Your Dad Didn't Do This

Note to Dads: Contributing around the house can be an aphrodisiac to a new mom.


The demands of modern fatherhood have today's new and expecting dads experiencing things previous generations of men were excused from doing, for the most part. Or ran screaming from. Or just flat out laughed at. Here's a preview of just a few of the awkward situations and how you can handle them.

1. "Hey, boss, can I go to the OB-GYN's?" Ever thought you would ask this question at work? Moms clearly appreciate their partner's support at prenatal appointments, and dads are curious about the developing baby, so going to every appointment is a great idea. But will the request be perceived as a lack of commitment to the job, as a weakness? Increasingly, no. In a recent poll conducted for Men's Health, top executives cited time with the family as a sign of success.

Being a good dad may even bring you new clout in the office, but it doesn't hurt to find a supervisor with kids to make your request. Consider it preparation for when you have to contend with a sick child.

2. Hoody or not: Circumcision decision '08 You've probably never had to make a decision impacting somebody else's penis before. It's a big responsibility.

Arguments in favor of circumcision have most often been either religious/cultural or cosmetic/psychological; e.g. "I want my son to look like me." The non-snippers are usually coming from an empathetic point of view: "Would you want that done to you without your permission?"

New evidence indicating that circumcision may help reduce susceptibility to some sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, may "tip" the scales for some couples, although experts don't agree on this.

3. Pelvic exams become a spectator sport. Do you know what a speculum is? If you attend your partner's OB-GYN appointments (and you should), you will. The question for a dad-to-be in the exam room becomes: What makes for the best seat in the house? When her feet go in the stirrups, do you want to be on the 50-yard line? Or an obscured view from the upper deck?

Some dads excuse themselves from the room entirely, in the name of "preserving the magic." Others see these exams as an initiation into perceiving the mom's body in an entirely new way. There's no right answer here; taking your cues from the woman is best.That means communicating ahead of time.

4. Will do dishes or fold laundry for sex. Is fatherhood the end of your sex life? Not completely, though you probably never imagined that sex would be in any way related to washing the dishes.

But with a pregnant mom or a new baby on the scene, contributing around the house can be an aphrodisiac. It's not that sex goes away with parenthood; it just has been placed firmly into a domestic context and requires a completely different kind of negotiation.

Did I say negotiation? I meant to say seduction. One involving socks. Paired and balled. The socks.