Some men are afraid of not only seeing gore in the delivery room, but also of the havoc that witnessing the birth might play on their sex life. This fear is largely unfounded, claims psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, M.D. "The reality is that when you watch a birth, the vagina doesn't look at all like the body part you associate having sex with, so most men don't make the connection," he says.
But some men do have trouble seeing their wife as a sexual being after they see her give birth, at least for a while. "It's understandable to have some of these thoughts," Haltzman says. "I suggest that, for the time being, the man focus on other body parts and features that he's attracted to, the ones that drew him to his wife when he met her and fell in love."
Another approach is to focus on touching that doesn't necessarily lead to intercourse, Haltzman says.Such touches can run the gamut, from casual and playful to sensual and erotic. "If a guy's a little too worried about what's going on 'down there,' " he explains, "these give him much more to do, and he'll experience less anxiety about whether he'll be able to perform."
If sexual difficulties persist, it may be necessary to see a psychotherapist or marriage counselor with expertise in this area.
* Some names have been changed to protect the marriage!