You are already aware that a new baby will bring many changes to your life. It is a given and you have accepted that graciously.
In a report from the Daily Mail, experts actually say that there is a phenomenon coined “baby quake” in which a relationship or marriage is shaken up due to the monumental changes—that could potentially drive mum and dad apart due to no sex after baby.
Is there really no sex after baby?
According to the study by a charity OnePlusOne, close to two-thirds of participants who were new parents were worried about their relationship. The main reasons for concern were the new roles (breadwinner/stay-at-home mum), neglect and they somehow stop seeing each other as romantic partners.
Over a quarter of new dads were concerned that their partners do not want to have sex after the baby. These couples also desire alone time instead of constant baby worries.
“Becoming a parent can put a relationship under extreme pressure as each partner tries to adjust to their new role. For some, it can be almost like a mini-earthquake. Often one becomes a stay-at-home parent and this can be very isolating,” said the director of the charity.
“Time alone is vital because it’s very easy to slip into seeing each other as parents rather than as romantic partners, leading to issues around sex and intimacy,” she added.
Over 1,400 mums and dads took part in the study. Statistics show that close to a quarter broke up from the partner whom they had the first child with. Out of the parents who split, two-fifths parted ways during pregnancy or before the baby turned three.
FAQs about sex during and after birth–yes “during”
Reasons sex after baby is difficult
Obviously, there will be some obstacles to hot sex right after delivery. No one will question that, but why is it hard to get intimate after the arrival of a new baby? Here are a list of reasons.
Sweating the simple stuff
Simple stuff like dividing up chores and laundry while taking care of a newborn may not seem so simple after all. It is these nitty-gritty-petty things that could drive couples insane. Marital squabbles over simple things like who should wash the dishes after dinner is not ideal bedroom talk for most couples.
Depression, blues and body image
Need we say more? Some mothers don’t feel as confident about their bodies after going through the tremendous changes after pregnancy and childbirth. So feeling sexy and getting in the mood may be the last thing on a woman’s mind. The male partner should be sensitive about this.
Hormones, fatigue and breastfeeding
New parents are really burnt out and spent sleepless nights looking after their newborns. And after childbirth, a woman’s hormones have gone whack, so secretions down there may be lacking. Nursing could either satisfy or decrease the need for sex.
Breastfeeding and sex after baby
Fear, pain and lack of privacy
The above is pretty self-explanatory. Healing is needed after the labour and there is always the fear of the unknown, especially if it is the first childbirth. With the new baby, there is hardly any alone time to get naughty—so sexy time is usually sacrificed.
Sex Tips for Couples
Sex can be one of the most basic pleasures in a relationship: elemental, physical, and a deep type of connection that doesn’t require words. However, many couples’ lives change in the months following the birth of their child. Here are some additional suggestions for making postpartum sex more soothing and delightful for new parents:
1. Manage your expectations
Celebrity magazines make it appear as though your waistline and sex life would return to normal in a couple of weeks. Experts, on the other hand, believe that your new postpartum hormones are designed to make you lustless.
“The first six weeks are undoubtedly the most difficult hormonally and physically for both men and women.
Your hormones are all over the place, your low estrogen level is in the menopausal range, your vagina is dry with little natural lubrication, and sex aches,” says OB-GYN Sheryl Ross, MD. “This is the standard starting point.”
Meanwhile, studies have shown that when men become fathers, their testosterone levels drop, and the more they engage with their Mini-Mes, the lower those levels go.
The first step is to not rush things. Most women will find intercourse unpleasant until three months. Once you cross that threshold, expect life to get simpler in every manner.
2. Be intentional in making time for your partner
Spending time together can be more difficult when you’re a new parent, but it’s still necessary. You may go for a walk or have supper together. If you can’t find someone to watch your baby, take him for a stroll in the pram while you converse, or have a meal after he’s fallen asleep.
Image from iStock
In the early months of your baby’s birth, time alone together can be limited. Choose a time of day when you are not exhausted and your baby is asleep.
If you find yourself preoccupied and constantly looking for the infant, make arrangements to leave the baby with a family member or a dependable babysitter for an hour or two. If you are unable to do so, work around the baby’s naps or bedtime.
3. Take that two-hour ‘vacation’
“The best advice I can give to people to fix their libido is get some help [with the baby],” notes New York-based OB-GYN Daniel Roshan, MD.
“You can hire a nurse, or ask your mother, your cousins, your friends, your neighbours… I don’t know a magic bullet for fixing libido [post-baby]. It’s about exhaustion.”
Furthermore, less leisure time and more tasks can push sex to the back burner.
“Even a two-hour vacation can make a world of difference,” says Sabitha Pillai, PhD, an assistant professor at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University.
“It’s short enough that the baby can manage without milk or formula, but the two hours makes a huge difference for the parents mentally and psychologically.”
4. Rethink “sex”
Image from iStock
If vaginal penetration is your ultimate aim, there’s a strong possibility one or both of you will be dissatisfied in the weeks, months, or the year following the birth of a child. However, if you can broaden your definition of sex, it becomes simpler to include it in your life, especially because some alternatives are considerably faster!
Here are some more enjoyable methods to broaden your sexual repertoire:
- Having oral sex
- Masturbation with your partner
- Telling stories and fantasies
- Reading erotica to one another
- Kissing on the couch
- Showering and cleaning one another
- Sharing a bath if you have a large tub
- Naked touch with no specific end objective, such as tickling, pinching, or kissing
- That other thought that just occurred to you
5. Experiment with new stuff
There are numerous ways to give and receive sexual pleasure. Consider sex as a destination rather than a starting point. Begin with small gestures such as holding hands and hugging. When you’re both ready, physical affection can grow and lead to intercourse.
Sex does not necessarily have to be synonymous with penetration. Experiment with massage, reciprocal masturbation, oral sex, and other nonpenetrative erotic play.
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6. Use a lot of lubricants
Low estrogen levels caused by nursing might reduce your natural lubrication, making sex unpleasant or painful. Your doctor can treat this properly, and lots of lubrication can help. If you’re still dry or sore, water-based lubrication will make sex more comfortable.
7. Communication is the key
Be honest with your spouse about your feelings and desires. When you’re not feeling it, say so, and when you do, take the initiative.
8. Maintain your sense of humour
Your infant will undoubtedly wake up at awkward times. A little patience and a good sense of humour go a long way. When your baby begins to sleep through the night, things will become easier. You’ll also be less weary.
9. Just touch each other
Many new parents fall into one emotional trap:
“A lot of us wind up transferring our emotional energy to our kids versus expressing it as a couple,” says Kat Van Kirk, PhD, a clinical sexologist in L.A.
Much of it is due to oxytocin, the bonding molecule released when we embrace, make love, etc. as well as breastfeed. “Directly after giving birth, the mother winds up getting her oxytocin from her kid,” Van Kirk explains. “I see couples disconnect, emotionally and physically.”
To get back on track, begin talking and touching straight away to increase your oxytocin levels.
“Even in the first six weeks, when intercourse is frowned upon, set up a time to give each other a massage or a foot rub,” she suggests.
Image from iStock
And don’t be afraid to take advantage of sex opportunities, whether it’s arranging up a sex date or taking advantage of the baby’s naps.
“Even if it’s a quickie, it’s important,” says Van Kirk. “Sex begets more sex.”
10. Sometimes, you have to do it for yourself.
Rather than attempting to fit into your partner’s demands. Do not organise a support group for your spouse. Rally in support of yourself! Get nude, lightly touch yourself, and then allow him or her to do it when he’s turned on.”
Your sex life may take the backseat after having a baby, but it doesn’t mean you have to accept defeat. As long as you and your partner are willing to give some effort to connecting and communicating with each other, it’s still possible to have a great sex life even as new parents.
Updates by Matt Doctor