Sex After Baby
Will I Ever Be In The Mood Again?
By Genie Joseph, PhD
If you have just given birth in the past few weeks or even months, chances are you are not in the mood for sex. It is very common to have a low libido after giving birth. In the first month or two, you may be still feeling sore, exhausted by the demands of new motherhood, and perhaps even experiencing postpartum depression. None of these are conducive to having sexual desire.
Your hormones, which affect sexual desire, are redirected to the demands of motherhood, nursing, trying to get a wink of sleep etc. If you are nursing, you are getting a lot of contact with another living being, and you may not have the desire to have someone else “pulling on you," as one client put it.
In the first four-to-six weeks after birth you are likely to have less natural vaginal lubrication, so intercourse may be painful or less pleasurable. Most caregivers recommend waiting four to six weeks after birth before intercourse, because of the risk of uterine infection, internal damage, or further tearing. If you have stitches, though – either from a C-section, a perineal tear or an episiotomy, you need to be particularly careful. You should definitely wait until after your six-week postpartum visit with your doctor, to get the green light to resume intercourse.
Breastfeeding is the best thing for the baby and the mother-baby bond, but it does cause a decrease in the level of hormones that make you have the desire for sex. You are giving life to another being, and you are normally “redirected" toward this task.
You Are Not Ready for Sex Until You Feel Ready
Assuming you are past the four-to-six weeks since delivery, and your doctor has given you the go ahead, it may be physically safe to have sex, but it may not feel emotionally safe. First of all, you have 24/7 demands from the baby. You may have a lot of emotions and even mixed feelings. You want to give yourself permission to heal on every level. Make sure you talk to your partner about what you are feeling and what you need. Also, listen to your partner’s concerns. He may need some reassurance that you still love and need him. He may need to understand what is happening inside your body and your mind.
Some women are worried about how their body looks, and feel that they are not as attractive to their mate. Or even worried about getting pregnant again. Talk to your doctor if you are struggling with postpartum depression or severe baby blues. You may be worried about the pain of intercourse. There are just so many reasons not to rush. Better to wait a little longer until you feel ready rather than force yourself and cause yourself more pain and fear because it hurts. Give yourself a break. It will take time, but if you enjoyed sex before, you will enjoy it again.
How to Get Back in the Saddle After the Baby is Born
Communicate! Make sure you and your partner are communicating about what is going on. Don’t go dark on each other! Don’t assume that your partner can read your mind and understand what is going on inside you. You may think it is obvious, but he may be wondering if you are mad at him, or if it will ever change, or he may have no clue how to make it easier for you. Find time, even if it is five minutes, to connect physically. It will be good for both of you. This could be as simple as hugging, kissing, holding each other.
Discover the Joy of Making Out Again
Discover the joy of connecting with each other in pleasurable ways. Take the pressure off of having intercourse until you both feel more than ready. Sex can involve so much more than intercourse and even orgasm. You can find fun ways to touch each other that feel good. You can use hands, lips, tongue, to bring each other exquisite pleasure.
Keep talking about what feels good. Don’t always be complaining about what feels bad, or what is missing. Keeping your attention on pleasure is a great way to increase the joy of each other’s company. This is a precious time. Remember that even though the baby’s needs are consuming, there are still adult needs that need to be addressed. They just need more time, more creativity, and more willingness to serve each other in kind ways.
Be Gentle, Be Patient, Be Loving
With time and patience you will find your way back into a sensual connection with your partner. Maybe even one better one than the routine you used to follow. Manual and oral stimulation around the clitoris can be delightful. Giving him pleasure with your hands and mouth may send him over the moon.
Getting back in the saddle by having this kind of intimacy may lead you in time to the desire to have to intercourse. If you are feeling any pain or discomfort, you might experiment with different positions, where you can control the depth of penetration. If you are in the missionary position, try putting a soft pillow under your behind to change the angle to make insertion more comfortable. If you had a C-section, consider making love side-by-side so there's no pressure on your wound. Using a vaginal lubricant may help reduce any discomfort from vaginal dryness.
Keep talking about what feels good! If you just do this, you will improve your sex life and your marriage or partnership. This is an opportunity to strengthen your connection, and your desire to bring each other profound pleasure.
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