How Sex Is *Really* Changing For Women Post-Baby
It’s no secret that sex after childbirth is a whole different ball game, and when I started researching this story, my goal was to simply report on how sex changes after childbirth. But when I began having conversations with my fellow millennial moms, they cited changes that go beyond a simple switch in preferred position. In fact, the major takeaway was that most women seem to not be having sex for months — or years, sometimes — after having their child.
To be honest, this wasn’t surprising for me to learn. Launching a human being into this world is a life-changing event that not only alters our bodies, but can also affect how we feel about our partner and our relationship. Realizing that many women are experiencing these same issues after giving birth, I tapped relationship and intimacy expert Alexandra Stockwell, M.D. for some helpful advice.
The good news is that rebuilding intimacy and sexual wellness is doable, and according to Stockwell, it’s important for new moms to remember first and foremost that the changes with our bodies, hormones, and emotions are temporary. “There is a new normal which can be just as satisfying as pre-birth sex,” she says. Read on to meet some millennial moms whose sex lives changed post-baby, and learn Stockwell's expert tips for getting back in the saddle (or bed — whatever you prefer).
They're Short On Alone Time
When Angie's doctor cleared her to have sex at six weeks postpartum, she was ready to get back into action, but admits that now at 12 weeks postpartum there's still no news to report. “I haven’t had sex," she says. "I really want to, but I’m just so tired. I wish I could be alone to masturbate more at least!”
Stockwell says Angie is on the right track. “One of the best ways to reconnect with your own sexuality, and your body in general, is through self-exploration,” she says. And if you're short on time like Angie, consider looking at key moments in your daily routine. If you're able to carve out a few more minutes of shower time, for instance, a toy like the plusOne Air Pulsing Arouser is a great way to make that time worth your while. It’s a waterproof companion for those moments when it’s hard to find time with your partner, and it offers arousal with delicate air pressure.
They're Dealing With A Lot
The sheer amount of major life changes that Jody, 29, experienced after giving birth contributed to sex becoming a lower priority. “All I can say is, 'What sex?' Sure, I gained a lot of weight after, and being a new mother living in a new state with his family for the first time made me very depressed," she says. "I was trying to loose weight, be a good mom, and go to school all at once.”
Being a new mom coupled with other life changes can feel overwhelming. Some women feel pressured by society and social media to put on a happy face, but according to Stockwell, it's important to communicate to your partner if you're feeling sad. She also suggests that women practice expressing words of gratitude and love towards themselves. “Look in the mirror lovingly and say, ‘This body made my baby. You are so beautiful.'” Remember: You deserve to be loved and taken care of just as much as your baby does.
They're Still Physically Recovering From Childbirth
“After the first kid, I was extremely sore healing from an emergency C-section," says Lisa, 35. "I wasn’t excited about sex.”
While yes, your doctor could give you the green light for sex after a C-section within six weeks, it’s worth noting that it could take months for the scar to fully heal. This might be a good time for a new mom to take the reigns and be on top during sex. Stockwell says this position allows moms to “control the amount of pressure, and the pace, according to what feels good.” It also makes for easy access to the clitoris — the primary source of sexual pleasure — for you to explore with your fingers or a delicate pulsing toy.
And They're Just Plain Tired
With all of these changes to your body, your relationship, and your day-to-day life, let's not forget that plenty of moms, like Lisa, 33, are just flat-out tired. “Well, my sex life is a bit dull. We are always tired and working. I think I’d love to explore and experiment more, but don’t have the energy.”
Sound familiar? Stockwell recommends rebuilding intimacy without the pressure of full-on intercourse. Sensual touching like caressing, massages, and kissing are great ways to feel an intimate connection with your partner, and a water-based lubricant like plusOne personal lubricant is a bedside must-have for postpartum sex — no matter if you're enjoying a moment with your partner, or treating yourself to a little self-love.
This post is sponsored by plusOne.