May 16, 2024

Postpartum Intimacy: Reconnecting After Childbirth

Woman getting undressed

“Sex hasn’t been the same since our son was born. Positions I used to enjoy now hurt, and I feel so tired and unsexy that it completely kills my desire to have sex at all!”

My friend’s son had just turned one, and she hoped her sex life would have somewhat normalized by then.

I explained that what she was going through was totally normal. During breastfeeding, a mother’s body produces higher levels of prolactin, which suppresses ovulation and the desire for sex.

From a biological standpoint, it makes sense! Her priority is ensuring the baby thrives, which doesn’t exactly make it ideal to procreate. Besides, it can take a few years before a mom feels like herself again.

“Well, my husband has been craving more sexual connection, and there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m ever going to crave it like I used to,” she shared.

Her sentiment is what renowned psychologist Esther Perel refers to as eros redirected. A mother feels so fulfilled from the emotional and physical connection she has with her child that she redirects her energy from the couple’s intimacy to motherhood.

It’s common for women to struggle reconnecting with their sexual selves postpartum, while their partners aren’t sure how to navigate this either.

Yet research shows that when parents prioritize each other, they set a better example for what intimate, supportive relationships can look like. The children aren’t always the center of attention, which reduces their emotional burden and allows them to grow more independently and securely.

6 Tips to Reignite Postpartum Intimacy

1. Acknowledge the need to deprioritize sex temporarily.

One of the key characteristics shared by couples with lasting sexual connections is that they prioritize sex because they know it matters. There will inevitably be times when it has to be deprioritized. When this happens, couples should recognize it and commit to finding their way back to each other once this period passes. Honest conversations to align expectations can reduce anxiety for both sides.

2. Divide the chores to boost libido.

A study by Cornell University found that heterosexual couples who share household chores report having more frequent sex. This increase is linked to feelings of fairness and higher satisfaction within the relationship, as couples who distribute chores more equally tend to be happier overall.

3. Communication is key.

It’s clinically proven that couples who talk about sex have more desire, orgasms, erectile function, and less pain during sex. When a mother’s body is healing postpartum, pain and insecurities can be all too present. 

Talk about what has changed, what feels uncomfortable or painful, and what makes her insecure. Switching up positions, using a sex pillow to adjust, applying lots of lube, or finding ways to boost confidence can help.  The more comfortable she feels, the better sex will be.

Want help getting the conversation started? Our Mindful Intimacy Card Deck has 138 guided prompts that, believe it or not, make it natural and fun to talk about.

4. Check in daily or weekly.

Entrepreneur Cody Sanchez shared a daily check-in routine that has transformed her marriage, and it can transform yours too. It’s called the TEAM method. 

Begin by sitting down and holding hands. The T is for touch, which reminds you that you’re in this together. 

The E is for education. Share one new thing you learned today – an act that adds novelty and releases endorphins. 

The A is for appreciation. Share one thing you’re grateful for in your partner.

Lastly, the M is for metrics. Instead of nagging or flaring about something that upset you in real time, write it down and share it at the end of the day. It helps you get clear on what the main takeaway from this conflict is when you step away from the heat of the moment.

5. Schedule 1-on-1 intimacy time.

Scheduling signals intention, and when you have kids, planning ahead makes a difference. Set aside a 30-minute to 2-hour window of uninterrupted time in the bedroom. 

Create a list of physical activities you both enjoy and choose one to do together during this window. These activities can include massages, role playing, stripteasing, temperature play, blindfolding, erogenous zones exercises, sex, playing our Mindful Intimacy Card Deck and anything in between.

While you may feel tired when walking into this scheduled time, these connection exercises will remind you of how good it feels when you finally do dedicate this time to each other. Plus, scheduling builds anticipation and can help you plan for activities you wouldn’t normally do on a whim.

6. Reassess your needs for pleasure.

As circumstances change, so do the things you need to get in the mood and enjoy sex. Desire doesn’t happen spontaneously for most women. It requires education and self-awareness to uncover what you need in different phases of life to build a sex life worth desiring.

That’s why I created the Art of Sexual Desire course. It’s the sex education both men and women have never had. You’ll learn actionable tools to create lasting change. If you’re curious, learn more about it here.

Reconnecting with your sexual self after having a baby is a journey that takes time, patience, and mutual effort. It’s perfectly okay to seek help and try different approaches until you find what works for you and your partner. The key is to communicate openly and find realistic ways to make each other a priority. By fostering a strong, intimate connection, you not only improve your relationship, but also create a nurturing environment for your child to thrive. Here’s to rediscovering intimacy and enjoying a fulfilling sex life once again.

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