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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. See my full disclaimer here.
*This post is a continuation from the last post entitled When Childbirth Steals your Sex Drive. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t already and if, in fact, childbirth has stolen your sex drive. Or you just wish you liked sex.
If you’re struggling to relight the passion flames amidst the exhaustion of parenting small people, take heart. We’ve got you covered here with ten great ways to dive back into a fabulous sex life- family-raising and all.
1. Balance your hormones
Stay away from xenoestrogens, which are estrogen-mimicking chemicals that can destroy your hormones and your health. Unfortunately, they’re found in millions of everyday items*, so it’s worth finding natural and organic household cleaners, fabrics, foods, and exchanging plastic for glass and other natural materials. There are many other things you can do to balance hormones, so many that I’m writing a separate post on the subject. In the meantime, know that this thing-these hormones in need of balance- are probably most of the story. (And sleep. Sleep is the rest of the story.)
*Of course they are....I don't know about you, but this girl is SO DONE with the "By the way, everything is killing you" storyline. BUH. Can we just not anymore?!
I hate you, chemicals. Away from me.
2. Ingest your placenta
I know, this sounds super weird and granola, but hear me out. One of the best ways to ingest your placenta is with placenta encapsulation. (You can try other methods, such as cooking it up or having a placenta shake, if you’re just that brave.) Otherwise, encapsulators can be found here. Why placenta encapsulation? Your placenta contains a concoction of hormones that your body specifically created to carry you and your baby through the pregnancy and, it would seem, the post-birth season. Many women report taking the placenta during postpartum helped speed healing and recovery and balances hormones like none other. My personal experience: I’m normally a solidly dramatic person, and so I live in the highs and the lows. While I’m ingesting my placenta through the postpartum weeks I feel unusually calm and even-tempered, (read: more so than normal). Whenever I skip for a few days, I find myself slipping into a less-than-healthy place . The benefits are pretty dramatic for me, not only emotionally and hormonally but also from a healing standpoint- I had incredible energy and healed quickly from some pretty severe birth injuries. From what I've heard and read, I'm far from alone. I’m putting together a post on the research, but in the meantime, this is purely anecdotal evidence—be sure to do what feels comfortable for you, your family, and your healthcare provider. And if it’s not working for you, quit taking the placenta- but better to have it available if needed then to wish you had it and it's not there.
3. Stay Away From porn
While it may seem innocuous or even helpful in getting things going, studies have shown that sexual satisfaction decreases with porn use. Additionally, porn can lead to sexual addictions and dysfunction, to the point that singular sex (masturbation with porn use) becomes more desirable and interesting to the user than partner sex. Porn users often lose the ability to become sexually aroused by their real-life partner. This is no bueno for new parents already struggling to keep the connection going.
4. Connect with your partner
You'll have to be really intentional in order to get couple time in postpartum. You don’t have to go anywhere—the point is focused, one-on-one attention. And it doesn’t need to be sexual. Face to face couple-focused time is super important to remember (even subconsciously) why you might want to shed your drawers for this man. A really easy way to do this? Every time one of you leaves or comes home, make it a moment to hug, kiss, connect, and look each other in the eyes. Another great option is speed dating.
5. Make your needs known
Interestingly, research suggests that the most common reason women experience an increase in desire for sex after childbirth is the “amount of intimate or close feelings with my partner.” (1) Be sure to let your man know how he might help inspire such intimate and romantic feelings. It may look a lot more like changing diapers and cleaning the house than like roses and a fancy dinner out, but the point is the same—if you want to be feeling him, he may need to help get you there-even by way of chores. Whatever it takes, you need to feel connected and close to him, and that always takes effort in this season.
6. Talk about it
You probably have new parameters around your body that may be conscious or unconscious. It’s best to have a conversation- well before trying to get to third base- about the fact that some of the infield is off limits. If it makes you tense up, if it makes you uncomfortable, if it’s painful, or if you dread the thought of someone seeing/touching/coming near it—then it may need to be avoided right now, and worked back in with time, patience, and healing. Thing is, lover may not pick up on your tense cues while in the throes of passion, so be sure to have this conversation beforehand. If you’d rather not be detailed, a “Please don’t touch my ____ today” is perfectly acceptable. This way you can let go and enjoy yourself without being self-concious. And PS- if this is you- you are normal. Hemmorhoids and sore nipples and incontinence were not even a thing last year. Now they are. We are standing with you, sister. Have the conversation.
7. Think about it
Maybe sex wasn’t much by way of mental gymnastics before. As a new mom, the mental thing can be quite a hurdle. Dad may not care, but a baby sleeping right next door can be a real buzzkill, as can the new look of your midsection and uneven nursing boobs. So devote some mental energy to it. Get yourself prepared and excited. Picture yourself sexy. (Seriously, you so are. That former body knew nothing of primal womanhood. You have brought forth life, you sexy beast.)
8. Stop thinking about it
Once you decide to do it, just do it. And be all there. During sexy time, stop the mental stream. Allow yourself to think only about how it feels (and if it feels awkward and uncomfortable, see #5.) If you're having a really hard time stopping the constant stream of non-sex-related-thought, it’s worth practicing clearing your mind throughout the day through meditation, focused prayer, or other such activities. You'll need to stop the constant thought barrage so when it comes time to shut it down and just feel during sex, you’re able to do so.
9. Do special things
Light some candles and pour some wine. Get a pedicure or your hair done. Wear something flattering by buying some new lingerie for the season. Belabumbum has some adorable picks, like this or this. If you don’t feel sexy, you won’t be feeling sex. Feel beautiful and be comfortable—these things are incredibly important when trying to revive a lethargic tiger.
10. Take Heart
This is a season, good reader. A season you must get through with an intact- no- a strong- romance at the end of it. Doing so is some work, but it can be done. Sex in some form or fashion will likely need to be a part of these years in order to keep things connected and healthy, but as long as you work on that- connected, healthy, meeting one anothers needs—you’ll make it to the other side. And I’ve heard that over there, sleep awaits. Rejuvenation awaits. And sex drive will very likely make a strong recovery. So take heart. This isn’t forever. The tiger is just taking a (long, rather ill-timed) nap.
1. Exploring Women’s Postpartum Sexuality: Social, Psychological, Relational, and Birth-Related Contextual Factors, Lauren E. Hipp, BS,* Lisa Kane Low, PhD,† and Sari M. van Anders, PhD‡ Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA;jsm_2804 2330..