Let’s Talk About Sex (After) Baby

Before Laura, 38, delivered three children within five years, her love life was as active as a toddler on sugar. “It didn’t matter what my husband and I were doing – laundry, dancing, watching t.v. We’d stop what it was and go for it, sometimes more than once a night.”

But as they say, the times have changed.

Baby Number One arrived and Laura’s libido took a hit. She blamed being tired, a feeling that hasn’t lessened since the birth of her oldest. Then Babies Two and Three joined the family, and now Laura says she’s lucky to remember to tell her husband goodbye each morning as he leaves for work, much less kiss him goodnight. “It’s like my mojo got smashed by a train,” she says. “Sadly, it’s never fully recovered.”

Chances are, the majority of parents reading this article completely understand. A study conducted by Prima Baby magazine found that on average, couples made love ten times per month pre-pregnancy, half that much during pregnancy, and a mere four times a month – or just once per week –once baby arrived.

The main excuse for this decline in intimacy? Pure and simple exhaustion.

Mary, mother of a three-month old, understands all too well. “I barely have enough energy to brush my teeth every day,” she says, much less become intimate with her husband.

Jennifer Landa, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD and author of the book The Sex Drive Solution for Women: Dr. Jen’s Power Plan to Fire Up Your Libido, says feeling too tired for sex after giving birth should be expected. In the first six weeks following delivery, whether it’s vaginal or by C-section, Dr. Landa suggests cutting yourself some slack in the amorous department.

“(You have) all kinds of hormone changes going on with your body,” she says, and, of course, you’re dead tired from lack of sleep and stress. “Adjust your expectations,” she recommends. “Don’t expect your libido will come back the way that it was prior.” It will return over time, she adds; but it’s not going to happen right away.

Even when you’ve left the diaper stage behind, finding the time and energy to be intimate with your partner requires some work. Laura and her husband schedule sex once a week to make sure it happens, and while this might not sound overly romantic, Dr. Landa says scheduled sex is a perfect strategy to keep the fires burning.

“We’re busy," says Laura."We have a kid in soccer several nights a week, another in dance on the weekend. I work, (my husband) works. Having it scheduled makes us do it, even if we feel like we don’t want to. And even if we don’t want to when it’s time, that feeling always changes.”

If nooky has become nothing more in your life than a fleeting memory of what used to happen before bottles and teething and baseball games got in the way, Dr. Landa recommends the following for turning on the passion once again.

  • Master the art of a quickie. Hour long romps in the hay may be over, but you can always find ten minutes here or there in a day; after all, why else was nap time created? Kids have a play date? Junior watching Phineas and Ferb for the millionth time? Get busy! “Sneak time in the shower,” Landa also suggests, adding that all-natural coconut oil works very well as both a moisturizer and a water-soluble lubricant.
  • Enlist the help of others. “The quickie is (a) great (way) to sneak it in, but you need those longies, and you can’t really get that with a baby in the house,” Landa says. Ask your in-laws, parents or friends to borrow baby for a while; or, when the kids are older, for an overnighter.  “Plan to get dressed up and do the things you would have done before you had a baby. Flirt about it. Plan it. Get excited about it."
  • Think sexy. Landa believes parents often feel neglected when baby comes. For so long, everything revolved around each person that made up the couple; once baby makes an appearance, this will likely stop. Parents  lose sight of how to reconnect with one another, because children, regardless of their age, require work and attention. To keep the mojo rising, think sexy. “From the girly-girl point,” says Landa, “splurge on a piece of lingerie.”  Keep the passion interesting by switching things up a bit, too. Landa tells patients to think of it this way: If you had to watch your favorite movie every single day of the year, you’d probably grow tired of it. “So many people are trying to do the same thing the same way night after night after night. They expect they should feel excited to do that." Use your imagination to find exciting ways to connect intimately. Give each other a massage. Experiment with videos or toys. Write your fantasies on sheets of paper and have the other person draw one from a hat. Novelty can always be a turn on, says Landa, because, " No one is excited to do the same thing over and over again.”
  • Pamper yourself. You can’t give to others if you aren’t taking care of your own needs first. Get some exercise, which raises testosterone; and testosterone has been shown to raise self confidence in women. Take time to unwind: take a bath, read a book, watch a show, sip a glass of your favorite wine, curl up with a mug of hot tea. Reconnect with friends that you haven’t spoken to for a while, particularly those who make you laugh. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll feel more interested in sharing pleasurable times with your spouse.

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Kathy

ModernMoms' Place

Mama Marathoner

 

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