Your baby is killing your sex life

A Norwegian study suggests your bundle of joy is a libido-killer

By Katie McDonough

Published October 22, 2012 8:26PM (EDT)

Author and noted provocateur Katie Roiphe gets a lot wrong about sex, but scientists in Norway believe she has one thing right: Your baby is sapping your libido. A recent study finds that relationship satisfaction, including sexual satisfaction, takes a serious nosedive during the early stages of parenthood.

If parents in Norway, a country with a robust public infrastructure to support families, aren't happy, one shudders to think what American moms and dads are up against. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that 90 percent of new parents reported a sudden deterioration in relationship and sexual functioning after having a baby, sudden -- but enduring. A majority of parents reported a persistent degree of unhappiness throughout the eight-year study, released in 2010.

The no-sex effect is mental, emotional and biological. A 2009 study conducted by Northwestern University found that new dads experienced, on average, a 26 percent drop in testosterone levels. Lower testosterone equals lower libido -- and man boobs, but let's not go there today.

Don't want to fall victim to the post-baby sex slump? Scientists, sex therapists and Dr. Phil-types all agree: Just do it. There is a positive correlation between the amount of sex you have and the amount of sex you want. Doing the deed regularly increases testosterone levels and, ahem, libidinal urges for both men and women.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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