make sense; it would be in the best favor of the women and the baby if the man wasn’t as sexually-driven as he was before, trying to mate with another female. Staying = survival. And in the case for relationships, ladies, fear not: Your partner may be just as content to snuggle or talk about how cute your baby is for the zillionth time instead of making love. So, pass the ice cream, everyone!
But, you should also know that the study showed that the hormonal changes don’t last forever — they return to “normal” in about a year or two.
Just in time for another baby, of course.