Building Bridges

Issue # 30 of 43 

David LeClaire
By: David LeClaire

Men In The Birthing Suite?

Well, surely this will be one of my most controversial columns to date... Hopefully I won't upset my friendly readers. Some of my articles are inspired by conversations with friends, which is true with this week's column. I was amazed by how many men told me that if they had the chance to do it over again, they would not be present in the birthing suite when their wife gives birth.

Of course this surprised me, so I continued asking around, and while I did find exceptions, it became quite common to find agreement. Typical of me, I always pressed a little further. "Why do you feel that way?" I would ask. The men would look around to make sure no women were within earshot, and then say something like, "I know it's not politically correct and may sound insensitive, but watching our child emerge from my wife was quite unpleasant and hard to take." Many went on to tell me how that experience changed their sex life together as a result.

It seems, said some of these men, that their desire to engage in oral sex with their wife afterward seriously declined. Acknowledging how visual men can be, I can understand this occurrence. Of course, some will say this is all crazy and it doesn't have to be that way! But the reality is, for many men, that the memories of the visions and smells linger long after their new child is born.

This issue is certainly bigger than just whether or not men want to have oral sex afterwards. It also is about the closeness and sharing of a very important moment with their partner. Today this practice is not only widely accepted, but encouraged by doctors and family, and to not participate is, frankly, actually frowned upon. People say, "How could you NOT be there? This is the birth of your child!! Your wife is going to go through hell! The least you can do is be there for her!"

One can see the sensibility of both situations really. So, what's the answer? If a man cares at all about being a true partner and yet wants to keep his interest in sex with his wife, he's between a rock and a hard place many feel. So I asked some of these guys what they would suggest. Some of course responded callously, others thoughtfully. But quite a few said, for one, leave the video camera at home! Others mentioned they thought it was good to be in the room and holding their partner's hand, but that a veil or shield of some sort would have been nice to have.

Thirty years ago the practice of being in the room was almost unheard of. Now it seems like a given, something we rarely question. But are all changes really for the better? Maybe all of this is really not that important. Then again, people today are increasingly more concerned about keeping their sex lives interesting and dynamic throughout their lives. And maybe this is one area that we take for granted that should be discussed thoroughly with friends and your partner beforehand.

David LeClaire has spent much of his time teaching at community college and private school, and lead communications training for Fortune 500 companies. Now a popular and active Seattle area sommelier, this graduate of Central Michigan University led seminars for a wide variety of organizations. LeClaire is the author of "Bridges To A Passionate Partnership." He can be reached at

Building Bridges Table of Contents

Text © 1998, David LeClaire. Part of the original Sideroad.
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