So your post-baby sex life is a little lacking? (Okay, make that nonexistent?) The good news is you're not alone. With baby in the picture, sex can drop a few notches on the priority list. And it's not just the new responsibilities and exhaustion—delivering a baby can leave you sore, dry and feeling not-so-sexy. If you're ready to turn the heat back on in the bedroom (or dining room, or kitchen), try these real-life tips from sex therapist Lisa Terrell, MA, DHS, and a few other moms who've been through it all before.
1. Get Naughty
If you aren't quite ready for actual intercourse but you still want to get intimate, there are other things you can do, you know. (Wink, wink.) Seriously, get creative and find ways to sexually connect. "Intimate contact can come in many forms," says Terrell, who founded the Sensovi Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. "Think in terms of sensual contact, sensual relaxation and sex play."
2. Warm Up
It's normal to be scared of postpartum sex. After all, the parts involved just went through a pretty traumatic event. So start slow. Share a lingering kiss now and then. Cuddle. Wrestle. "Do things you both genuinely enjoy that have some kind of physical component rather than being intercourse- and orgasm-focused," Terrell advises. (Once you work up to actual sex, use protection if necessary—it's very possible to get pregnant again right away.)
3. Get Naked
Even if you're feeling not-so-appealing, naked is sexy. Terrell recommends a joint shower, a game of strip poker, a candlelit tub or—our favorite—some skin-on-skin spooning. Without any necessary plans for sex, slide between the sheets minus the skivvies. You may fall asleep right away, in which case you'll have a nice, intimate rest. Or...you might get the urge to take things further.
4. Enjoy Quickies
No, your sex life won't be all quickies from now on (promise). There'll be amazing things in the future (like a child that sleeps for more than 45 minutes). But in these crazy days of exhaustion, crying fits and 3 a.m. feedings, quickies are king. Go ahead and give it a shot. It worked for Kimberly Ford, author of Hump: True Tales of Sex After Kids, who claims that even brief intimate episodes release frustration, leave her feeling closer to her husband and keep the flame alive for future rolls in the hay.
5. Give Your Body a Break
Childbirth can leave a lady less-than-lubricated. First, recognize that this has nothing to do with your love or desire for your partner. (If they don't believe you, make them read this.) It's those pesky hormones again—namely a decrease in estrogen due to your new placenta-free state. (Chemicals produced in breastfeeding add to this issue too). It could be six months until you're back to normal, so check out the personal care items at your local drugstore. "Use lots of lube...buy stock in it," says Jelliebean1982. A little well-placed Astroglide can work wonders.
6. Give Your Partner a Break
Between the hormones, the spit-up and the sleepless nights, don't be shocked if your partner's every word sounds malicious or annoying in the first months of parenthood. Instead of letting resentment bubble up (in which case sex doesn't stand a chance), talk to them. Let them know how they can help out, whether it's taking over while you relax in the bath or giving you a nice rubdown after baby conks out. Happy mommy = better sex.
If you're still struggling to connect post-baby, relationship counseling can be incredibly beneficial. Download Lasting for a personalized marriage health program you can access from your phones. The app addresses a plethora of concerns, including a lackluster sex life.
7. Embrace the Awkward
Get ready to giggle, because it's true: If you're breastfeeding, you might squirt milk when you orgasm. Crazy, right? If it doesn't bother you, then just go with it. If it's a turn-off, have sex right after a feeding or simply keep yourself covered. "I leave my nursing tank or bra on. It's not the hottest thing but I'm afraid I'm going to spray my husband in the eye," jokes MyBella. For a sexier feel, stick a couple of nursing pads into a lacy bra for protection. And remember, this is just something else your amazing body can do right now.
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Updated December 2018