So you just had a baby. Congratulations! As you stare lovingly into their sweet face, isn’t it amazing how your sex life is also hotter than ever?
Except, hahaha — it’s totally not.
Please believe me when I say: it’s completely normal for your sex life to take a hit after nearly a year of being pregnant. You’re sleep deprived. Your vulva and/or abdomen is healing. And hormonally, your body is doing the equivalent of holding up a gigantic STOP sign to sex: it’s actively encouraging you not to be intimate right now, suppressing your pre-pregnancy hormone levels for a while.
But never fear – sexual desire does come back, especially as you start to wean baby off breastfeeding (if that is, you breastfed: no judgment if not, it’s really painful for some). The hormone prolactin surges for roughly six months, after which a baby’s demand for milk is more regulated, calming down the hunger they felt during their early growth spurts. But because prolactin is the same hormone that brings down your randier, sex-having hormones, intercourse will probably be touch-and-go for baby’s first half-year of life. Again: totally normal.
Since six months is a long time though, you might be wondering what you can do sexually with your partner until then – and, what you can look forward to when you start feeling like your normal, pre-pregnancy self. Here are four ideas to spice up your sex life during this unique life chapter:
1. Have your partner plan a date night
Let’s be honest: right after you have a baby, you’re probably going to crave sleep more than sex. So what’s the most romantic, loving thing a partner could do right now? Hire a sitter to let you sleep for a few hours. And then, have that sitter stick around, so you two can enjoy a date.
When we hear the phrase “sex life,” we typically think of something physical – something involving touch. But on said date, you might not crave a lot of touch just yet, especially if you’re breastfeeding and feeling “touched out” from baby. Try seducing your brain instead, and taking a question game on your date night. Esther Perel, whom I had on the podcast, has an excellent one out right now: Where Should We Begin? The Game.
2. Give yourself some much-needed pleasure
Around the six month period, most women start to get their period again after giving birth – which is nature’s way of gently, gently guiding your body back to fertility. Until then, you may not crave partnered sex, but solo sex? Absolutely on the menu.
One of the cool benefits of masurbating is that it tones your pelvic floor muscles, which have been put through the ringer during pregnancy. To strengthen them, why not have an orgasm? (Doctor’s orders, wink wink.) For this purpose, I like recommending the Dame Eva, a wearable, clitoral vibrator that is waterproof, folks. Picture it with me: a relaxing, much-needed bubble bath, while you vibe your way to bliss. And, even better? When you are ready for partnered sex, you can wear it in the act.
3. Mutually masturbate
IMO, mutual masturbation is one of the most underrated sex moves out there – but is so ideal for this particular period. Why? Because it’s all the orgasms, no penetration required.
As your vulva tissues return to pre-pregnancy levels, it’s natural for P-in-V sex to feel a little painful. That’s why mutual masturbation is a sexy solution, allowing you and your partner to experience pleasure without aggravating your genitals. Also? It’s super intimate – and perhaps novel, if mutual masturbation is something you and your partner haven’t explored before. Fortunately, I’ve got a guide to help you get started.
4. Have sex…doggy style
Listen, my real perspective on post-pregnancy sex is this: when it comes to positions, pick the one that’s most comfortable. But for a lot of vulva owners, I often hear that doggy style is where it’s at, when sex is on the table again.
Think about it. You’re finally feeling sexual, and in doggy style, we can play with some power dynamics – bringing out the “naughty” feeling that’s probably been completely MIA, while you’re busy caring for new life. The only problem is, if there’s a penis owner in your life, intercourse might be sensitive for them in a different way – AKA, they haven’t had as much practice lately, and want to last longer. Never fear: a delay spray like Promescent (my top choice) relaxes the nerve endings in the penis, so that sex can last as long as you like.
After having a baby, you’re going to go through a period of wondering: “will I ever want to have sex again?” and I promise, you will. But as your hormones settle back into place, try these ideas to nurture your sexual connection – and when the time is right, you’ll welcome back your normal, sex-having self, the one that triumphantly made a baby in the first place.