Dear Mr. Dad: I’m almost eight months pregnant and my sex life has completely disappeared. My husband used to want to make love all the time (so did I) and we did it a lot. But for the past four or five months, he hasn’t laid a hand on me. I actually feel quite sexy and he seems to agree, calling me beautiful and adorable. But that’s where it stops. To make matters worse, I looked at his phone and discovered that he’s been sexting with an old girlfriend. She lives in another country so there’s no way he’s physically cheating on me, but it still hurts. A lot. Is this my fault? What can I do to save my marriage?
A: In a word, no – your disappearing sex life is definitely not your fault, and neither is your husband’s sexting. That said, in honor of men’s health week, let me take you on a short tour of what may be happening inside your husband’s head.
Some men believe that sex exists solely for breeding purposes. Once that’s out of the way, it’s no longer necessary.
Some men (very few, actually) find their pregnant wife unattractive. If this is the case, it has nothing to do with you, although it’s hard to take it any other way.
He may be worried that you’re uncomfortable and don’t feel like having sex and is trying not to inconvenience you by starting something that he thinks you won’t want to finish.
Some men are afraid of hurting their pregnant wife and/or their growing baby. So, by not having sex with you, he’s protecting you.
A lot of men feel left out or excluded from the whole pregnancy process. Everyone is paying attention to you and you’re focusing on yourself and the baby – which is the right thing to do. But from your husband’s perspective, the person (you) who took care of so many of his needs no longer has the time or energy to do so anymore. Very, very few men have affairs during their wife’s pregnancy, but those who do often feel physically or emotionally neglected. (Although this isn’t what’s happening with you, it’s interesting to note that these pregnancy affairs are often with a close friend of the wife – someone who may also feel emotionally abandoned by her.) The fact that your husband is sexting his ex girlfriend is a huge red flag, and you’ve got every reason to feel cheated and betrayed. That must stop immediately.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get your sex life back on track.
Talk to him. Come straight out and ask him what’s happening. Don’t do this in an accusing way – that’ll just make him defensive. Instead, tell him how much you miss him and ask him to help come up with a plan to get this important part of your relationship back on track.
Reassure him. If it turns out that he’s in the afraid-of-hurting-you category, explain that unless your OB has said otherwise or you’re having extremely rough sex, there’s no danger to you or the baby. If he doesn’t believe you, your OB will be glad to clarify.
Be aggressive. If he’s in the not-wanting-to-bother-you category, tell him that you really do feel sexy and you’d like to make love. Send him some risque texts or emails. It’s obvious that he hasn’t lost his sex drive completely – or he wouldn’t be communicating with his ex. Your taking the initiative and letting him know that you’re very attracted to him may be the spark that reignites the passion that’ll get you both back in the saddle.
Read Armin Brott’s blog at www.DadSoup.com, follow him on Twitter, @mrdad