Which one of these is not like the others?
a. Oysters b. Chocolate c. Scented candles. d. Infants
When it comes to aphrodisiacs, babies rarely make the list, and our survey proves it: Among respondents, 66 percent were happy with their pre-baby sex life, yet only 24 percent are happy with their post-baby sex life. "Pre-baby, you're trying to conceive, so you're focusing on sex," says Jill Grimes, M.D., a family physician in Austin, Texas, and author of Seductive Delusions: How Everyday People Catch STDs. "When you're having more sex, you have more opportunity to improve the quality as well as the quantity. Practice makes perfect."
That changes with the new arrival for several reasons, including basic anatomy and physiology. Irwin Goldstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine and director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California, puts it bluntly: "An 8-pound item coming through the vagina can have a major anatomic impact." The tearing of the perineum and other genital tissue, episiotomies and hormonal surges --ouch! -- can all complicate mom's sexual health. According to a recent study about postpartum pain published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, nearly half of all respondents reported an episode of pelvic or genital pain lasting three months or more. Dr. Goldstein adds that approximately 20 percent of the women he treats suffer from problems related to childbirth.
"It's also about the hormone changes and what they do to how you feel," says Tania Paredes, a psychotherapist and couples counselor in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Parenthood figures into 50 percent of the patients I see."