New fathers go through huge changes mainly unsupported and they are often unaware of the reasons behind this, the negative feelings can come from the circumstantial, situational and hormonal changes a father goes through. For example, a new father’s testosterone drops by up to a third when they become a father, and this can last for up to 3 months. Fathers heavily involved in childcare in that period can have a greater reduction than that of their counterparts.This reduction is to make them more tolerant and accommodating to the baby crying, sleepless nights, but some also believe it’s because they may be having less sex and it is to prevent a wandering eye while mum/birthing person recovers; less testosterone means less impulses and urges.
I feel sex is a key conversation for two reasons and one we find embarrassing as professionals, but men need to feel loved and needed and intimacy is big part of that. Many men need that connection and affection particularly when things are changing it is reassurance that it’s ok and the change can be quite disconcerting.
A new dad who is traumatised from childbirth can refrain from having sex because of the trauma and what he has seen, and sometimes as a preventative measure to ensure it doesn’t happen again! But also, if experiencing depression or anxiety, maybe even on antidepressants, things might not be working as before so that added with less testosterone causes them to be more emotional and vulnerable. This can be wreaking havoc on his masculinity and that will make it hard to express to his partner why the low mood and lack of sex. Now if you have a women or birthing person who has just given birth and feeling vulnerable about their body and has a partner not wanting to have sex all of sudden you could have a situation where they think it’s because their body has changed and he no longer finds them attractive causing a much bigger problem and can be the start of a relationship break down!
It is important to remember that anyone can be affected by trauma as this is dependent on how the individual experiences certain situations. For example, PTSD is an anxiety disorder from either experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, and thinking your wife or partner as well as your child might die is as traumatic an event as many men will face.