The Impact of Feeling ‘Touched Out’ on Women’s Sex Drive and Intimacy
As a sex therapist, I have had the privilege of working with many women who have experienced the delicate balance between motherhood, physical touch, and their sex drive. One observation I’ve made in my practice is how the demands of caring for children, combined with the sensation of being “touched out,” can significantly affect a woman’s libido and sexual desire.
What does being “touched out” mean?
Being “touched out” refers to the overwhelming exhaustion from constant physical contact and engagement with one’s children. Many mothers feel emotionally drained and depleted from the continuous need for physical attention and contact from their children.
Several factors can exacerbate the experience of feeling touched out. These may include the intensity of physical contact required by newborns or young children, the challenges of breastfeeding, and postpartum physical or emotional recovery. Furthermore, women also face societal expectations that tell them they should always be available for physical touch without regard for their own needs.
The impact of feeling touched out on a woman’s sex drive and libido can be significant. It can lead to a sense of disconnection from their body, and their partner and a decline in their desire for sexual intimacy. In addition, many women feel guilty for not wanting to be intimate with their partner, which can cause frustration and further strain in the relationship.
What can you do to navigate this time better?
1. Partner’s support: This is where partners play a crucial role in supporting women during the postpartum period. It is essential for partners to understand and respect women’s need for personal space around physical touch. Recognizing and honouring these boundaries without pressure or expectation can foster a healthier and more fulfilling intimate relationship.
2. Self-Care: Prioritizing self-care is also essential in addressing the effects of feeling touched out. Partners can encourage women to carve out time for rest and relaxation. They need to engage in activities that bring personal pleasure and fulfilment. If necessary, couples might need to enlist the support of a caregiver to temporarily take over childcare duties can allow the mother to replenish her energy and emotional reserves.
3. Quality time or date night: During this time, couples need to spend time together and reconnect. This time should be free of pressure to engage in sex. Instead, they should focus on rebuilding emotional intimacy and communication. They can also find alternative ways to reconnect that do not revolve around physical touch. This can include engaging in meaningful conversations, sharing experiences, and doing activities both partners enjoy.
4. Communication: It’s helpful for partners to be understanding and patient. Creating a safe space for each other to express their emotions. This space needs to be free of judgment to foster a deeper connection and understanding between partners.
As a therapist specializing in relationships and intimacy, I can provide you and your partner with a safe space to process your emotions, improve communication skills, and develop healthy coping strategies. I understand the challenges of parenthood and can offer guidance and support to help you navigate the impact it may have on your intimacy and relationship. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my approach to couple therapy or would like to schedule a session.