There’s nothing that can bring your libido to a screeching halt like having a child. But it’s not just about recovering from childbirth and feeling like your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. You are spread thinner, running on less sleep and spending a lot of your waking hours trying to figure out how to keep your life in order while you are carrying around a child.
I had three children, and with each one, I noticed that I felt less sexual. When I would recover from the newborn stage and start getting a bit more sleep, they started toddling around, and there’s literally no rest as you’re trying to keep your child alive. I had zero energy and no desire to be touched and meet another person’s needs at the end of the day.
But sex is a very important part of a partnership, and most couples still want to have sex with each other; they just don’t know how to make it happen with all the sleepless nights, feedings and diaper changes.
Though it may feel like you’ll never get your sex drive back, you probably will, and there are ways to help it along. We spoke with experts who had some great tips on how to keep a fulfilling sex life, even after kids.
Don’t think your new sex life isn’t normal
Alice Wood, sex and relationship coach, has dealt with many couples who struggle with this. And while they have an excellent relationship and feel very connected, after having a child, they wonder what has happened and struggle to find a sense of normalcy.
The first thing, Wood tells SheKnows, is to realize this is very normal. Having a child is a huge life-changing event, and the absence of sex is “a regular stage that most couples go through,” she says. There’s no need to blame anyone for the lack of sex happening. Accept this may be how it is for a spell.
Don’t assume your partner doesn’t find you attractive anymore
Yes, your body has changed; you have stretch marks and maybe some extra baby weight, but it doesn’t change who you are. Wood says it’s important to remember you are still sexy and desirable and “your partner is probably a lot less harsh on your body than you are.”
How we feel about our bodies can affect how sexual we feel, but don’t jump to conclusions and deem yourself undesirable. You are still just as beautiful and sexy as you were before having a child. In fact, I’ve heard many people say their partners are even sexier after becoming a mother.
Talk, talk, talk
You can’t move on and get out the slump if you aren’t communicating, Wood says. “Make time to discuss your relationship and find out your partner’s view of your intimate life,” she advises. It’s important to have an open dialogue about your sex life without judging — listen to how your partner is feeling. “You are a kingdom of two. There’s no space for secrets,” Wood adds.
Never shame your partner for not being in the mood or talk about how they used to be so ready for sex all the time. This makes them feel shameful and will not help you out in the bedroom whatsoever.
Schedule some sex, but keep spontaneity alive
Scheduling sex is a must after kids. It doesn’t have to be boring — it can be exciting as you anticipate it throughout the day and send each other sexy texts. But Wood says it’s important to leave room to be spontaneous too. There is something that keeps the magic alive if you jump in the shower with your partner for a quickie if your kids are sleeping.
Scheduling sex is extremely important because time is going to pass just as quickly after kids as it did before, and you must “prioritize your relationship and sex life by being deliberate with your time,” Erika Miley, a licensed mental and sexual health therapist, tells SheKnows. Don’t think of it as being boring — think of scheduled sex as a necessity.
Try something new
Miley says just because we have kids doesn’t mean we don’t like trying new things in the bedroom. We should constantly try and add something new, even it’s a small gesture. “Our brains love when we see, experience or create something new,” she says. It may take a bit more work, but the reward for both people will be worth it.
Sex can become a huge deal in a relationship if you aren’t having it. It’s important to talk about it and not to fall into a destructive routine in which both people are feeling misunderstood. Relationships involve two people and both must be willing to put in the extra effort.