Now that your baby is here, things between you and your partner have definitely changed. Sooner or later, the question of how and when you as a couple will rediscover your sexual connection will come up. At first, it might seem like your shared sex life is a long way off. Your body has gone through changes, and you're facing emotional and mental challenges as well. And that's totally okay!
Your body has achieved incredible things during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. It created the perfect environment for your child, catering to their evolving needs for ten months until they were ready to enter the world! Then, your body went through childbirth.
Regardless of how it all played out, how smoothly (or not) everything went, and how you mentally processed and handled everything- you have every reason to be immensely proud of yourself and your body!
Have you ever wondered what's next for your sex life together, or have you talked about it?
If you answered yes, then my five-part guide is here to help you navigate this phase of postpartum sexuality in a relaxed and confident way.
By the way, I'm Amelie,
Sexologist and mother to two small children. In my work, I assist individuals in deepening their understanding of their own sexuality, guiding them towards experiencing pleasure and embracing their desires fully, without any sense of shame. I'm particularly passionate about discussing topics that empower women to embrace their sexuality freely.
Sex Ed: Part 1
6 Challenges for Your Sexual Identity After Giving Birth
Rediscovering your sexuality after giving birth is a topic that is rarely discussed, even though it affects all new parents.
First off, it's important to understand that there are valid reasons why, for a lot of women, the interest in sex and intimacy with their partners might not be a top priority after having a baby. This article dives into some of the most common challenges new moms face regarding their sex life postpartum.
1. Your body has been through a lot and undergone many changes.
It's totally normal if your postpartum body feels a bit unfamiliar at first. You might be dealing with birth injuries, pain, a softer belly without its usual muscle tone, or even itchy hemorrhoids. If you're breastfeeding, your breasts might be fuller and primarily focused on feeding your baby, making touching your stomach and breasts uncomfortable. All of this isn't exactly sexy and can make it challenging to see your body in a sensual and erotic light. And that's perfectly okay and not permanent.
Right now, your body needs care and time to heal and rejuvenate after giving birth, especially if you had a vaginal delivery or experienced complications. Take good care of it—indulge in postpartum sitz baths, gently massage it with oils, try to get as much sleep as possible, and don't forget to stay hydrated, eat well, and go to the bathroom (it's easy for new moms to overlook these basics). Your body will likely look quite different from how it did before pregnancy, and it's common for some women to feel a bit uneasy with these changes. Give yourself the grace and time to adjust to your new body and to start feeling comfortable in it again.
2. Sleep Deprivation: A Libido Killer
Stress, lack of sleep, tiredness and exhaustion are absolute libido killers - even for people who don't have a baby. It is an absolutely normal reaction of your body to an exceptional situation. As you begin to get more sleep and relaxation, your desire is likely to naturally increase again.
3. Breastfeeding Changes Everything
Breastfeeding can impact your sexuality in various ways. For some, it might lead to a decrease in sexual desire. This could be because breasts, which are often seen as sexual, suddenly take on a primarily nurturing role. Additionally, the leaking of milk outside of feeding times can be a turn-off for some. Moreover, breastfeeding can lead to discomfort during sex due to hormonal changes making the vaginal area drier than usual. However, using lubricant can effectively mitigate this issue. The good news is, vaginal dryness and any decreased interest in sex typically go away once you stop breastfeeding.
On the flip side, breastfeeding might actually enhance your pleasure. This is because it triggers the release of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone," which boosts overall happiness and a sense of closeness that can positively affect your relationship.
A Well-Kept Secret:
Moreover, and this is unnecessary to say: Some women experience sexual sensations and arousal while breastfeeding. Because there is hardly any discussion about this, these women feel uncertain or ashamed of it. However, it is completely normal. After all, for many women, the nipples are an erogenous zone, which is simply stimulated during breastfeeding.
4. New Role, Responsibilities, and Expectations
Having a baby and adapting to life with a newborn can be a huge emotional shift. Initially, sex often moves down the priority list. Plus, in our society, the idea of motherhood often doesn't mesh well with being sexually active. Quite a few women struggle to reconcile their sexual selves with their identity as a mother. And that's perfectly okay, as long as you're comfortable with how things are.
5. Not Enough Room for Yourself
Now that you're a mom, there's this tiny person who depends entirely on you (and maybe on your partner too) for survival and happiness. You find yourself on duty 24/7, catering to your child's needs. It's likely your attention is glued to your little one non-stop. It's not unusual for new moms to neglect their own basic needs and often feel swamped by their new responsibilities. After spending day and night looking after their child, feeling touched out and craving personal space becomes the norm. This feeling is completely normal and to be expected for the time being.
To rekindle your sexuality, it's beneficial to start focusing on yourself from time to time. Pay attention to how you're feeling and what you need. By the way, some women feel ready to jump back into sex soon after giving birth. Maybe they're thrilled to break from routine, proud of what they've accomplished, feeling an extra closeness with their partner, or they're just really well-supported and cared for. This, too, is normal and perfectly okay.
6. Not Enough Space for Yourself
If this is your first baby, you're basically enrolled in an intense, hands-on crash course in newborn care, with the curriculum changing every few weeks. Your sleep is non-existent, and you're on duty 24/7. It's not just about lying in bed and enjoying blissful cuddles; sometimes, you might find yourselves getting on each other's nerves, bickering due to exhaustion and stress, with hardly any moments to talk and connect on a deeper level. This is all pretty standard stuff.
For finding those moments of intimacy and perhaps some alone time together, it's crucial for you as a couple to carve out some space for yourselves. Don't hesitate to lean on family and friends for support with chores, shopping, or babysitting. It's all about creating opportunities to focus on each other amidst the chaos!