Sex and intimacy after loss of a child to suicide

One of these is from a mom whose child has suffered previous suicide attempts and it still alive. Having a child struggle is also a damper to a sex life. Unfortunately, no dudes responded so it’s only moms. This is as honest and emotionally naked as it gets.

Finding the energy to whip up passion after loss is a challenge. Thank you to the tribe for your submissions on the subject. Due to the intensely personal nature of this post, identifying information has been removed.

From a mom who lost her son to suicide a little over a year ago.

For me, or us, it ruined our sex lives. Our son died by suicide and nothing was the same. Not even that.

It’s like we weren’t alone in bed anymore. There was my grief and my husband’s grief and the ghost of our dead child.

There was also something broken in me. Something deeply broken that made it impossible for me to even seek anything that was formerly pleasurable. This included things like my favorite meals and sex. I didn’t want anything to feel or taste good. I didn’t want to enjoy anything so much ever again.

Slowly this changes I think. But only with lots of work. I find peace in strange places these days. Joe and I have worked back to each other a little bit. It’s little kindnesses that seem to work. Getting our sex life back is peaceful to me. I don’t know why. Probably something about connecting.

From a younger mom who lost a 12-year-old to suicide

My husband needed intimacy very soon after. Maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks? It’s a blur. He felt very lost and needed that connection. I could barely take a hug, let alone intimacy, so we agreed to meet in the middle by my using a lot of alcohol, and he didn’t take offense when I didn’t respond enthusiastically. He is my only husband, we lost our son at 12, to suicide.

Over 6 years later we are still married. Intimacy eventually was less difficult for me, maybe 6 months later – but alcohol made everything a lot easier for the first year or longer. In my defense, I never took benzodiazepines to help manage the pain, so alcohol could give me some distance for a little while and make some room for my spouse in the bedroom.

We chose to have two additional children, so right now our sex life is very limited due to a 15 year old, 3 year old and 18 month old. 😂 But otherwise I think it would be pretty normal. I still use a drink to help me not think about my boy during sex- but not nearly as much and not all the time. Many parts of our marriage got better after our loss – trivial stuff was much less important. Of course I also lost the ability to work any more- so some of that improvement could come from my being his servant and asking nothing for myself . . . 🙁

A mom now in her early sixties whose son died by suicide

So, we’re been married since 1982. Our sex life was great.

After our son’s suicide in 2007, dismal.

First several years, I couldn’t get into it at all and since I’ve struggled with chronic profound depression since his death, I think my husband no longer sees me as a sexual being. He’s been my “caregiver” for so long. 🙁

At this stage of the game I don’t know it that’s a part of our life we’ll ever get back. 

Intimacy is such a challenging thing. We have a grown child who struggles with mental health issues – bipolar 1 – and has struggled since high school with depression and anxiety. After a suicidal threat last summer, it also became obvious that she was using alcohol and marijuana to “treat” her illness.

Mom of a child with mental illness and suicide attempts

This has had a big impact on us as a couple. From an intimacy standpoint, it often feels like there is so much energy spent in thinking, worrying, and praying for my child that there’s nothing left to share with my husband.  I fall into bed at night, craving sleep but then am unable to turn my brain off enough to fall asleep.

I know that I should spend more energy and time on our relationship – but that is often just too tiring to think about. He then feels neglected or ignored. While he has tried to understand – and honestly, has been very patient – I know that there are times when he just wants to yell that he needs attention too. With physical touch as his “love language” (and not mine), I know that this is how both receives and gives love but at times it can feel more like a chore than an expression of emotion and love.

I imagine that other parents experience this same thing, especially after the loss of a child. I will be interested to hear what other feedback you receive. Thank you for being emotionally naked.

Mom of in her mid sixties who lost a child to suicide

Our son, age 28, took his life 12/7/15 by jumping from his father’s pickup at a speed of 65 mph. We “celebrated” our 42nd wedding anniversary two months after his death. We have been intimate exactly twice since we lost him.

The last time was when we traveled to the beach for Christmas 2016. We had an especially active sex life prior to this, particularly for a couple in their mid-sixties! My husband has not kissed, hugged, held me or my hand since this ordeal began except the two times previously mentioned. We continue to sleep in the same bed each night but he has made it clear I am to remain on my side.

From a mom who lost a son to suicide

The day after we found out, I actually made the move and we made love. I was so desperate to feel something other than the excruciating pain I felt. I was in agony–sorry I even woke up. Amazed I fell asleep at all. I don’t even know what came over me. Connection I guess. 

It was lackluster after that for a very long time. It’s still not fire and brimstone and I’m the one that struggles the most with becoming interested. So we maintained some level of intimacy throughout. Right before our son killed himself he had suffered from depression and we had years of hell related to that. The mental health system was always so challenging and shaming. So our sex life suffered then, too.

It’s improved and no one is pushing the other. Connection in the bedroom has happened because of connection outside the bedroom. When my husband clams up, I am definitely not into it. I don’t want to feel I’m the only one grieving or talking. I need to hear him talk about it, too. I think that was hard for him to do. I’m thankful we have each other. I really can’t imagine going through this hell alone.

Found this article on some strategies for getting intimacy back

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

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