Last week, Katie Wise redefined expectations for sex during the post partum year. This week, she talks about how to make the most of sex, once you’re ready. Mamas, go ahead and read this, but it’s meant for your partners. So pass it on.
So, you just had a baby. You are still basking in the heroic act of welcoming your child into the world and you were stunned by the sheer animal power your lady demonstrated during the birth. You wanted to take her right then and there, but you knew that you had to wait until she was ready, and that day has finally come. You’ve been waiting and hoping and fantasizing, and today’s the day.
Feeling like a teenager, you take a shower, throw on some cologne, and stride into the bedroom. You look at your beloved, radiant in her milk stained nightgown. She looks up and you exchange a look. You anticipate that she’s about to tell you how excited she is. But instead, she opens her mouth and says
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry . . . I mean, can we just go to sleep?”
That wasn’t exactly what you had hoped for. What now?
When it comes to reconnecting sexually with your partner after baby, Make this your mantra:
Go slow, aim low, and let go.
Remember that Post partum sex requires a deep level of care and patience, tons of love and humor, and a very soft touch. You may find yourself asking very “un-sexy” questions like: Is this hurting your hemorrhoids?; Does this angle work for your scar tissue?; Can I start to move or do you want me to stay still for a while?: and Do you want me to stop completely and just hold you?. Let me tell you though, these careful considerations, and compassionate touches are the sexiest thing in the world to the healing postpartum mama.
Approach your sexual time with her with curiousity instead of a goal. Sometimes slow means stop. At any moment, if she begins to feel unsafe or in pain, stop immediately. Sex can bring up many feelings for her, both physical and emotional. She needs to slowly get to know her body again. And don’t forget all the creative ways to be sexual together! Intercourse is just one expression of love. Remember those amazing steps along the way that seemed so exciting in high school. Take your time, explore, and see what else is possible. And don’t be afraid to use lubricant to off set the changes created by postpartum hormones. (Note: remember if it’s lack of libido more than fear of contact with the vagina, other kinds of sex may still be hard for her to participate in. Honor her pace.)
The first year after baby is all about baby’s needs, which are unending, and immediate. Everyone else’s needs are shoved in the closet, and not removed until after that first birthday candle is blown out.
Make a goal of surrounding your partner with love, instead of having sex. She needs to know that you still find her sexy even if all she wants to do is snuggle up and go to sleep. She needs to know that nothing is required of her beyond the already heroic task of caring for our child. She needs to know that it’s okay to not want sex.
In a book called Porn for New Moms, there is picture of a beautiful man under the sheets looking seductive and saying “Let’s not have sex tonight. Why don’t I rub your feet and you can tell me about the baby’s day.” Listen and learn, partners. The best way to seduce your post partum sweetie is to let her have as much time as she wants as far away from sex as she needs.
Let go of the story that there is a problem if you are having less sex than you used to. Let go of what sex “should” be like. Be present to the tenderness you have for one another. Be compassionate for the exhaustion you both feel. And when you do make love, help her to let go. Find breath work, yoga, tantric techniques. Use your voice to help her surrender. Tell her she is beautiful. Tell her that things might feel different. Tell her that she is sexier now than ever. Tell her that you want to be with her forever. And again, tell her to breathe. Make sex an act of devotion. Have her imagine she is a plant receiving sunlight, or the shore receiving the ocean.
And remember: you are the one that she created this child with, she wants to grow old with you, and she adores you. And she may not want to have sex right now.
Please don’t take it personally.
If you are about to have a baby and are feeling concerned right now, Don’t fear. This can be one of the most intimate years of your relationship. In your baby, you may see your partner’s sweet smile, their sassy brow line, or calm spirit. You meet a person that is born of the love you feel for one another.
You will both love sex again.
Biology makes sense. As her cycle returns, she will look at you in a whole new way. The woman that you knew and loved before baby arrived will be back in your arms. There may be less sex for a year, but you will likely discover a new level of intimacy that can build your lifelong relationship. Years from now, you will sit on a porch swing talking about all of the years, and this will seem like one single flower in the full garden of your life together.