Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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No desire: postpartum on pill

21 March, 2012

Question:

Hello,

I am seven months postpartum and am currently on the pill (loestrin) which is working very well for me BH. I was on the mini pill and i had constant bleeding which was a nightmare. However, my problem now is that i have absolutely no drive to be intimate with my husband. I have no problem cuddling, etc. but i have no drive for anything more than that.

This, understandably, is extremely frustrating for my husband. We try to go out for special nights out and set special times, but otherwise nothing works.

Please please help,

thank you


Answer:

Mazal tov on the recent birth of your baby!

We are sorry to hear of your situation.

Arousal is dependent on emotional and physical factors. Investing in your emotional relationship can help increase your desire and interest in intimacy. You an your husband should sit down and brainstorm ideas to improve this area of your relationship. Plan a date night, leave each other sweet notes, call each other during the day, go for a walk together, take time to sit and chat together, your husband can bring you flowers, small gifts, or anything that your husband can do to romance you will be positive. All of these will bring you and your husband closer together and have a positive impact on your intimate life.

Often, especially with women postpartum, a major culprit is fatigue. Take steps to get yourself extra rest when you have a date in mind. For example, you can try to get a nap in, or you can call on your husband to take a late-night or early-morning shift with the baby in advance of being together.

Since desire is a combination of the psychological and physical, it exists on a continuum. That is to say, sometimes you may feel "absolutely no drive", but it is unlikely that this is true all the time. Try to open your mind to the possibility of enjoying relations, at least from time to time, even if over all you don't feel interested. Keep in mind that, physiologically, it takes women longer to become aroused than it takes men. Most women need a lot of stimulation in order to become aroused and to receive pleasure. This is a critical step that should not be ignored.

It is also possible that your lack of interest is being caused by your birth control pills. If the suggestions above do not help improve the situation, you can speak to your doctor about trying a different formulation of the pill to find one that will not affect your libido. However it can take a few months of trial and error to see how it affects you. It would also be permissible to use the diaphragm and avoid hormonal contraception altogether. While hormonal contraception is usually the halachically preferred method of contraception, use of the diaphragm is permissible, especially when there are other factors (as in your situation) which would warrant its use.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.


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