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Let’s Talk About Sex. Again. Some More.

Feb02

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bounce_back_mominatrix.pngSex. You guys want more sex. In real-life and this column. Noted! So let me make a book recommendation: Kristen Chase’s The Mominatrix’s Guide to Sex. Sex during pregnancy and immediately postpartum are topics that MAYBE get a few pages in most books. Kristen covers it all. Reading the book made me feel both refreshingly normal AND totally inspired to get over any remaining hangups I have about my battle-scarred body and just enjoy sex for the fun, relaxing thing it is. In fact, the book is so thorough that I actually had a hard time coming up with questions for her, because I’d already learned all the answers from her.

Q. So. First of all, I feel like I could honestly just include an Amazon link to your book and be done with this whole column. Talk about a topic that doesn’t get covered in the baby books. So I have to ask…were you always this confident in the postpartum sex area or is this something you’ve had to work at after each baby? Something you struggled with or was it always a priority?

You know, I was one of those pregnant women that never had the “holy sex batman” moments. It was terribly uncomfortable for me, and so after I had my babies, I was the one with the 6-week countdown calendar. And while I was definitely tired and a bit bedraggled, since I hadn’t had sex in moooonths, I really missed the intimacy. Well, at least the hotness. Plus, it made me feel a little bit like my old self when I was basically just a feeding machine.

Q. Any differences between your postpartum experiences that you think affected sex more than others? Things better/worse or easier/harder after baby #1 vs. babies #2 and 3?

After my first, I had a small tear that was repaired and later caused me a bit of pain, but following my 2nd, which also caused a small tear, I felt fantastic. I attribute that to a much quicker and easier labor, as well as a bit better mental preparedness on my part. And #3 just kicked my ass. Having sex was a way to escape the diaper changes and temper tantrums if only for a few minutes. Or hours (if my husband is reading).

Q. Top tips for having sex the first time, post-baby?
Grab some lube and take it slow. And leave your expectations in the diaper pail. Just enjoy those precious minutes alone with your partner when you’re not attached to your baby.

Q. Top tips for recovering a lost sex drive?
A woman’s sex drive is so multi-faceted that it’s important to figure out what factors are contributing to your low libido – whether it’s self-image, pain, sleep deprivation, or hormones, just to name a bunch. If you can nail down what it really is (and be honest with yourself and your partner), then you can decide whether you need a break, a gym membership (with babysitting), a nap, a visit to your OB or midwife, or a pair of handcuffs and a whip.

(From Amalah: This is so spot-on. And if I may cut in with a personal overshare: Turns out we needed to up the variety and get a little more adventurous…but I also still found that one of those herbal “women’s libido” supplements from Whole Foods did me a world of good. So sometimes it’s not even just one thing or the other.)

Q. And lastly…or a new mom struggling with her new (and not necessarily improved) body? I had a huge problem with this, after both babies. I hated my flabby, stretched-out belly and would find myself thinking about it during sex and basically kill the mood over something that my husband swore he didn’t even notice. WTF, self?

So many women say that their husbands could have cared less about how they looked and yet they felt extremely uncomfortable. Much of it has to do with what we think is sexy based on our past experiences and what society shoots at us from every angle. Self-acceptance is tough as it is, but when you’re sporting a flabby stretched-out belly, leaky boobs, and let’s just say it, hemorrhoids, it takes some with super human self esteem to just let go.

But that’s why they make light switches, blankets, and sexy lingerie that can hold you in or keep you covered all while allowing full access. Apply that “this too shall pass” attitude you use for the crazy first year to your bedroom antics. It’s always easier said than done, but if you go into it with an open mind and a good bra, you might just have more fun then you thought possible

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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15 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Sex. Again. Some More.”

  1. Cheryl S. Feb 02 at 10:29 am Reply Reply

    A “women’s libido” herbal supplement called WHAT exactly? I need something to help my libido. Desperately. Thanks!

  2. Claire Feb 02 at 11:07 am Reply Reply

    Too weird… I was actually planning on writing a question about this yesterday. Anyone have any tips on having NO INTEREST 7 months postpartum? Bah. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my daughter is extremely easy and sleeps well and my husband couldn’t care less about the mild stretch marks or the (still!) leaky boobs. I did exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months & she still nurses often, so I’m hoping some interest will return when she weans. I haven’t heard about the women’s libido supplements – I’ll give that a try.

  3. Sarah Feb 02 at 11:58 am Reply Reply

    grrrr… Just what I’m thinking about these days too. at 3 months pp, I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an extremely hard delivery, and it seems that things are just not going to be back to normal – and pain free – for a while. I’m lucky to have a very understanding husband, but its driving me crazy. I was counting down during pregnancy too, but was completely unprepared for how much sex would change…

  4. Pinkie Bling Feb 02 at 1:07 pm Reply Reply

    This is possibly the thing that freaks me out the MOST about maybe someday having a baby – I knew it did THINGS to your belly, boobs, hips, etc…but I had NO IDEA the havoc it can wreak in your super special lady area. NO FAIR, UNIVERSE!!
    Thanks for bringing it up. I’m definitely purchasing copies for my mom friends, and holding one in reserve for my maybe-someday self!

  5. Jamie Feb 02 at 1:27 pm Reply Reply

    Yeah Amy, give a shout out to that herbal supplement you found because seriously, I need the help. But I’m guessing you probably can’t take it while breastfeeding…
    I’m 5 months pp now and still having trouble getting back into the swing of things. I’m not sure if it’s just the stress or lack of sleep or the mirena (loss of sex drive is a possible side effect). But oh, I miss the old days.

  6. Sarah Feb 02 at 2:46 pm Reply Reply

    PinkieBling, me too!! I am feeling more and more ready to have a baby in the next year or so, but am TERRIFIED of havoc on my “lady area” – the belly, boobs, hips, I don’t really care, whatever, I can get in my best shape and accept it, but I cannot accept that my vagina will never be the same. I so just want my vagina to stay as-is/intact. It’s the main fear that holds me back.

  7. Jo Feb 02 at 3:15 pm Reply Reply

    The biggest shock for me was that I had absolutely no interest in sex while I was breastfeeding (which I did for 10 months)! My poor husband. It took a few months after weaning to get my fully-fledged sexy self back again. I guess it must have been the hormones and I just couldn’t view my breasts as sexy when my baby had been attached to them all day. I think that may have leaked (no pun intended) onto a whole body-image thing. Switching gears from the Mom to the carefree sexy chick was really hard for me (not my husband, it was all my hang-up). We’re thinking of going for a second baby sometime this year, but I really dread that happening again.
    Also, it’s crazy Kristen was featured, because I just found her blog a few days ago and really can’t wait to buy the book!

  8. Olivia Feb 02 at 4:01 pm Reply Reply

    Jo, that is just how I feel. I just don’t think about sex, and I don’t miss it physically. I’m 10 months pp, and I still have no sex drive AT ALL. I’m pretty sure hormones are part of it (still breastfeeding and not planning to quick any time soon), and part of it is the mental switch from being mom to being a sexy chica. *sigh*
    For now, I’ve told my husband he needs to be the initiator and that’s working (I think), but I’m really worried I’ll become one of those “frigid” women who only sees sex as a chore.

  9. Rachel Feb 02 at 8:47 pm Reply Reply

    uh…yeah. Amy. Please to share the name of that libido enhancer with your adoring fans…

  10. jive turkey Feb 03 at 11:58 am Reply Reply

    @Claire & Olivia: My libido increased TENFOLD after weaning. I’m talking INSATIABLE. Hang in there.
    Also, as a lady who had a pretty serious 3rd degree tear, I am here to tell you that, for me, post-baby sex does feel different, but BETTER. I guess it was a combination of the stitches and the whole “items may shift during flight” thing, but DAMN. Something my husband said about the whole experience was that it’s been fun for him to get to know me “all over again” post-baby (because my likes/dislikes have changed), and that was really cool.

  11. Stephanie Feb 03 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    I feel so much better after reading these comments. Almost 8 months PP and zero interest at all. Is it the Mirena or just breastfeeding??? I feel so bad for my husband. He’s been very understanding.. to a point.

  12. Kimmers Feb 04 at 10:21 am Reply Reply

    Haha, can I have the name of the supplement even though I haven’t had a baby yet?! I suspect my problem is some combination of self consciousness due to recent weight gain/ stress of lost job and waiting to hear about grad school application/ possibly hormones, as I’ve now been on BC pills for 11 years? I don’t have the option to do a different form of BC (though I could try a different pill, and will go there if nothing else helps). I’ll know about school one way or another in the next week or two. And I joined the gym to get rid of the weight. But, um… I’d still really like the name of those pills. Because I really, really miss my old sex drive.

  13. Della Feb 05 at 2:31 am Reply Reply

    WOW Not only was it great to see what Amy wrote, but everyone else too… It’s not just me, it’s freakin ALL OF US! WHEW!!!
    I want to make my husband read this one.
    Almost 5 mo pp, still exclusively breastfeeding (well ok 1 baby food a day) and no desire whatsoever. And since we’re all being open here and helping others realize it’s okay… MAJOR problems producing body’s natural lube.
    Once we get started, which [overshare alert] basically involves lots of store bought lube and like no foreplay, just get ‘er done style insertion [i told you], generally it’s been pleasing, but not climactic. And frankly, I just don’t even care about the climax – I just don’t miss it AT ALL. And that scares me a little, or did until I started reading this.
    I’ve been dealing with this since I was pregnant with my son… it’s scary to think I might never want it any more?! But then I remember, 9 months of pregnancy hormones, 10 months of breastfeeding, only to wean when I was pregnant again, 9 months hormones, and another 5 months of breastfeeding so far… it’s been a long time and our habits have changed, sadly (I know the hubs is sad!), but I’m really, REALLY holding out hope it will be better when we wean.
    Also – Amy – should I assume that your miracle drug is safe for breastfeeding mothers?

  14. Liz Feb 10 at 11:13 am Reply Reply

    Right, but seriously: the name of that supplement is….?

  15. Ms. K Feb 16 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    Big shout-out to all the moms who are having post-partum sex issues, particularly those who are breastfeeding. I am reporting from the trenches: it DOES come back.
    So, I tore in two places during birth (a 2nd degree perineum and a smaller but oh-so-excruciating tear in a place you can all just imagine.) Combine that with exclusive on-demand breastfeeding and sex was just a total no-go, OMG PLEASE STOP IT HURTS!!!!! whenever we tried (and we did try several times, mostly b/c I wanted to please my poor, long-suffering husband.)
    When my child turned 1 year old (yes, still nursing on demand) and no signs of my libido or lubrication, I started to worry it would never come back. I hated the idea of weaning my child just so I could have sex with my husband. It seems so damn unfair to her. And so inconvenient – mamma’s milk is free and easy and the perfect remedy for toddler angst/boredom/tantrums. But it had been. so. long. Oy.
    Then a miracle occured. Somehow in the last two months (she’s 14 months old now,) as my daughter started to nurse less (only four or five times a day at this point) and my body is fully healed and I’m exercising several times a week, desire + sex returned! Wheee!!!!!!
    Hallelujah. Funnily enough, I can still feel the tears/scars. But they don’t hurt – I just feel them. Weird perception change, but welcome.
    So never fear, you CAN breastfeed your toddler and have a sex life. And you CAN recover from nasty tearing. It just takes time.
    Good luck.

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