It’s a funny thing. I bet you never thought you’d be reading an article about keeping the spark alive. But then, welcome to parenthood: you’ve vaulted the Rubicon to a strange new existence where all previous bets are off. The good news? There is light at the end the tunnel for you both – and naturally at GQ we think less in terms of sparks and more of pyrotechnics.
For a brilliant insight to what your beloved may have been feeling these last nine months (and may feel in the coming years) look to Rachel Cusk’s memoir A Life’s Work. During pregnancy, you may have experienced the changing weather systems of hormonal tears and chaos; as a Renaissance man you may, even, have done the odd hypnobirthing session; beyond that, probably, your last nine months has been relatively normal.
For her, everything is different. Her body. Her mindset. Her hopes, fears and dreams. Certainly her arousal patterns. In the words of Take That: everything changes but you. Listen to her and prepare to learn her all over again – often on a daily basis. For straight sex tips if you’re still in the pregnancy phase, look at my previous article on pregnancy sex tips.
Miraculous as it is, generally traumatic for all parties. Give it time.
Surely now? Not impossible, but for God's sake take your cues from her. And when you get to it, compliment everything. New motherhood pulls the plug on every confidence: your old self hisses away like the air from a perished balloon. Turn the lights off and adore her in the soft glow of a candle. Be gentle. Even if she usually wants it hard over the basin with a hand holding her hair, now is not that time, I promise. Pay unheard of levels of attention to her clitoris. Stop if or when she asks you to. And afterwards hold her, stroke her, celebrate – you’ve made it, you’re unstoppable, you’re together.
Just possibly someone has slept. And if you’ve been the kind of supportive baby father as above then she will feel that you are with her, on her team, not merely another drain on resources. I cannot emphasise how much more important this is (more important than any kind of head you could give her. Although, if you’re approaching things in that vein, nice work).
Perhaps leave the house for a glass of wine. Perhaps you just need to cook dinner (and more generally, discover toys for a bit, but Olivia Von Halle Pyjamas, a silk nightshirt...and its fantastic newborn parent food delivery service) and open something delicious. Maybe a gift – I’d personally save the
Book a weekend away. Somewhere with an adjoining room, decent Wi-Fi for the monitor or even a babysitter (Mr and Mrs Smith is excellent on these kinds of details). Book her into the spa. Take photographs of the three of you, child strapped to your manly chest, to emphasise the weekend is about family as much as about sex. And now, now is the time to relight the kindling. To dust down the blindfold, bring out the shibari rope etc. And who knows? As her body starts to feel her own again, she may very well surprise you. Bon voyage.
Original article published in GQ, in May, 2019