Nothing really prepares you for life after kids. Although it is likely the most incredible experience of your lifetime, expanding your family comes with challenges and a big one is the drop in sex….quantity and quality.
I found myself in that position years back when I had my first and the most common directive I was given was to go on a date night. I have nothing against date nights. Don’t get me wrong, date nights are fantastic and great for connecting and reconnecting but let’s be real here. It probably took a tremendous amount of planning, prep, arranging a sitter, getting yourself ready and then the date itself. You barely have the energy or time to shower and now you’re expected to do all of that plus a date?! When you finally do get home the only part of your bed that’s going to be wet is the drool on your pillow because you are exhausted. Not exactly the jump start to your sex life you were hoping for!
Parenthood is hard and has a lot of responsibilities. It’s easy to push your sexual needs to the side. It is natural to want to shower your kids with love and affection all the time but you and you partner deserve attention as well. Obviously don’t jump in the sack until you or your partner is fully healed and healthy but experts will tell you that the longer you wait, the harder it is to find that intimacy again.
Get to know your partner again.
I mean that in the most literal sense. Physically speaking, after a woman gives birth her body will go through a huge adjustment. There is an immediate adjustment post birth and a gradual one. Her body will and does change. She may have areas that are more or less sensitive before. A lot happened with her body and a lot of the times, those changes never quite go back to the way they were. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact. Go slow, try a lot of foreplay and see how she responds. Ask for feedback and ask her what feels good. If she seems hesitant about something, go slower or move to a different area.
Ladies, our partners can’t read our mind (no matter how much we wish they could) so please tell your partner if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t feel rushed either. The standard that a lot of doctors are going to give you is 6 weeks for healing. That isn’t a magic number and everyone is different and heals at a different rate. Remember, no two deliveries or babies are the same. If you hit the 6 week mark and you don’t feel ready, that’s ok. Someone don’t physical feel ready but emotionally and mentally want that sexual connection to their partner and there are a lot of options for you. There are many types of sex beyond vaginal penetration. In fact, many women never achieve an orgasm from vaginal penetration before kids. As long as your doctor says it’s ok oral sex is a great option, among others.
If you are attempting to engage in sexual activities months beyond your 6 week postpartum period and you are still feeling discomfort, let your doctor know right away. It’s not normal but it is common and many things can help, like pelvic floor therapy for instance.
Spend sometime getting to know your partner again emotionally as well. For women, we experience a fluctuation in hormones post delivery and our emotions can fluctuate with them. Both partners are going to, no doubt, be exhausted and stressed. You have the additional stress of caring for a new human being, increase in financial stress and now stressing about lack of intimacy in your relationship. Talk about these things and acknowledge how each other feels. Working on the emotional connection is just as necessary as the physical one.
What if I’m past that?
I would love to tell you that right after birth there is a little hiccup in quality and quantity of sex but, sadly, it isn’t true. Maintaining a good sex life takes significant work but the reward is great. Once you get past the initial struggles and settle into your new roles as parents, it does get easier. As kids get older, their needs remain a lot but they will change and the stress of parenthood doesn’t go away. So here a couple tips to keep that connection.
Go for quality over quantity. A few mind blowing nights of sex are far more beneficial than daily quickies at the end of your exhausting day. You don’t have to have sex every day. It’s perfectly fine if you do but sometimes taking a day to two between helps you regroup, catch up on sleep and build up anticipation.
Get out of the house. Our home is full of constant reminders of things we need to do or things we haven’t done. It can sometimes be hard to mentally disconnect from all of that and focus on our partners. Spend some quality time away from home like a weekend trip or even a hotel room for just a few hours.
Remember when I mentioned quickies early? Well, don’t cut them out completely. Just don’t make them the norm. Sneak a quickie in during nap time or change the location. A nice quickie in the laundry room or bathroom can be a huge turn on.
Make your bedroom YOUR bedroom. Our bedrooms are going to be the primary location of sex for most of us. Keep your kids things, toys, etc. out of your bedroom and let it be a sanctuary for you two.
Stay safe and sexy!