How is it that I find myself here? As a sexologist, a sexuality educator, and sex positive advocate, how is it that I’m dealing with extremely low sexual desire post-pregnancy? When I co-authored Your Orgasmic Pregnancy, never in a million years did I think that I would be one of those women who would have trouble getting back in the saddle post-partum. Never did I truly fathom just how hard it would be to get in the mood when I’m all about my babe.
The last six months have been quite the learning experience both personally and professionally. With sex the farthest thing from my mind, and my level of desire typically close to zero, I’ve found myself relating to women I’ve sought to help in a totally different way. I find myself looking at the advice that I, and other sex advisers, have given women with low or no libido over the years, realizing just how flippant and difficult to execute the quick fix solutions have been. If it was so easy to solve, many women wouldn’t be dealing with this situation!!
Finding the desire, let alone energy, for sex following a pregnancy is one of the most impossible tasks facing new parents. I’ve joked with friends that women who have found themselves giving birth to another child 10 months later have really taken one for the team. I don’t understand how they could find it in themselves to put out, let alone enjoy what they’re doing, just weeks after giving birth.
Between late night feeds, less quality sleep, bodily changes, fluctuating hormones, hair falling out, dry skin problems, aching breast—Mother Nature seems to have stacked everything against a woman when it comes to reclaiming her sexual self. Such is made even harder if you’re breastfeeding. My once erotic breasts have now become functional. Add to that the side effects of breastfeeding, like vaginal dryness, and it’s no wonder that I’m simply not in the mood.
So what am I to do? What should any woman or couple in my shoes do to cope with a lack of sex drive? To date, I’ve found the following helpful.
Partners can make a lot of assumptions about what’s going on, like “He doesn’t seduce me because he no longer finds me attractive,” or “She doesn’t want me anymore.” Letting your partner know how you’re feeling can help both of you avoid a lot of distress.
Take the time to explain why you feel the way that you do, giving reassurances that it’s not your lover, but the situation, e.g., “I long to be intimate with you, but have absolutely no desire these days in dealing with a newborn. I hope that you’re not taking that personally.”
Plan a date night.
Even if it’s just a couple of hours, allow yourselves to escape for a nice dinner or drink. Have rules in place, like that you will not talk about your baby for more than 10 percent of the time. Focus, instead, on each other and other parts of your lives that get you out of the parent headspace.
Seduce. Seduce. Seduce.
New moms, in particular, need a lot of time to get in the mood. She doesn’t need to forget that she’s a mother, but needs to be given the permission to forget about her many responsibilities. She needs to know that her baby is safe and that she has plenty of time to slip into a sex kitten frame of mind and enjoy it for a bit.
Plan for privacy.
Piggybacking on the last point, make sure that any action can take place in a baby-free space, and one where intimacy can be leisurely.
Have the birth control matter sorted.
While babies can be great birth control in the abstinence they unintentionally invite, your windows of opportunity can be quickly shut if protection isn’t in arm’s reach or already in use. Talk about the type of contraceptive you want to be using, and make sure that it’s being used, giving you the peace of mind needed to focus on foreplay!
Bring in the enhancements.
Many new moms, especially those breastfeeding, will need a great lubricant, like Astroglide, in getting wet enough for hot sex. A number will be thankful to have a vibrator handy, whether to jumpstart her sexual response or accelerate it. So treat yourselves to a good one, perhaps adding goodies like Jimmyjane’s new Form 6 G3 to your couple-time gift exchange this holiday season!
Remember that this is a temporary situation.
While you’ll always be parents, you won’t always be the parents of an infant. While intimacy for the next 18 or so years will have its challenges, your energy levels will be taking the greatest hits now. As long as you’re communicating openly about the challenges and how to overcome barriers to intimacy, you will get to a point that you’re up for sex once more. So hang in there!