Sex After Baby – It’s Normal to Feel How You Do. We Promise.
Let’s talk about sex after becoming a mother.
If you feel like having a baby is wreaking havoc on your relationship and sex life, trust us, you’re not alone. You’re up all night with baby, you may already be back at work, and frankly, you’re exhausted. And rightfully so, mama!
The last thing you want to think about is sex – you just want to sleep and take care of your child (many times forgetting to take care of yourself in the meantime). Your body feels new and vulnerable. Naturally, physically, and mentally, sex can seem daunting after everything you’ve gone through during birth – whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section, or even if you have recently adopted or became a stepmom. The reality is, it can take up to two years (sometimes longer) to get used to the new normal and to feel like we truly have a handle on everything, including our bodies.
Some parents experience the first three to six months after a child’s birth as the most demanding and challenging time of their lives. Penetrative Sexual Intercourse is off the table for the first few weeks (or even months) and the mere idea of sex may seem weird and daunting.
On one hand, you miss the intimacy and desperately want to reconnect with your partner sexually. On the other hand, the exhaustion, or in many women’s cases, the fear of pain, is holding you back.
Sex after childbirth isn’t discussed openly, so many new parents feel caught off guard by how difficult it is to maintain closeness and intimacy once you’ve brought a little one into the world.
Just know this: YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE. We understand how tricky navigating sex can be. We have your back. Having the proper information and realistic expectations can make it much more bearable.
Mini Bloom, WOO More Play, and sex and intimacy coach, Simone Farschi, have partnered together to bring you the ultimate guide for new moms in nurturing their body, mind, relationships, and home during the hectic early years of mothering.
Things We Wish They Told Us Before Becoming Mothers:
You have a lot of time to yourself and absolutely no time to yourself at the same time. Prepare and enjoy this time in between, allow the change to be something you embrace with curiosity, rather than trying to “get back” to what you were or an expectation of what you “should” be.
Sexuality is about so much more than sex. Sexuality activates our subconscious minds and can take us to flow states of self-discovery, healing, and embodied learning. Sex after children allows us to rediscover our bodies and our connection to ourselves. It demands us to prioritize our wellbeing, practice identifying our desires, ask for what we need, and place our pleasure at the center. From this place, our erotic self can be the catalyst for being more present – and for becoming a mother.
The confusing part is, you can be quite horny when you are pregnant and after having a baby. This can conflict with what you think you are supposed to feel, or your ability to have the same kind of partner sex you were used to before. Your body is going through a major change, so treat it as so. Take this precious time to rest, do the things you have not had time to do, and love up on yourself.
- If you’re breastfeeding, your prolactin levels are high and estrogen levels are low. Estrogen is a key hormone for arousal and natural vaginal lubrication. With low levels of the hormone, you may find that getting turned on takes longer and your vagina is too dry for comfortable penetration during intercourse… so, prepare for it. Always have lube on hand (we recommend using natural and organic Coconut Love Oil).
- Your breasts. Your relationship with your breasts will change. Embrace it.
- The fact is, few women want fast and hard penetration post-birth. This means you need to redefine what you want sex to look and feel like after a baby.
- Don’t forget that you are your own best lover. Take the initiative into your own hands, make time to explore and nurture your body, and get a greater understanding of what you want, what you like, and how you can satisfy yourself at any given moment. Pass this info on to your partner.
This is also a deeper re-training of your relationship to sex. Most women have been conditioned to believe that sex is something we are giving and it is our job to please our partner. Allow this time to be a new opportunity for you – an opportunity where you can practice fully receiving, and understanding that, to receive, we must first know how to ask for what we want. And even if we don’t always know what, exactly, we want, we do know that we want to be touched and to be desired and to feel loved. Make time to explore what that looks like together.
Even if you consider yourself a sexual person and desire sexual connection often, you may find that now with the addition of another human to take care of (in addition to the changes in your body), sex may begin to take a backseat. It may feel demanding and sexual frustration may occur. Coming in connection with this requires challenging the idea of what sex is to you and your partner now, how it refuels you, and how you can reframe the entire act as something we are receiving rather than giving away.
In case you missed it, a woman’s arousal time is typically 30-40 minutes, while a man’s is 5 minutes. Knowing this, think of intimacy after a baby as a great time to feminize your sexuality.
What do we mean by that? Your pleasure and desires are now at the core of getting it on. After giving birth, our bodies can be less forgiving when it comes to penetration without full arousal. Remind your partner of this so that instead of feeling disconnected, they feel a part of the exploration process. This deep sexual exploration will create a creative connection between you, heightening intimacy and arousal. Remember that your partner will be looking for and needing your guidance about how to approach you again in a way that does not hurt and feels good for both of you.
Removing the expectation of penetration and the goal of an orgasm allows you to explore without pressure. This is a practice of expanding what pleasure, intimacy, and lovemaking looks like to you. Exploration allows us to open up all kinds of new ways to play, feel desire, feel cared for, feel the edges of our emotions, and learn how to express them. Overall, it allows us to deepen our capacity for pleasure and intimacy.
C-Section is major abdominal surgery. In any other circumstance, there would be prescribed rehabilitation after such surgery, but for some reason, this is not considered with birth. So it’s up to you to take care of yourself. Self-care, rest, and allowing adequate time for your body to repair are essential. Once your scar begins to heal, you can massage it (WOO’s Coconut Love Oil doubles as massage oil) to help decrease the scar visibility itself, as well as the fascia and scar tissue in the area. This is important to bring back sensation and prevent possible pulling or pain during penetration. If you are curious to learn more about recovering from scar tissue, painful trauma, or difficult memories around your birthing experience, you can contact Simone Farschi directly (or another sexological bodyworker in your area).
Self Care = Sex Care
Make sure both your partner and yourself are well fed and well slept. When we are not, our bodies run on overdrive and sex is not the priority. Making simple adjustments to your daily routine will make it easier to get into sexy time mode.
- Make a dedicated self-care space for yourself in your house. What are the things that make you feel sensual? Flowers, special oils, and scents, soft and luxurious fabrics? Surround yourself with what feels good and safe to you. Add your toys, lubricants, and all of the goodies you need in a reachable area that is easy for you to grab when you want them.
- Schedule self-care.
- Schedule sex. With yourself AND with your partner. Trust us, this can make it super hot.
- Breast Massage. If you are breastfeeding, your relationship with your breasts may change as they may be both sensitive and numb at the same time and the idea of having anyone near them other than your child can be daunting and very unsexy. Taking time to nourish and to get to know your new body is okay. These once felt pleasurable to you and now they feel off-limits, so take care of them. There is nothing wrong with you for not wanting intimate touch on a specific area of your body, though you can build on this relationship with yourself by listening to what your body needs by doing a daily breast massage (use this Hallelujah Nipple Cream to help). Not only does this massage help with lymphatic movement, but having contact with your chest and heart activates the thymus gland increasing positivity, happiness, and self-worth.
- Solo Sex. Self-pleasure and masturbation are key to defining the kind of love and sex you want. When you give yourself the gift of masturbation you have total control over how you touch your body and bring it to pleasure, getting to know the subtleties of your arousal and control over your orgasm.
- Give yourself a vulva massage. Rub oil gently around your outer labia, inner labia, perineum, and anus. You can do this as you get out of the bath or shower or before you go to bed. Listen to a calming and sensual playlist, and tell yourself loving affirmations.
- Allow yourself time to get quiet, to discover what your desires are in this moment, and to give them value. Honestly communicate what you want and recognize that it can change throughout the day and in the coming months. Have regular check-ins with yourself to allow recognition and voice to these transitions and needs.
- Set boundaries. The common misconceptions around boundaries are that they are harsh and dismissive, but that’s completely wrong! Boundaries can be love notes to yourself and your family. They are ways to inform each other of what you are available for, what you need to care for yourself and others, and what redirection you need to maintain that peace.
#1: This is a great exercise in letting go of any conditioned ideas around motherhood and being sexual.
- Fold a piece of paper in half. On the top of one side, write “MOTHER.” On top of the other, write “SEXUAL.”
- List all of the words you associate with MOTHER and on the other side list all that you associate with SEXUAL. Do it quickly to capture your initial reactions and thoughts. What surprises you?
#2: The 3-minute game. This is an exercise that can allow you to fully receive and learn more about what you desire and the tools to express it. Simone learned this game from Betty Martin, a revolutionary sex educator. The game is very simple and informative. Simone suggests playing at least 3x/a year as you gain a better understanding of what is changing and how your sexual desires may be evolving.
- Play the 3-minute game as both giver and receiver. Make time to do this for the first time when you can both be completely present with each other. Attunement is one of the greatest gifts we can give, so take a few moments to make eye contact and catch each other’s body movements. Once you are both fully present, you may begin.
- There are only 2 parts to this exercise for each partner and you will need a timer. The reason experts suggest practicing each prompt for 3 full minutes is to get comfortable with both giving and receiving certain things. Practice expanding outside of purely sexual requests.
Okay, let's begin.
The giving partner asks: “How would you like to be touched for 3 min?” Allow time to think about this before answering. If that idea is acceptable to the partner receiving, then the giver will touch the receiver that way for 3 minutes.
Giver: “How would you like to be touched for 3 minutes?”
Receiver: “I would like you to rub my back and play with my hair.”
Giver: “Great, how is that?”
Giver: “How can I make it better?”
Receiver: “That is exactly how I like it.” Or, “Touch me a little softer and slower.”
2nd Question: How would you like to touch me (giver) for 3 minutes? Again, allow time to think about this before answering. If that idea is acceptable to the partner then touch the partner that way for 3 minutes.
Both partners need to be aware. Is this something they really want to give, that they are willing to give? If not, they can say no, or they might say, “I cant do xy, but I can do z.”
Enjoy the moment.
If this article has been helpful, you can take the next step in learning more about your relationship with sexuality and intimacy by signing up for Simone’s upcoming courses:
- Revealed: Rewriting your sexuality stories
- Join the next Pleasure Retreat for some luxurious pampering and to dive into learning more about your sexual anatomy and orgasmic potential
- For individually tailored work, contact Simone for 1:1 mentorship to help bring back intimacy and self-care into your life and relationships