Sex, Motherhood & Magazines

I have a bone to pick with baby and pregnancy magazines. When I was pregnant with Little N, I bought loads. I'd get excited when the new issues came out each month. I would spend hours poring over them, circling all the things I wanted to buy, and filling my head with totally unrealistic ideas of what having a baby would be like.
 
At some point those magazines would do a relationships feature. And in each one the point of the feature was how to keep the spark alive in the bedroom. In a nutshell: we must keep our sex lives the same as what they were pre-pregnancy, or our relationships will suffer. 



Those articles result in a lot of stress and pressure for many women. During pregnancy lots of women find that their libido takes a huge nose-dive. It's hardly surprising when you spend most of your time feeling sick, or tired, or swollen, or anaemic, or *insertpregnancywoehere*.
 
Some women experience the opposite and their libido goes off the charts - hurrah for those ladies! But it's a misconception that it's like that for everyone. 
 
And once baby is here we're suddenly dealing with a lot more cooking, cleaning and washing, and we’re expected to do it all on barely any sleep. It's hardly surprising that sex is not top of our list of priorities.
 
It's those articles that I have a problem with. They talk a lot about how your partner still has "needs" and that if your libido has plummeted then you should try to please them in other ways. And then the poor, neglected, sex-deprived partner reads this and says, 'hey honey, your magazines say we should be doing xyz.'
 
Excuse me?!
 
How about if a woman doesn't want to have sex, you let her be.
 
And how about their partners are simply supportive and respectful of that.
 
She doesn't have to "try" to do anything, other than take care of herself and her baby, and the sex will happen when both parties want to.
 
It would be much better if those articles simply explained that it's totally normal to experience a lower - or complete lack of - sex drive during pregnancy and for quite some time post-natally.
 
Rather than telling women that they still need to fulfil their partners' "needs" they could give advice and ideas so that partners can better understand and support women during pregnancy and once the baby is here.
 
And really, those "needs" are not needs at all: they're wants. You'll cope without sex. Nutrition, however, is a need. Sleep is also a need. You need them both to survive but they're two things, particularly the latter, that mothers end up sacrificing to some degree.
 
A less tired, less stressed and well supported mother is more likely to find her mojo than one who is shattered and feeling pressured.  After all, we're growing, nurturing and raising a whole other human being and that's a pretty exhausting, albeit amazing, achievement!
 
So magazine writers, please, I beg you, for the sanity of sleep-deprived mothers and pregnant women everywhere, rethink your relationship features!
 

Has your relationship changed since becoming a mother?

 


99 comments

  1. Great post! I totally agree as mums we have so much on our plate and to tick off from day to day, Sex is definitely the last thing on my mind ha! Although i definitely went through a stage of having no Labido for a few years, thankfully now my children are older and I'm getting the hang of this mother / housewife business I'm starting to feel more like myself in the bedroom YAY!!!! :)

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    1. Oh good for you Claire! It is a bit of a shock to the system eh! x

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  2. Loved this. I do agree there's a huge push for people to get the spark back in their relationship when it might not be gone it's just changed! Great read x

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    1. Thanks Alice, so glad you enjoyed the read x

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  3. Great post. I don't think one should try and live their lives as if no changes are happening to your body during pregnancy.One should embrace motherhood and accept that sex life will change as will the demand.

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    1. Thanks Nayna. Parenthood brings about so much change x

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  4. I imagine it does put a lot of pressure on new mums and that is definitely not something that they need.

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    1. Thanks Dannii, I think it's important that parents know it's okay if things change for a little while x

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  5. Totally agree!!!! I really didn't feel sexy or remotely attractive during pregnancy which consequently meant I didn't want to have sex and didn't want to be looked at as being "sexy." But I too felt the pressure, and usually felt really uncomfortable trying to be this hot little vixen when really I just wanted to cuddle up with a back massage because my whole body hurt.

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    1. Oh bless you! The changes to our bodies are tough eh! x

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  6. AMEN to that, i completely agree with every word! It's hard enough being a new mother without the added pressure of sex! Things inevitably change after having children, you just have to embrace life and adapt your relationship accordingly. xx

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  7. AMEN to this! It's not just those magazines either, I think the media and society in general puts a huge pressure on us to feel like we should be having a lot of sex. It's certainly something I've felt the weight of more recently and my son is 5 years old!

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    1. I don't things will ever be the same for me as pre-baby, but it's all about compromise and understanding isn't it x

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  8. My son is 2 1/2 and my mojo never really went back to how it was before. I'm now pregnant with baby number 2 and my libido is non existent! I think hubby knows to be more respectful this time round...

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    1. Oh bless you, I feel the same! It's good that your hubby is understanding though x

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  9. I'm sure a lot of women who have been through pregnancy will agree with you :) x

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  10. Well said. I didn't even dream of sex while pregnant. I was just too uncomfortable.

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    1. Pregnancy is wonderful but sure does take its toll on our bodies!x

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  11. Do you know I went to the Doctor (female) for my post birth six week check and she asked about sex. I said actually my (then) partner wanted it and I was just worn out. She said - 'can't you just lie back and think of something!!!???' Kaz x

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  12. I think these magazines must have changed in the last 12 years as I don't remember anything but the baby stuff and teething etc.

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    1. They still have that stuff too :) x

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  13. I agree but at the same time, it's easier said than done. In an ideal world it would be lovely for a man to understand but he just doesn't. They are programmed to have high sex drives and it being a top priority. They can't understand something they aren't going through themselves.

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    1. I know what you mean. And I can imagine how hard it is for him to understand x

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  14. I despise these magazines that think they know how your partners think and I guarantee that most partners are quite supportive during pregnancy and are quite happy to cuddle instead.

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    1. I can only speak of my own experiences and that of my friends, but sadly it was quite common x

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  15. Well said, Sian. I find it fascinating that these supposed 'womens mags' take the side of men, rather than what how women might be feeling. I know that sex was definitely the last thing on my mind.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

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  16. I imagine it does put a lot of pressure on new mums and I am sure it is definitely not something that they are thinking about x

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  17. Ah the good old magazines are still talking a load of rubbish. Well highlighted lovely. It's been a bugbear of mine since day dot. I have so many issues with glossy pregnancy mags. My now ex and I spit in march this year. Leaving me on my own with twins. I'm much happier, as quite frankly (sorry that wasn't a pun intended) he soon revealed himself to be a selfish prat. I think couples in a real loving relationship who work as a team and have mutual and respectful understanding of each other will survive. Great post lovely. Xxx

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    1. Thanks lovely. Sorry that you split, but I'm glad that you are so much happier now x

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  18. Brilliant post! I never buy magazines but have seem similar rubbish spouted online and felt so annoyed by it! I'm 5 months pregnant, was sick for 4 of those and have a 17 month old who wakes a minimum of twice a night almost every night. My priority is keeping my babies healthy whilst trying to keep myself healthy and sane at the same time. My hubby is so supportive, I'd have kicked him in his 'needs' if he'd ever dare suggest it was my duty to keep him satisfied when my day alternated between throwing up and chasing a toddler haha xx

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    1. "kicked him in his 'needs'" haha! Oh bless you, I do hope your toddler starts waking less soon x

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  19. Well, I stopped buying magazines like this... in my eyes they are waste of money and my time

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    1. I generally do enjoy them but nowadays I don't have the time x

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  20. Sex? I remember that... great post, sooo true! We just struggle to find the time, when you get to bed at 2 am and know you'll be up before 7 who wants to waste valuable sleeping time??xx

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  21. Fab article, I quite agree and I am lucky and I have a wonderful husband who 100% understand and never would have made me feel bad for it. I think it is hard when the baby is young but as the kids get older you get a little more time together and things are much better than they use to be ;-)

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, great to hear that your husband is such a star! x

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  22. I adore this post and yes ours has. The one thing I absolutely hate is my partner always bringing up the fact that we were so active sexually when we first met. Well, HELLO...we didn't have a toddler at the time! Haha. Men must think we think about sex has much as they do!! Silly sausages they are! x

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  23. I think you raise a really important point and I agree - motherhood is a huge rollercoaster and women don't need any pressure to please their partner!

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  24. I stopped buying magazines ages ago for this reason. Well done you for calling them out, I am too tired by the end of the day to think of anything! Luckily Jake understands, but I think it must be hard for him to sometimes - I like the idea of better advice to support mothers!

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    1. It's about finding the balance isnt it x

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  25. It's always tough to know what is normal and these types of magazines need to address all sides of 'normal'. I was similarly shocked when my health-care provider asked me, during my 6 week check, how the sex life was... I think my horrified look answered that question.

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    1. Oh blimey, I cant imagine having any sort of sex life at 6 weeks pp. One friend of mine did, I was in awe!x

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  26. Praise the Lord!!! Every time I see one of these articles I want to tear it in to a thousand pieces. They're so unrealistic and make women feel dreadful. Plus they paint men as these sex pests than we need to satisfy. Give men a little more credit, not all of them think with their winkys and get what is women have been through to make a beautiful baby. Well said sian xxx

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  27. Interesting post... not that I have any experience of this yet, as I don't have kids. I have this to look forward too though!

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  28. Great post! I'm not a mother but this was very insightful!

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  29. Totally agree with every word of this. I refused to look at pregnancy magazines after the first four months had passed by with Oscar. Everything in them made me feel like crap. I'd rather just do things my own way without any extra pressure! Who writes this stuff anyway? Probably some man whose wife 'neglected' him after having his child, masquerading as a woman so he can get away with the stuff he writes!!X

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  30. So true! If mothers can't even find enough time to sleep then sex obviously isn't going to be high on their list of priorities ;p Plus you and your partner just created a little human together - isn't that bonding in itself?

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    1. I think I have given up on the idea of ever getting decent sleep again to be honest haha! x

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  31. Really great read! I completely agree, I cannot say that my relationship changed though, but I was one of the few who's sex drive goes over the roof during and after anyway...but marriage is about compromise and support of your partner...I think it goes both ways, just like your husband should be understanding, so should we that he is not going through those things and still has yearnings so while we work to put ourselves together and he supports us we should understand that he is going through an adjustment of probably getting it more often to not so much and be mindful of that, that is what marriage is about...both caring for one anothers need, the only difference is with a baby there is a new addition

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  32. It's actually shocking to find out that pregnancy magazines put so much pressure on mothers. I would have thought they are supporting mothers and not telling them what to do and what they think is best. It's down to each woman and not to a writer.

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    1. Thanks Nadine, yes it's definitely down to each woman x

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  33. Great post. I don't buy those magazines anymore as it just makes me feel inadequate. To be honest I'm so uncomfortable at the moment that the though of doing anything with my husband just isn't going to happen.

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    1. Oh bless you. I hope you start to feel more comfortable soon x

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  34. I have to say I'm quite shocked. I work for a baby magazine and we have never said, nor would we ever, that you need to 'fulfil your partners "needs"', or even implied that your sex life will be the same as it was pre-baby. I'm really sorry but you need to check your facts, as we do in print magazines with a team of fact-checking experts such as doctors, midwives and lawyers. We've always given a very balanced view of all aspects of pregnancy and life with baby, as any journalist worth their salt should. I understand you were having a rant and you may not be referring to the magazine I work for [Prima Baby if you're wondering] but your words can be very damaging

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    1. Thank you for commenting. It seems that we share the same train of thought on this topic - about having a balanced view - so that is surely a good thing? x

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    2. Ahh Anonymous, probably the same 'I work for Prima' that commented on the FB page too. You probably thought it was a good idea to stand up for your magazine when you wrote all of the comments but sadly all you did was show that you have no respect for other mothers' opinions. Sian does not need to check her facts at it is her opinion and how baby magazines made her feel- it also seems from the FB page that many others feel the same. Now what you should have said was 'I am so sorry to read this, I work at Prima and we do our best to make sure we get balanced views. Hopefully none of our readers have ever felt this way'. But no, instead you stood up for all magazines out there, showing a lack of respect for these mothers and their feelings. I for one hope your editor stumbles across these comments!

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  35. Ah Katy F, yes it's me who commented on the fb page too. I'm a mother actually and have more understanding than you could possibly imagine. And it's Prima Baby magazine, not Prima, don't want to confuse the two. Lisa xx

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  36. I've written for a few parenting magazines and even wrote a feature about sex in one mag, a few years ago. I echo the comment above - I've never read a magazine feature which says these, so this post has left me feeling confused. The magazine writers and editors that I've worked with are so so careful to be supportive and put the mother's (or baby's, depending on feature topic) needs first.

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    1. Thanks for your insights Alison. It's interesting that the only readers that say they have never come across such articles are a magazine writer and a magazine art director, yet all the other readers have x

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  37. It's also interesting that the people who say the magazines write such things also say they don't buy magazines, which begs the question, how do they know? xx

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    1. Who are you referring to, Lisa?x

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  38. This. ALL of this. YES. I want every pregnant person and mother to read this. I want every partner to read it. Most of all, I want to send this to my ex-husband who decided that getting it elsewhere when our baby was months old was preferable to surviving without. He's still getting it there, which is ever so nice for him, obviously.

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry, what a prize prick he was. I hope that you are much better off without him now though?xx

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  39. Well, yes but a little simplistic. You have to keep your relationship going too. I think you can't stop altogether but you do need to learn how to communicate with your partner to come up with something that works for you both. Unfortunately in lots of relationships saying 'no' permanently can be a death knell.

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  40. This is spot on! It's so annoying. If a man had a horrific penis accident on a par with childbirth, tears, episiotomy, Caesarian etc, would people be suggesting that his wife has needs & he should be sorting her out?! Unlikely!! 😊 Louise Pink Pear Bear

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  41. Haha Well Said!
    I stopped reading magazines a long time ago for this reason.

    Claire
    http://www.theclairediary.co.uk

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  42. Gosh I don't think mine will ever return and that's fine . It's the last thing I think of whilst pregnant and now ! . #sundaybest

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  43. So so true!!! I remember in the hospital a doctor who looked about 12 started asking me about contraception. I looked at my newborn and said I think he wish contraception enough! And to be honest a year on and I still have little or no sex drive and I do feel guilty about it. I agree that magazines put so much pressure on us #sundaybest

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  44. Completely agree - everything changes when you get pregnant and enter motherhood. Life can't be expected to be anything like it was before children because that's simply unachievable. #SundayBest

    Helen x

    http://www.treasureeverymoment.co.uk/

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  45. Yes! Completely agree with this. Some times I feel as though those magazines are written by men who don't have a bloody clue! It's literally the last thing on my mind at the moment. xx

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    1. Totally agree...New mums have enough pressie on then without having to be ultra sex bots too! #SundayBest

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  46. Great post! We waited quite a while after giving birth because there wasn't time, we we're both exhausted and after a tiny human makes there escape it's not really a priority.

    #SundayBest

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  47. Totally agree, your tired, stressed and I felt a mess after. These articles do not help they put pressure that yet again your somehow failing #sundaybest

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  48. When I was pregnant with Baba I didn't buy any magazines of that sort. I didn't want to go over the top. They sell a lot of rubbish if you want my honnest opinion. It's like beauty magazine which do features on relationships. I reckon the people they interviewed are fake! I bet the person who wrote the article you metionned is not even a mum! Towards the end, I just wanted cuddles to be honnest! I was feeling way less sexy! LOL But it's personal. I know that some of my friends wanted more! #SundayBest

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  49. I didn't buy any of the baby mags, but managed to read plenty of the same kind of features in regular mags. (And the baby ones I read in doctors' surgeries etc were full of the same, for all the people who write them seem to disagree!) They always make me so angry - it's like, if he didn't want his sex life to be affected, he should have given it thought before he created a baby... x #sundaybest

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  50. This post is just fantastic! Very well said Sian i agree with every word!! My "baby" is nearly 3 and with taking care of him, looking after the other 2, being a housewife and working... sex is the very last thing on my list!

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  51. Lovely post! I don't buy such magazines any more, because I have found out they are of little use. I don't need anyone to tell me how to be a good mother and wife. Having a newborn is a difficult period for both partners - your husband still has needs, and you need some time to adapt to your new role in life. This is it. No ruch in anything, things should happen naturally. So dear magazines, fill your pages with more useful tips. :) x #sundaybest

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  52. Magazines, websites, TV...they all put so much pressure on women to be the perfect, achieve it all mums. What do they say? 'Be a goddess in the kitchen and a slut in the bedroom!' I'm more like mediocre in the kitchen and asleep in the bedroom?! �� x #SundayBest

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  53. Such a fabulous post. It is all so true. There is so much pressure put on new mums in many many ways. Putting pressure on women to have the same sex life and libido as they did before they had children is ludicrous. And the whole "you may be tired, sore and prefer a cuddle but lie back and think of England" is very archaic. Surely any person would prefer there partner to have sex because they want to and not because they feel they have to. Hugs Lucy

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