Your Sex Life After Baby
Challenges -- and solutions -- to getting your intimacy back on track.
Body Changes, Inside and Out continued...
Meanwhile, Saltz suggests buying some lingerie that makes you feel sexy while strategically covering up some of your new problem areas.
Another physical issue is that delivering vaginally usually stretches the vaginal walls, which could decrease friction and thus reduce sexual enjoyment.
It can take a while for those muscles to resume their original tone. For some, it never does, according to Ross.
Try some Kegel exercises to tone your pelvic muscles. The repetitive tightening and releasing of those muscles can also help heal the area after vaginal tears or an episiotomy.
With all the changes that might be happening to your body, try your best to embrace them as a part of motherhood.
Be Honest About What's Holding You Back
If you’re still having trouble resuming your sex life -- apart from physical issues -- it might be time to take a look at what’s going on emotionally in your relationship.
“Ask yourself, ‘What is making me uncomfortable enough that I don’t want to express intimacy with my partner through sex?’” Saltz says.
One of the typical emotional blocks is the feeling of anger or resentment about being home changing diapers all day while your spouse rejoins the “real world” and does “normal” things like working outside the house and talking to other grownups.
“If you’re angry about something, you’re not going to want to have sex with them,” Saltz says.
Other big emotional hang-ups are usually from self-consciousness about your body and mental fatigue.
Many of these problems can be addressed through discussion with your partner. Relying on your mate’s support underscores to both of you that you’re in this together.
Don’t forget couples counseling. Ross recommends that every couple proactively seek therapy at least once after having a baby. It might help resolve smaller problems before they can snowball into something bigger.
Explore the Alternatives
Sex is about pleasuring each other and there are many ways to do that,” Saltz says.
If you’re not up for full-blown intercourse, consider oral sex, manual stimulation, and erotic massage as ways to feel closer to your lover.
Even when you’re not feeling sexual, make an effort to express your affection. Try kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling on the sofa, or giving a relaxing foot rub. Remember to do that during the day to keep alive your feelings of connectedness.
Accepting the New Normal
Although it varies from person to person, most sexual issues women experience after pregnancy get better within the first year, according to the Mayo Clinic.
That first year with baby is physically intensive. During this time, both partners need to accept they might not be having as much sex as they did before.
It’s also realistic to think that you may not ever go back to the way it was pre-baby.
For example, scheduling sex might become the not-so-romantic norm for a while. But if the other option is missing out altogether because your lives are too hectic, then it’s a necessary strategy.
With each stage of your family’s development, you may enter a “new normal” with sex.
“But it’s not about how much sex you’re having. It’s about how unhappy you each might be about not having it,” Saltz says. “If one partner feels denied all the time, it creates a vulnerability in the relationship... These problems have to be addressed before it’s too late.”
Similarly, says Saltz, if you’re both fine with not having sex as much, you’re OK.