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After My Third Child, I Have No Interest in Sex Anymore

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 16, 2017

Question

Dear Counselor, I’m a mother of three kids, and I’m leading a happy life with my husband. After I gave birth to my third child, I started to feel that I’m no longer interested in sex. There is no specific reason for this. I really want to have sex, but I always choose sleep over sex. I am always tired! I know this is affecting my marriage. I don’t know what to do, Please advise.

Counselor

Answer


 As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhum,

Don’t worry, your feelings are completely normal and often happen to mothers, even after one child. Of course you’re tired—the job of taking care of children is not a 9 to 5 job but a 24/7 job. You now have more important things on your mind than your own needs, or even your husband—three little creatures’ depend on you for their survival! Because of that, you are no longer an independent person—you are always worrying about them, and so you should be—that is what it is to be a good mother. Even when you go to bed to get vitally-needed sleep so you can wake up tomorrow with your battery recharged so you keep them alive tomorrow, their little bodies and souls are still on your mind. That is not going to change. It is the what Allah made in a “mother” so that we would have what we need in us of emotional and physical energy to keep them alive.

So, how to do that AND still have a personal life, independent of them—remember, they are dependent on you, not the other way around. That is where we get all mixed up. It is healthy to have the identity of a “mother”—someone who puts other people’s needs before her own—that is good, BUT, we are more than mothers. We are also individuals and wives. So, how to do all three things at the same time? “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” BUT, without the other wheels too, the car still won’t run! So, what to do?

If tiredness is the only problem, do the obvious: take a nap, i.e., a “siesta” (afternoon nap). It does not have to be in the afternoon; it could be any time in the day, like after Fajr, or after you drop the kids at school–but you probably have small children who don’t go to school. A siesta is a common practice in the non-Western world, including the Muslim world, and including in the time of our beloved Rasululah (Peace on him).

However, I suspect that there is more going on here than tiredness. It is a very good thing that you and your husband have a happy marriage, and that you used to have a healthy sex life (I am assuming). However, the “signs” to me that the problem is bigger is that you called the process “sex” instead of “love-making”, and you want sleep more than it, whatever “sex” means to you in your mind. In other words, sleep feels better to you than sex, i.e., you want it more than “sex”.

Towards a solution, InShaAllah, I suggest that you consider—or reconsider—what “sex” means to you, what it does for YOU—what function does it serve in YOU, not your husband. If your benefit in it is that you are serving your husband’s needs, that is a great motive, BUT, he then is getting in line with everyone else who needs you for their needs. Since his time comes at the end of day, he is at the end of the line, unavoidably, when you are going to bed. Then, you are already burnt out and don’t have anything left in you for him. However, if there is something in love-making that is for you, then….then, then, that could change everything, inShaAllah.

What in it could make it be for you that could make you want it? A clue to the answer is in its name: “love” making. This question may need a discussion with your husband—according to where the source of the problem lies. If your husband is not “pleasuring” you “enough” to make sex more than sex to you, or sex for him, then you are going to have tell him what he needs to do to make it feel like “love” for you, so that it becomes more “enjoyable” (to you) than sleep. However, if the problem is only in your mind, i.e., in your attitude about what you expect from sex—that it is for him and not you, per se, then you can solve this problem on your own.

Do you think of sex for pleasure or do you think of it as “love-making”—so that your husband can show you how much he loves you? If it is love-making, or were to become love-making for you, would you want and need that more than sleep?

A mother is always giving, serving, responding to, worrying about… children, husband, shopping for food, etc., She is also human and needs someone to care about her, to serve her needs, respond to her worries, etc. To recharge your battery means more than just physically. It means emotionally too. So that you can continue to give, serve, respond to, worry about … others, someone needs to do those things for you too, i.e., “love” you. That is why sex is “love-making”, not sex, per sex.

To have the energy to “love” all those little souls looking up at your for their needs, you need your needs taken care of too. Recharging the “love” part of your battery will, InShaAllah, give you more energy than even napping can give. If you too get the “love” you need, when you have to give it out all day, you will want to rush to get more of what you need at the end of the day.

Sister, please remember, for men, sex is like eating a meal (it is more than that, but that is their first response, i.e., physical, then, after that their need to be a “man” comes into play-and that is a discussion for another question, I think). For women, their first need from sex is “love-making”. So, we have to help them see beyond their “subjective” view of the world by sharing with them what we need from them. It is not their “fault” that they do not see the world the way we do. Allah made us different. There is not “fault” in that. And, in fact, the beauty in it is that it forces us to have to communicate with each other, thereby enhancing each other’s world view and growing together… IF we have a “healthy” marriage that allows for this kind of in interchange—because of our differences. I love to point out to people that “harmony” is the beautiful union of different things.

 

May Allah Make it easy for you


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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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