Bringing the sexy back after childbirth seems exciting. It may be to some, but to others, it's a minefield of relearning how to be intimate and create time for sex. It can be a real challenge to feel sexy in your postpartum body, but it's far from impossible. Likewise, you may be unable to think of a time when your child stopped crying long enough for you to “get down to business.” There are a lot of mental and physical gymnastics that you'll go through when trying to feel sexy again after having kids. But we're here to make that easier.
Sex and physical intimacy are critical to maintaining a romantic relationship in most circumstances. It helps you bring back that chemistry, that compatibility and energy you had before. While it may take time and a lot of mental preparation, it'll be well worth the journey.
Understanding the changes
Yes, life is different after having children. Whether you're a few months postpartum or a few years, you'll be experiencing many of the same challenges, both mentally and physically.
Your body changes
After you've healed up post-birth and are ready to have sex again, it may be a bit confusing. It's like you walk into your childhood home, and all the furniture has been moved around. It's important to understand that these subtle changes may only be noticeable to you, but they're changes nonetheless.
Luckily, there's a flip side to this.
You get to experiment again!
Your body has done something unbelievable, and you have a different canvas. Exploring your body through pleasure mapping can help you understand the changes you've experienced and the landscape you'll now be dancing upon. Be patient with yourself and give it time. Try pleasure mapping with your hands and a wand vibrator first, and then you can consider inviting your partner in again.
If you've recently given birth or are still breastfeeding, you'll be experiencing a drop in estrogen levels. This will likely lead to diminished interest in sex and reduced vaginal lubrication.
That's completely normal and healthy.
Don't be panicked that you don't have an overt desire yet.
You may have also noticed that your love languages and intimacy needs have changed regardless of where you are in your child-rearing journey. You may find that acts of service suddenly mean much more than they used to. And when your partner brings home little gifts, you're absolutely delighted. Be curious about what emotional and mental changes have happened to you. Approaching your postpartum sexual journey with an inquisitive nature will make this much more exciting and pleasurable.
Also, consider what sexual desire type may suit you now. There are three major types of sexual desire:
- Spontaneous desire: When the sexy mood suddenly strikes you.
- Responsive desire: Something in your life inspires you to get in the mood, such as lustful touch, watching Magic Mike, or smelling your partner's cologne.
- Contextual desire: Your environment and mood must be aligned for you to experience desire. For example, the kitchen cleaned, the kids in bed, and having some time to read, then you feel down to get down.
Much more is happening in your life than physical and emotional changes in the postpartum landscape. Still, it's critical to be mindful of those. What you used to enjoy may not excite you anymore, but that's okay! That means you must find a new "turn-on switch" to help make the process more pleasurable and erotic.
It's crucial to highlight communication here.
You'll likely be exhausted from caring for your little one, but talking to your partner about what you're experiencing will help bring you closer together. It'll also help him understand when it's okay to try to initiate and when it definitely isn't. You'll form a closer bond by being transparent about your needs and bodily changes. It'll also take some pressure off because he'll be empathetic and genuinely understand what you're going through.
Making time for intimacy
Ah, yes, the all-important question.
When are you supposed to have sex when you have a little one trashing your home? That is a challenge you'll have to do some thinking on.
If you have a partner, brainstorm together! Two minds are better than one.
But what it usually comes down to is two different options:
- Having a reliable sleep schedule for your child
Yes, getting a babysitter is ideal here. That way, you and your partner can leave the house and share some quality time. But not everyone is comfortable with leaving their child alone with someone else. In that case, maintaining a regular sleep schedule for your child is crucial. That way, you can put them down for a nap or to go to bed early and have some dedicated time for yourself or to share with your partner.
Both of these take planning ahead and going with the flow. But that's life with a young child in a nutshell.
You can't control every variable; you must try your best and hope it all comes together.
Making time for intimacy is critical for the longevity of your relationship. Yes, the child comes first, but your partner is a close second after that. If something doesn't go to plan, be honest about your feelings and work together on problem-solving. You're in this together.
The secret to feeling sexy again
Well, it isn't a secret, nor will it be a surprise. But the answer to bringing the sexy back is for you to start to feel sexy again. The only way to do that is to invest what little spare time you have into some acts of self-care.
It may not be all bubble baths and steams at the spa. Likely it'll be having five minutes of quiet while you read a book or walk alone. These little acts have a profound effect, teaching you that your time is valuable. It also reinforces that you're more than a new mom; you're a whole person.
Remember to do other things that make you feel like yourself as well. Take time and really figure out what self-care means to you, and five minutes here and there that you can get it. This is the most realistic way to start investing in yourself again, and the returns will compound over time.
Make some changes
Now that your whole life has been turned upside down by a little bundle of joy, it takes a few new things to get you excited (and off) in the bedroom. Adding in little things can really help you enjoy sex again, such as:
- Incorporating sex toys and vibrators into sex.
- Using lubricants to help make sex more comfortable and pleasurable.
- Changing up your foreplay routine by adding a regular massage for both you and your partner.
- Trying new positions to see if what feels pleasurable has changed.
- Be creative in the locations you choose and when you have sex.
All of these things can help you feel sexy and desirable again while building up your personal sexual pleasure. Another way to enhance the sexual experience is by meditating. This will help you learn to shut out your "mom-brain", which is worried that your kid has their finger in a light socket (don't worry, they don't) and focus on the pleasure you're experiencing.
Each person's child-rearing journey is full of unique challenges and opportunities. By prioritizing sexual intimacy in your relationship, you show your partner they're still important. You're also teaching yourself that your pleasure still matters, regardless of the children. You're an independent human who has already done amazing things and deserves to feel damn good too.
It may feel daunting to start feeling sexy again after having kids but being honest about your experience, talking to your partner, and planning will be critical in your journey for continued sexual pleasure and intimacy. Treat your body and adventure with curiosity and inquisitiveness, which will pay off for you. Congratulations on your bundle(s) of joy, and remember that your happiness is important no matter what. You're beautiful, strong, and sexy, just as you are. You don't have to change a single thing, gorgeous!
Get out there, Get in there, and Get off there!
Elaine S. Turner
Clinical Sexologist | Sex, Dating, & Relationship Coach | Pleasure Product Guru
Follow me on Instagram @SexWithElaine