Let’s Talk About Sex. Again. Some More.
Sex. 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.
Have you heard of P&G’s Thank You Mom campaign? Alphamom contributors are sharing motherhood advice on how moms can be helpful at particularly stressful times (ahem, postpartum) times and encouraging you all to tell your moms how much you appreciate them. Submit your story and you could win $1,000 for a special visit with your mom! Each month there are 15 winners. The contest runs through November 30.