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Carey Somerton

Having Sex After Baby: the One Crucial Thing I Wish We’d Known

Her husband was ready for sex again, but this new mom wasn’t. Here’s how they worked through it—and what they wish they’d known beforehand.

My husband and I share so many wonderful memories from our baby’s first weeks. But there’s one moment I wish I could forget: When my husband wanted to start having sex again, and I most definitely didn’t.

Like many couples, we had a rocky sexual reboot after becoming parents. One Friday night, a few weeks after giving birth, I unlatched our little girl from my worn-out body, laid her softly in her crib and walked toward our bedroom, ready to collapse on the mattress, my eyes already half-shut. But then I noticed the candles in our wall sconces were lit—a sure sign my husband was attempting to set the mood for sex.

You’ve got to be kidding me, I wanted to scream.

I remember feeling blindsided, trapped into making a rushed decision about whether I was ready to have sex. I was medically cleared by my doctor, but I was physically exhausted, mentally drained and totally caught off guard. At the same time, I didn’t want my husband to feel rejected. I loved and needed him more than ever. How did we get ourselves into this situation? I wondered. Well for one, we had a baby—that changed everything. But it turned out, a bigger problem had been hiding all along: We had never actually talked about sex. We just lit candles.

Believe it or not, we found an app designed to address our dilemma. It’s called Lasting, and it transformed our sex life after having a baby.

Lasting is a marriage counseling app (backed by The Bump parent company) that gets to know your relationship and then offers a data-driven counseling program tailored to your needs. Reading through the sessions, my husband and I learned about marriage and sex from a scientific perspective. And one of the most interesting takeaways was learning what, on a fundamental level, really affects your sex life.

Research shows that a healthy sex life is related to two key factors: maintaining a strong emotional connection, and talking about sexual preferences with your partner. But according to Lasting, 61 percent of couples with kids say they don’t engage in direct and clear communication about sex, and 74 percent admit to not making sex a priority within their marriage.

Troubling, yes. But it’s also not terribly surprising, considering that sex can be, for many, an awkward topic of conversation. We loved that the app offers up tips for how to gently broach the topic and discuss things like when, how and how often we would like to have sex.

The one thing I wish we’d known about having sex after baby? How important it is to talk about it first. But after working through a few Lasting sessions, conversations about sex got a whole lot easier for us. We’re both more open about what we like (and dislike). We’re also more intentional about planning time for sex within our week. I feel more connected to my husband than ever before, which has been a huge plus as we figure out this tricky new parenting phase.

Carey Somerton is a part-time technology consultant, full-time mom and proud military wife. She enjoys yoga, photography and drinking all the coffee.

PHOTO: Candice Picard