Yup, I just said sex. We are going there. Dad, stop reading right about…now.
This post isn’t just meant to be scandalous, it’s meant to be informative too. As some of you know, my specialization area in my work as a clinical psychologist is in “maternal mental health”, and I regularly work with new moms who are struggling to adapt to their new parent roles in more ways than one.
Often times the most common concerns I help with are how to rebuild an identity after motherhood. One component of this is one’s sexuality.
As I’m sure 99% of those reading this can contend to, sex after baby can be challenging.
For many women, the challenges are physical. Pushing a watermelon-sized human out of a lemon-sized hole can do a number on your delicate lady flower. And if this wasn’t your baby’s point of entry, having your uterus carved open probably doesn’t leave you wanting to get frisky. On top of the pain factor post-baby, often there can be some residual vagina issues thanks to stretching, scarring, and tearing.
A friend deemed this the “hotdog in a hallway” phenomenon.
This post isn’t about how to get your vagina back in order, however. Chances are you may need a Vagina Physical Therapist (that’s a thing…look it up) to repair some of that damage. Instead, I wrote this post to talk about the other thing that happens after you have a baby.
You just don’t have sex (much).
If this doesn’t apply to you, go ahead and stop reading now. Congrats girl, you have the sex drive of a teenage boy and I tip my hat to you.
For the rest of us who are too tired, too busy, or too darn touched-out at the end of the day to get it on, this post is for you.
I am sure that several of you can relate to the drop in libido that happens after baby. You don’t sleep at night and you are responsible for the life of a tiny human all day long. At the end of the day, you collapse into bed with the goal of being comatose as soon as physically possible.
Or, you are so busy with work and the other daily activities that take up time and energy, and by the time the kids are in bed and things are quiet, you have two choices for that last hour of energy and Netflix wins.
We have all been there.
For many couples, by the time they realize they’ve been on a sexual dry spell, months have passed and they can start to think self-defeating thoughts like “Am I not attractive anymore?” or “Is there something wrong in our relationship?”
The truth is that most relationships will see a decrease in sexual activity after children come because kids have a way of shifting priorities, and if you don’t work at it, you can stay in your sexual desert for quite a long time. While this is not uncommon, there are ways around the drought.
The best recommendation that I give my clients is to schedule sex.
They often look at me like I told them to do the most unsexy thing possible, and I get that there’s no thrill in penciling in “sex at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays” on the calendar.
But think of sex like an instrument that you are playing. Without practice, you get rusty. So before you get to Symphony level, you need to take your regular lessons. And I recommend to moms and dads that they take the pressure off of themselves at the beginning. Aim for quickies at first, just to make sure that the equipment still works.
Also, try for low-pressure times like first thing in the morning or midday romps because nighttime sex is when most people are more ready to crash than cuddle. After you have your weekly sex date for a while, you can start to bring back the passion and the spontaneity because your “connection” hormones will be calibrated a little bit better and therefore your drive should return.
You will still have to compete with Netflix, but thank goodness “Netflix and chill” became a thing. Hopefully, by working through the kinks (see what I did there?), you can finally get your groove back.