No Sex, Please, We’re Expecting

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m now in my seventh month of pregnancy and our sex life is non-existent. My husband used to want it all the time and we made love a lot. But he has hardly touched me since my first trimester ended. I haven’t gained that much weight and I don’t feel unattractive. He says I look adorable and cute but it never goes any further. Even more depressing, I caught him texting an ex girlfriend sexually graphic messages. She lives out of town so I know he’s not sleeping with her, but I feel cheated and betrayed. What have I done wrong?

A: The short answer s that you haven’t done anything wrong at all. But for your own peace of mind, it may help to understand some of the things that could be going on inside your husband’s head.

  • He may be one of those guys who believe that sex exists mostly for the purpose of having children. Once that’s been accomplished, there’s no need for it anymore. After all, the “logic” goes, parents don’t have sex.
  • He may be one of those (rare) guys who simply don’t find their pregnant wives attractive. Most do, but some simply don’t. This usually has nothing to do with the wife and is just one of those unexplainable things.
  • He may be thinking that you’re not feeling sexy and is trying to be a gentleman by not initiating something he’s afraid you won’t want to finish.
  • He may be afraid of hurting you and/or the baby. In his mind, he’s protecting you by keeping his pants on.
  • He may be feeling left out or excluded from the whole pregnancy process. Everyone is focusing on you and you’re focusing on yourself and the baby–as you should be. But what happens, from the guy’s perspective, is that the woman who took care of so many of his needs no longer has the time or energy to do so anymore. Very few men have affairs during their wife’s pregnancy, but those who do often feel emotionally and physically abandoned. (Although this isn’t what’s happening in your case, it’s interesting to note that these pregnancy affairs are often with a close of the wife—someone who is also feeling 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 has to stop immediately.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get your sex life back on track.

  • Talk to your husband. Come right out and ask him what’s going on with him. Don’t do this in a blaming way—that’ll just make him defensive. Instead, tell him how much you miss him and ask for his help resurrecting this important part of your relationship.
  • Reassure him. If it turns out that he’s in the afraid-of-hurting-you category, explain to him that unless you’re having extremely rough sex, there’s no danger to you or the baby.
  • Put the moves on him. 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 risqué 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 you feel for each other.
  • If all else fails, consider some counseling.