Recall for a moment the awkward fumbling of your first kiss, your first make-out session, or your first orgasm. More than likely, you were hesitant about your body’s preferences, uncertain of what to do, and unsure how to enjoy it. Relearning your sexuality–indeed, discovering your postpartum sexuality–is quite similar in that it takes time, patience, and a will for sensual adventure to get your groove back. And the groove you track down may end up being a totally new groove altogether. Having kids is arguably the most intense change a romantic relationship encounters, and just as your body, mind, hormones, and priorities have undeniably altered, so too your sexual self may be unrecognizable from that of the woman who you were prior.
Frankly, it can feel downright unfair when a biological function like sex drive, something that gave you such joy before baby landed, that you honed and demystified in the years since puberty, has seemingly…vanished. The good news is that you are not alone. Postpartum lack of lustiness is quite common. So don’t shame yourself, and don’t give up on sex. If your baby shows up and your libido takes off, try these five steps to get back in the (sexy) saddle.
- Erotic Wishlist – What would you have liked to explore sexually before pregnancy but didn’t get the chance? Would you like to be seduced, experiment with sex toys, or try a sexual role-play? This list isn’t about what feels probable or practical right now, in stained pajamas drinking lukewarm coffee; it’s what you think you might like to try. If nothing sounds “good,” per se, keep it simple; kissing, a two-hour massage, or just an uninterrupted bath. Write down at least four items.
- Set the Scene – Sexuality is so much more than just The Deed itself; atmosphere can be equally important to getting and staying in the mood. Take a look at the wishlist you’ve created, and make a corresponding list of fantasy settings for your experimentation. Can you imagine trying these things at home with baby safely asleep upstairs? Would it be more likely to occur after a good date night and in your car? Or at a hotel? Again, this isn’t a “practical” wishlist – it’s about what would create the most optimal setting for you. If a waterfall in Fiji comes to mind, write it down.
- Bulldoze the Barriers – Money, Time, and Energy. Lack of these three precious resources might be the most daunting roadblocks to realizing an optimal post-baby sexual/fantasy setting, but also pinpoint not-so-obvious impediments such as breastfeeding and bottles, or feeling confident enough in a non-parental caregiver. Now: remind yourself that these are just logistics, and most logistics have work-arounds! They may not be easy, but they are doable. Enlist trusted friends or family as babysitter. Pump in advance, or schedule your escapade around feeding times. Easiest of all might be turning your own room into a hotel-esque sanctuary: dreamy lighting, flickering candles, music, and, well, you get the picture! It might not be a waterfall in Fiji, but a quiet candlelit shower with your partner can be a wonderful opportunity for intimacy. (Maybe you can even get clean?! Wouldn’t that do wonders for your libido?)
- The Thrilling Threesome – Think back to your Top Three (pre-parental) peak sexual experiences. What made them special, why were they fun? Was there a distinct intimacy, an unusual spontaneity? Perhaps it was the luxury of time, or the lack thereof, or a simple laugh between lovers. Whatever the peculiar place or sizzling circumstances, dig deep to remember the details. Pick your brain and borrow something (or many things) from these experiences! Your body just might remember them, too…
- Put It Into Practice – You’ve done the hard work already. You know what you’d like to try, what you need to create the mood, and now it’s time to make it happen. Just as you would plan an ordinary date, book a Sex Date and start checking items off that wishlist.
If you follow these steps, you will have charted an alternate sexual roadmap. However ingrained and well-earned the old map was, you are now on new terrain. You are rethinking what you like and what you like-like and creating a new appreciation of who you are sexually…not then, but now. And that appreciation is so important, because ultimately, it’s your perception of your sexuality that determines your actual sexual activity.