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Hey, New Moms: Is Being ‘Touched Out’ Ruining Your Sex Life?

You’ve spent the day in sweats; you haven’t showered since, um, Thursday; and you’re breastfeeding what seems like every hour on the hour. Is it any wonder you’re not feeling your most amorous? But if physical intimacy basically makes your skin crawl, you might be experiencing what parenting experts deem “touching out.” Here’s the deal.

What is it? Being “touched out” is that startling, new-parent sensation of not wanting physical intimacy. Most often, it’s in relation to your spouse—whose touch might literally make you recoil. But it can also make moms not want to touch their kids, their friends or just make them feel icky in their own bodies. 

Is it normal? Extremely. In this writer’s highly non-scientific moms' group poll, every woman had experienced it at one point or another during her child’s first few months of life. 

What causes it? Nothing, specifically. Though some people think attachment parenting practices like cosleeping, baby-wearing and (duh) breastfeeding can cause it more acutely, since you have so little time when you’re not touching another human being.

So what should I do about it? First of all, try not to beat yourself up. The next time you notice yourself curling into a little a ball when your husband so much as grazes your thigh, simply acknowledge what you’re feeling and recognize that it will pass. Second, communicate, communicate, communicate. Tell your partner what’s going on and brainstorm ways to get yourself what you really need—whether that’s an evening to yourself or a date night where you both get dressed up and off the couch. Finally, do your best to push yourself toward intimacy when and however you can (some tips if you need them). After all, science maintains that sex once a week is the key to a happy marriage. Can’t argue with that. 

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