Post-Birth Blues, Roughly + Love Lost?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because the road to lonely is paved with those who didn’t.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Baby Makes 3
EUGENE, SIR: My wife and I recently had our first baby, and we’re really enjoying the process of getting to know her and learning how to be parents. We did, however, get a little lazy about having sex in my wife’s last trimester and postpartum. We’re going on three months in abstention. I think we both feel a lot of pressure to get things going again, and that may be making it more awkward for us than the situation calls for. What’s a good way to get the engine started again without feeling like we’re fulfilling an obligation rather than feeding a need? —Counting the Days (And Lo, They Are Many)
Dear Tuco: What was that line from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Spoken by Clint Eastwood right before he strands Eli Wallach in the desert? Something along the lines of “If you save your breath, I feel a man like you can manage it.” That needs to be said first and foremost, since I believe it’s what undergirds your query: Will we make it? So yes, you will. But your question very specifically is “How?” — and this gets broken down into what I would do and what I might suggest you do.
What I would do: follow the advice I was once given and “don’t pay such close attention to time.” Good advice. Not likely to quell sex hunger, though.
So what I suggest: It might sound silly, but at this point, this might be a little fraught, so go totally un-fraught and make with the massage. Yes, you might be a little tired, but you know what else is tiring? Divorce court. So massage your ass off. Or rather, her ass off. Will this lead to sex? Maybe. Maybe not. But you’ll have a better chance here than by watching hockey. On the couch. Alone.
Massage, relax, sleep, repeat. And then somewhere in the process, there’ll be a resumed interest, but what you’re really dealing with is what The Journal of Sexual Medicine pegs as reduced desire due to fatigue and stress on both parents. So it’s not gone, just reduced and maybe not hitting at the same time. The massage thing is one way to try to at least get in the same place at the same time.
See? And nary a mention of running into the bedroom commando-style, nude, with a cape screaming, “PENIS MAN IS HERE!!!”
EUGENE, SIR: I had gotten the sense that something was missing. In bed. We’ve been together for three months. So I encouraged him to cut loose a little. Turns out this meant, for him, verbal abuse. I’ve been into mild S-M, so I thought, “No biggie.” But thinking no biggie and it really being no biggie are different. So while it strikes me that being called a bitch is not so bad, being called a fucking whore feels like it should be. But I asked for this. Now is there a way to dial it back? — Silence Might Be Golden
Dear Ssssshhhh: It might be said that the unbridled mind is a wonder to behold, and when you’re in the grips of passion, one of the things that makes it so passionate is the artful aspect of it being created on the spot while you watch. And maybe even participate a little. But being in the grips of passion makes you extremely sensitive to the creation of bad art. So if being called a whore tonally starts to sound like something you’ve heard in every single porno ever made in the creation of pornos? You will issue a demerit — due to lack of both imagination and intelligence. If it sounds too passionate, you’ll suspect an issue better served in therapy. Demerit. If it’s so at odds with who he is walking around day to day, you’ll start to harbor doubts about which is the real him and what it means that the most erotic thing he’s thinking of is you as a whore.
Essentially, thoughts that will drive you away from fun. You made the right move in drawing him out. And I understand your hesitancy to “punish” him for having done so, but you also can’t be expected to be into everything. So how to dial it back? Sometimes the most direct way is best: a hand over the mouth and a whispered “ssssshhhh.” If he’s not a complete hammerhead, he’ll get it.
EUGENE, SIR: I met him decades ago. He was in love with me at first sight. I was impressed. We were separated, but now we’ve finally seen each other again, our feelings are stronger and it’s clear we really love each other. But it’s hard to talk about. How do we start? —Mae Grace Tingzon
Dear Ms. Tingzon: There’s a reason this column is called “Sex With Eugene.” Sex is measurable and therefore to a certain degree knowable. Love is the exact opposite: immeasurable and consequently not as knowable. I specialize in one and not the other, but I don’t want to leave you unhelped, so let me try to offer some advice. OK. Ready? Try screaming when next you meet him, “IS PENIS MAN HERE?!?!?!”
I hope this works. Since, uh, otherwise, I got nothin’ for that whole “love” thing.
Photography by Shutterstock.