A friend, Alison, 38, discovered that her husband Graham, 41, no longer sees her as desirable. He loves her, but lust is a thing of the past. During six years of marriage they’ve had a great sex life. This changed when they had a baby.
Graham was sensitive to Alison’s wellbeing during labour (which had been long and difficult) and over the four months since the birth. Alison said a month after the birth that this made her feel treasured.
However, she noticed that Graham was resisting sex. She confided her fears that he no longer found her attractive, although that didn’t equate with his remarks that she “made a beautiful mother”. I suggested coaxing him with romance. Maybe he hadn’t wanted to rush her? One candlelit dinner later, as the baby slept, Alison suggested they seize the moment. But Graham again resisted and it occured to me that he may have a Madonna complex: only seeing Alison as mother and no longer as a lover, which is quite common.
My tips to address this include banning excessive “baby talk”. Chat about grown-up topics, too. It’s also important to not always be seen in your nursing bra; get out the seductive gear when you feel up to it. Flirtatious texts and romantic gestures help, too.
Thankfully by carving out more adult time, and with gentle reminders that they were still the same couple – not simply parents – Graham slowly came round to the idea that it was fine to see Alison as desirable and the mother of his child. Otherwise they may have needed couples’ counselling.