In a recent blog article, a father raised the issue of the impact of extended breastfeeding on the sexual side of a marriage. His experience is so outside the realm of my own, and that of my friends, that I won’t try to paraphrase his argument but rather let you read it yourself and in context.
I’ve breastfed all of my children past a year. All totaled, I nursed for 129 months which is roughly 11 years for those who don’t care to do the math. I have 4 children. Eden took up the bulk of that nursing time as she nursed much longer than her brothers.
I was nursing a toddler when I got pregnant with my second baby. And my third. And my fourth. I could make the flippant comment that obviously nursing did not negatively affect my husband’s sexual attraction to me. But the truth is that it simply didn’t factor. It isn’t a matter of him being more tolerant of my long nursing relationships with our children. It’s that he saw my breasts as a part of my body that could hold two or more functions in succession. And it could hold those multiple functions for more than a year or two. Or even three. Or four.
I asked his permission to post his thoughts and then he got a little too TMI on me so that’s all he gets to say about it.
Breasts are body parts. Period. Let’s face it, I could name almost any body part and assign it a sexual function. People out there are creative, yo. But speaking strictly of multifunctional body parts in the cleanest, family friendliest way I can… Are breasts any different than hands that can hold sleeping preschooler and then make a meal?
Or legs that can run a marathon and then hold a child on a lap?
Or a mouth that can eat dinner and then ask your child about his day?
As an aside, I wonder does giving birth vaginally make sex less palatable to some? Or the fact that a woman menstruates through that same canal? Does it lead to disconnect between the parents? I can’t help but see the parallel between the multiple functions of body parts that are (in the US) seen as primarily sexual. But the real question is: Aren’t you glad I didn’t include that in my above photographic example list?
My point and focus is that the author of the post — and any other couples out there dealing with this same issue — can change their perception of the situation. The choice doesn’t have to be to cheat. Or to give up/give in. Or to complain on a blog. The solution is to learn to view the breast as a body part that has multiple purposes and to see that it can maintain those multiple purposes beyond a child’s infancy. People all across the globe can manage to view the breast this way. It shouldn’t be impossible for a couple who are committed, loving yet unsatisfied to do the self-work to do likewise.
Thoughts? Please share your views in the comments.