The day I gave birth was also the day I became fully convinced that my sex life and marriage would never be the same. Not only had I just fallen in love with another human quite possibly just as much (if not more) than my own husband, but the thought of postpartum sex terrified the crap out of me. And I felt pretty sad about that because, well, who doesn't love sex?!
A few days after I had my daughter, I was standing in the kitchen when my husband snuck up behind me and wrapped his arms around me with the most gentle touch and didn't even say a word. No corny, bad-timing joke from him, no overly seductive ear lick, and not even a butt squeeze. Just pure silence and two full minutes of our warm bodies puzzle-pieced together.
Our breaths were in sync and it was one of the sexiest moments for me, which was so interesting because it had nothing to do with sex or intimacy. Yet, there I was, fully clothed in the middle of our kitchen experiencing something sexy that wasn't even sexual. It was a simple hug from my husband and it felt so freaking sexy.
As time went on, he continued these simple gestures, from wrapping his arms around my waist while we walked into a grocery store to giving me a full-on snuggle session as we fell asleep at night. The footsie rub underneath the table. The simple and soft hand around the back of my neck as he places his forehead against mine and expects nothing but a locked gaze and my full attention in return.
All of these gestures felt like pure magic. They almost felt brand new and exciting and like nothing I had felt from him before.
I assumed things were going to change a bit once we had a baby, especially after I delivered vaginally.
Before we had our daughter, these were all things that felt like sexual experiences. The build-up to a steamy night together. The excitement of getting home and having some alone time from all the touchy-feely moments throughout the day or week. But the way he approached that first surprise hug post-baby felt like a whole new concept.
It was purely an affectionate feeling for me.
After this sensation became more and more noticeable to me, I started thinking more and more about it. Why did this feel different? My husband has always been affectionate like this before we had our daughter. He has always hugged me and squeezed me and made me feel like an absolute goddess both in our bedroom and outside of it. But this felt different, like a whole new level of affection I didn't know existed. And don't get me wrong, we did eventually have sex and he definitely continued to sneak in the corny jokes, ear licks, and butt squeezes. But even after the sex resumed (which is a whole other story for another day), those affectionate moments we were experiencing felt sexier to me than the sexually intended ones.
My husband and I have been together over eleven years now. And I'll be completely honest and have no shame in admitting that our sex life has been incredible. (I can already see him beaming when he reads that.) From the beginning of our relationship into marriage: incredible! From the accidentally flipped mattress (true freaking story) to the incredibly intimate moments you dream of — incredible!
I assumed things were going to change a bit once we had a baby, especially after I delivered vaginally. I figured it would be a transition for us and would take some time (and lots of mesh underwear, pads, icepacks, etc.), which it totally was and did, but I didn't think I would discover this side of affection that would make a super sexy moment, well, sex-less.
During the time sex was out of the question for us (because you know, vagina out-of-order and all), every gesture from him then had a different level of affection to it for me. It was no longer even remotely related to sex. And the fact that he understood this and made each of his gestures so delicate towards me just reminded me why I fell in love with him in the first place. It was clear to me that there was a huge difference between affectionate moments and sexual moments.
When we are hugged, especially from someone we love, our brains release dopamine.
The most interesting thing about this new-found discovery for me was that both of these experiences were sexy to me.
Yep, it's totally possible.
And I'm honestly a little sad that it took me having a baby to find this side of affection, but I'll take it.
I mean, think about it. When we are hugged, especially from someone we love, our brains release dopamine. Some call it the "happy hormone" and it makes us feel safe, rewarded, and less stressed, just to name a few of those pleasurable feelings. All because of a simple hug.
How beautiful is that?
Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on sex. I understand why, of course, it's pretty amazing. And it comes in so many forms from casual to that deep love kind of sex that makes it a magical beast of a thing. However, there's also just something about a hug that has brought a mushy side out of me that I never saw coming — and trust me, I'm basically a big bag of emotional mush most days.
When the time came and I entered the postpartum world, my husband hugged me.
He hugged me in a way that felt brand new. I felt it deep into my soul. It was a reminder that affection is sometimes a simple hug. A simple hug that really wasn't all that simple.