Like all good sex advice, my top tip for sex after birth is: take the pressure off!
Don’t have any expectations that you should be having sex, let alone wanting to have sex, six weeks after giving birth. Essentially, as long as you’re breastfeeding, your body is predominately for the child and alongside this, most couples or mothers are in survival mode in the first few years of the child’s life. It is normal that the child is the exciting new priority for the couple. However, I recommend that over time, we learn to separate our roles of parent, couple and that of the individual. After the first 1.5 – 2 years of the child’s life, the parents should learn to put themselves equal first with that of the child.
Adults must be committed and determined to maintain their romantic relationship.
Having a new child is obviously very rewarding but can also be totally depleting. Libido in not only energy for sex, it is energy for life. If you feel low on energy for life it is likely you may feel low on energy for sex. Healthy sexuality requires a person to have energy to give and you can imagine with a newborn and for the next few years of their life the parent has other priorities. It’s also worth mentioning though, that sex/sexuality done well, can give us vitality.
It is therefore important, like within most relationships, that eroticism involves cultivating relationships as an individual as well as a couple and that cultivating these identities is separate from the family unit, despite them of course all influencing one another.
Redefine your erotic and sensual language with different types of touch and no goal-orientated sex
Without an abundance of extra life-force or energy to give to the self or to another adult, the mother (or the primary caregiver) is very unlikely at the end of the day to want to give anymore. So it’s important to recreate the sexual language or landscape of the couple during the first year or two of the baby’s life.
People can have many different types of responses to birth and their evolving bodies. If a partner expects that sex just involves penetration and ejaculation, you can understand how the other partner may feel a lack of desire to have this kind of sex. In these first few years of the baby’s life (6 months – 1.5 years loosely) eroticism and sensuality should be about adult connection that may involve erotic touch and play but may not always involve penetration or the expectation of penetration. An example of erotic connection may involve giving and receiving massage (the primary caregiver receiving it more often than not) or reading erotica together.
The mother may have experienced physical birth trauma, so making sure they get the physical love and care they need, should also be of high priority.
Many women need time adjusting to their bodies after birth and showing the mother that you love them, by connecting, exploring, kissing caressing, massaging their powerful, life-giving body is very important. In the early stages of life with a newborn and toddler, eroticism should be about making the primary caregiver feel good and connected to their body, outside of it just being for the child. Eroticism should also be about filling up the cup and sometimes this means giving an adult time to be an adult, without anyone from the family involved.
If you take away all the pressure to have a fully expressed sex life, at least until after you’ve stopped breastfeeding and recovered from your birth, you make some good head-way for a healthier and vibrant sex life, long into the future.
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Create space for being a couple
Once the logistics and basic survival mode of having a child in this day and age soften, it’s now an important time to introduce creating space for being a couple.
Spend some time together without the child. Try and not talk about the child and the home duties when you are having romantic time together.
Suggestions for your time together involve:
- Being physical together, going for a walk, exploring adventurous activities
- Exploring the city you’re in like a tourist
- Taking a surprise morning off work to stay in bed together, get someone to babysit for a few hours in the morning.
On that note, I hear many people say that finding babysitters is expensive or hard. Trade babysitting kids within your community. “I’ll take your kid for a few hours if you can take ours next time?” Remembering, that they say it takes a village to raise a child, but now-a-days we can get stuck in this idea that we think we have to do it all alone.
Try and remember what made you feel alive as a couple previously and bring in these qualities to your time together. Some suggestions involve going to gigs together or having dinner parties. Socialising together can be a great way to see the other interacting with other people, which is often a turn on, because you see your partner in a different light.