I have had 2 babies (now 5 & 3) and have quite a few friends who have had babies recently. Having a baby is life changing. They now take up your entire day, whether you are a stay at home parent or you go to work. You think about them all day, you pay for them to go to the best day care or you sacrifice your vocational development to stay home with them. So on top of all these stressors, what’s going on with your sex life? You might be asking yourself, “What sex life?” I know the doctor says to abstain from intercourse for 6 weeks postpartum, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little oral, mutual masturbation or perhaps masturbation alone. But do you even want to? The thought of sex might give you anxiety. It could even feel like something you need to do for your partner in order to keep them happy.
You are not alone. This is a common complaint from new moms and dads. First, your body has changed after having a baby and your hormones may be the cause of it. Your estrogen and progesterone are low which could cause you to become more dry than normal, making sex painful. Estrogen and testosterone are what fuels your libido and there are a lack of these after the birth of a child and during the time you’re breastfeeding. But note, that even if you are not breastfeeding, your hormones will take a while to get back to their normal levels. Second, you’re most likely not getting enough sleep. And when you finally get the little person down, do you really want to give up your precious minutes of sleep for sex? Third, your body isn’t the same. You’ve got all this skin, even if your fortunate enough to have lost the baby weight, nothing is in the same spot as before. If your breastfeeding, your nipples are incredibly sensitive and maybe even “off limits.” I could keep going on with a fourth, fifth, tenth, and twentieth. Sex after a baby can be difficult and even painful.
So why is it that when women have a lot on their plates (job, house, babies, husbands, not to mention taking care of ourselves) feel drained and the LAST thing on their minds is sex, but when men are tense sex is something that they NEED to distress from their busy day? How do we come to a happy medium? Where’s the in between?
I had a friend who described it as an up and down process. Initially, the first few days, she felt incredibly frisky. With such a big flush of hormones, it was on her mind all day. This only lasted a couple days. Then came months and months of no desire. None. She felt tired all the time. Whenever she had a moment to herself, that’s what she wanted, time to herself. Then came the 6-week mark. She said engaged in intercourse because she felt she needed to make an effort in the marriage to keep her sex life alive. It’s something she has to work on daily, weekly and monthly. She still goes through periods where she does not feel interested in sex, but once the action gets going, it becomes a pleasurable experience. I’m not saying this is how it is for most women. Every woman is different and their struggles and how they choose to cope with them are different too. I feel that sex (and not just intercourse) is an important part of each relationship in order to maintain intimacy as a couple.
So, time for my advice. TALK about IT. Skip cleaning up the kitchen for the night, put the little one to bed, avoid the TV and go to bed to talk with your partner about where your sex life is and where you’d like it to be. Tell him/her what you need, how you’re feeling, what is going on for you down there, why you don’t feel up to it at times, etc. Be genuine, be sweet and forgiving, be understanding, be real and be honest. This conversation doesn’t mean you’re having sex tonight, but maybe it does. Recognize that you both might have different needs and they might not be matching up right now, but that compromise is possible. Read this blog with your partner.
If you need more support of education, please join my monthly group addressing sex after you baby. Email me to learn when the next group is: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512 766-7789.
Tali Boots, LPC
**** The above blog is the opinion of Tali Boots and should not considered fact. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. In conclusion, this blog is meant to encourage dialogue, thought and exploration on various topics.