Today's guest post is by Isiah McKimmie. She is a Couples Therapist, Sex Therapist, Sexologist and Coach who has been helping women and couples discover intimacy and lasting desire for over a decade. Find out more at her website.
As a Couples Therapist and Sexologist, most of the people I work with are parents trying to find their intimacy and connection again. It’s a topic rarely written about in parenting books but is vital to your relationship. Truthfully, we all have questions about sex, after children come along.
Here are some of the most common questions I get:
I’ve lost interest in sex - is this normal? And, how can I feel in the mood again?
It’s totally natural that you might feel daunted by the prospect of having sex again. Here is some guidance and a few tips on how to rebuild intimacy.
What is normal when it comes to sex after children?
It’s common for sexual desire to decline after giving birth. Mother nature, after all, wants you to focus on caring for your newborn and not on creating another one!.
The spike in oxytocin experienced when a new baby comes along lowers sex drive in both men and women. This continues for women who are breastfeeding.
Pain is also a common experience for up to 6 months following childbirth - even if you gave both through caesarean. Throughout breastfeeding, you’re also likely to experience reduced lubrication which can contribute to discomfort and lowered desire.
Your body has undergone changes and you may feel worried or embarrassed about this. Not to mention you’re sleep deprived and exhausted!
When is the right time to have sex again?
This will be different for everyone. While the normal recommendation on when you’re ‘physically ready’ is 4-6 weeks, what’s really important is your feeling of readiness.
You need to feel ready both physically and emotionally. Honour your own experience.
How do we reintroduce sex when the time is right?
It’s okay, to not feel ‘in the mood’. Here are some steps you can take to help you get that intimate feeling back.
Give Attention To Your Emotional Intimacy And Connection
Focus on emotional intimacy and having as much time together as you can. Maintaining a loving connection outside of the bedroom flows into intimacy inside the bedroom. Set aside time to spend together where you can - even if that means turning off the TV and going to bed early.
Be Physically Intimate Without The Pressure For It To Lead To Sex
Start with what feels comfortable for you and build intimacy from there. The physical intimacy that doesn’t lead to sex helps maintain your intimate connection and in time can build desire. Be gentle on yourselves as you regain this connection.
See Sex As An Important Part Of Your Relationship
Even though it might feel like another thing you have to ‘do’ at the end of the day or that someone else wants your attention, try to see this intimacy as a gift you’re giving to yourself and your family as well. You and your partner having a loving, intimate relationship is beneficial to your whole family.
Isiah has supported thousands of people, taught workshops to hundreds and trained other therapists on how to support people with the vital topic of sex.
"I believe loving relationships create happier lives. I believe emotional and sexual intimacy are connected – and you deserve both. I believe in a world where women feel free to express and enjoy their sensuality and sex."