Having a newborn is one of the most magical times in your life...it is also one of the least sexy.
You are exhausted, you’re up to elbows in poop and baby barf, your libido has gone on vacay, your partner is driving you mental, and any brief moments of intimacy you manage to steal are quickly interrupted by the baby monitor.
On top of that, your mom-bod is in full force: your breasts have become a feeding factory topped with chapped nipples, none of your clothes fit, your belly looks like a pugs face, and your vagina is as loose as a wizards sleeve.
So what can you do?
Reconnecting with your body and sexuality postpartum is a difficult task that is not often prioritized when sleep itself is as rare and coveted as a gin martini during prohibition. And yet making time to connect with your body and your partner can make this huge life transition more manageable, enjoyable and dare we say sexy!
Here are a few simple strategies to reignite your sexual desire in the seemingly barren desert that is your new-parent sexscape.
The easiest access point reawakening your feminine fire is a healthy diet. Nourishing foods not only help your body heal from labour but they also provide the energy and vitality you need to get busy while you are caring for your newly acquired offspring.
Adding certain foods to your diet to get your postpartum-bod in the mood is especially important if you are breast-feeding. Your body is producing a liquid life force to feed your mini-me and is burning a lot of extra fuel. And while your body is extremely resourceful, there are some substances that are essential for it’s health that it cannot produce on its own.
The big one to focus on here is Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.
Omega-3s are the building blocks of our hormones (including the sexy ones). In fact, Omega 3s make up every cell in the human body. Without adequate Omega 3s we may struggle with: irritability, low mood, brain fog, inflammation, fatigue, weight gain and a weak libido. Basically the least sexy combinations of feelings and personality traits. Trust us, if you are low in Omega-3s the last thing you’ll want to do is rattle a headboard.
Some Omega-3 rich foods that you can incorporate into your busy-mom lifestyle include: avocado, salmon, chia seeds, ground flax, mackerel, olive oil and grass fed butter.
Eating these foods on a daily basis will support hormone health which is the foundation to a healthy sex life!
Then, you can spice things up by adding some libido boosting herbs to your diet. Our two favourites are Shatavari and Maca.
Both these ancient herbs have traditionally been used to help increase libido and arousal. They are also well known for naturally boosting energy and mood. Sex aside, what new parent wouldn’t kill for a little extra energy without having to shotgun an energy drink before noon?
Now, once these sexy herbs and healthy foods get you feeling more nourished and energized, it is time to reconnect with your partner. This one is huge and can be very difficult.
We get it. You have a small human that needs you and believes you are their robot servant. So having a grown human who also wants your body and attention can seem more like a nuisance than a sexy gift. Especially when your sexy gift recently went on a hero's journey and is still nursing her battle wounds.
So the biggest thing to keep in mind is to GO SLOW! Reigniting sexual desire postpartum is not a race to put penis in vagina. There is no prize per pump. Rushing this process will likely only lead to a complete sexual shut down.
Sex is about so much more than a just a downtown disco. It is about mental and emotional intimacy, as well as getting some good old skin on skin.
Physical touch is very important to overall health and wellness. Firstly, it releases oxytocin, which is a feel good hormone that helps you be more calm, connected and compassionate.
Physical touch also boosts dopamine and serotonin, which help to regulate your mood relieving stress and anxiety for both you and your co-parent.
So SNUGGLE! Sure, you might end up falling asleep drooling on one another instead of doing the deed, but without that initial physical touch, you’re not likely going to get lucky anyway, so start with basic snuggles.
Good sex, especally for females, requires a certain level of emotional and mental stimulation. Gentle skin on skin allows you each to regulate your nervous system, decrease your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and attune to the other. This provides that mental and emotional safety, which is more likely to get mum fired up to get down.
So the first 1-3 months postpartum, if you do nothing else, make time for snuggles. Once you get doctors approval, and are more ready to be randy our favourite game for new parents is “How Would You Like to be Touched?” inspired by the work of Betty Martin.
The game is simple:
Set a timer for 10 minutes
Partner A asks Partner B “how would you like to be touched for 10 minutes?”
Partner A hears the request and consents to all, or parts of, the request (if they do not consent they can offer suggestions for alternative touch they are willing to provide)
Once the touch is agreed upon by both partners, Partner A provides the requested touch, guided by Partner B for 10 minutes
Then you switch!
The touch can be anything from “blow on the crevice beside my left pinky toe” to “rub your man meat on, in and around my lady garden, stat!” This is a simple game that takes 20 minutes and can evolve as mum becomes more comfortable with post-baby physical intimacy.
It also provides a great opportunity for partners to slow down and really hear what kind of touch the other needs and realize how that can change day-to-day. Honestly, this is something all couples could benefit from doing. And it has the potential to make postpartum sex the best sex you and your partner have ever had!
Now, as you embark on this snuggly, touchy, feely, journey, there are two big rules to keep in mind:
Do not force it
By this we mean: listen to your body, go slow, and honour and respect the tenderness and newness of your postpartum ladyscape. But also, you are not likely going to feel like doing it. That is normal. But do it anyway. Often making sexual contact is the only way to start wanting more sexual contact. So, begin and then work within your limits, pushing yourself a little further each time.
Finally, once you have nourished your body with healthy food, and made physical contact with your partner, it is time to bring your vagina back online with gentle vaginal fitness practices.
For this we recommend using a yoni egg! Yoni eggs are egg-shaped gemstones that can be threaded and then inserted into the vaginal canal. From there the user can do different exercises and breathing practices to bring tone, strength and blood flow into the pelvic floor.
These practices will help to create a lean supple vagina reminiscent of your pre-baby days. Also, they will increase blood and lymph flow down into the pelvis, which not only helps your vagina to heal but can increase arousal, lubrication, sensation, and access to orgasm.
Good luck on your postpartum journey! Be patient with yourself, your body and your partner. You are a sexy beast and you got this.
Kendra and Sarah xo
Kendra Hamilton RPC-C
Somatic Sex Educator & Registered Counsellor
Sarah Bellwood CNP
Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Personal Trainer