When I became pregnant for the first time, just a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I began to birth a new version of my sexuality, too. Before my pregnancy, I knew exactly what I enjoyed sexually. I knew the type of touch that I liked, how rough I liked it, and what turned me on. But all of that changed.
During my pregnancy, my sexual tastes became unpredictable. I would whip dramatically back and forth between having a strong desire to have my breasts touched and feeling a complete aversion to any nipple stimulation. I came to accept that, while my body was undergoing a monumental transformation, my sexual desire could also ebb and flow. My changing pregnant body both turned me on and taught me some surprisingly excellent lessons, which has inspired me in my work as a sex educator and relationship coach who primarily works with new parents.
After the birth of my child, my sexual desires continued to morph. I felt a loss — a mourning for my pre-mama sex life that I had traded in for an incredibly awkward post-partum body. I felt uneasy in my fleshy shell, as if entering a second puberty, with a belly and breasts that I didn't recognize any more. I had leaky breasts that would squirt milk if I sneezed or became aroused. My round belly was tiger striped with stretch marks and my red hair shed at a rapid rate, until I cut off the long locks of my pre-mommy life in exchange for a more practical short pixie cut.
Every day has its own challenges and adventures. I’ve come to accept these changes and to accept and love myself. My forthcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Sex for Pregnancy and Motherhood is the book that I wish I had in my hands during my transition to motherhood.
These five sex tips include some of the tools that I’ve developed, as a mother and sex educator, that have helped to guide me through the ever-evolving birth of my post-partum sexuality. These are for all the mamas that are struggling to find their way back to an orgasmic sex life.
1. Date Nights Are Essential
Once you become a parent, the days of dates just happening have passed. Scheduling your date nights is essential. It’s important to solidify and commit to time spent with your partner outside of the roles of parents. Give the role of lover as much love, time and commitment as parenthood. You can help facilitate this by sitting down with your partner, reviewing your calendars, and setting up childcare for your date night well in advance. This might not be the sexiest part of your week, but it sets the stage for all the hot moments that the two of you will experience during your intimate time together.
Sometimes, finding a sitter during the day is easier than finding one on the ever-popular Saturday night. So don’t forget that there are a lot of cool and romantic things you can do with your partner during the day — like bike rides, picnics, hikes, checking out local street art and murals, sex toy shopping or a movie (that isn’t animated)
2. Make Time For Self Care
If you want to love and date your partner, you need to love and date yourself. Mothers give of themselves twenty-four hours a day and are more often than not running on fumes. When we take time to love and show gratitude to ourselves and indulge in our desires, we find ourselves full of an abundance of love and sexual energy to share with our partner.
When you're a mom, it can be hard to find, or justify, any time for yourself — but it’s essential. Schedule at least ten minutes a day in which you do something you love, something that makes you feel good. No matter how busy you are, anyone can squeeze in ten minutes to indulge in something that makes you smile — whether it's meditation, yoga, savoring your coffee in silence on the porch, reading a book, playing guitar, taking a bubble bath, or masturbating. Invest in your sexual well being by leaning into what makes you happy.
3. Work Together On An Intimacy Agreement
An Intimacy Agreement is a communication tool that I use in my workshops and coaching practice. This written agreement, which the couple works from, should outline something that you are committed to exploring together and the parameters and time frame in which you are committing to it. Whatever you decide to explore together should be satisfying and pleasurable for both you and your partner. Try committing to things that turn you on, that are based on your desires as individuals and as a couple. Your Intimacy Agreement is a road map back to sexual desire. Use your agreement as a malleable tool to map out what sexual adventures belong on your itinerary.
An example of a very basic Intimacy Agreement might look something like, “Every Tuesday night at 11 p.m., I’ll read you a new erotic story in bed. A minimum of twice a month we will go on date nights that explore our kinky fantasies and desires. This agreement will come up for review on _________ in which we will make any changes to this agreement that better nourishes our relationship or our individual well being.” Then, sign and date.
It doesn’t have to be complex — and there should be room for the agreement to change and develop, just as you’re changing and exploring more of what your desires look like.
4. Slip Into Your Sexy Psyche
One common challenge that parents face is beginning to view one another as parent and not lover. This is perfectly normal. We have many parts of our psyche, and develop many different dynamics within relationships. Our co-parenting relationship dynamic with our partner is different from our lover relationship dynamic with our partner. But as parents, when our attention turns toward our child, instead of our partner, we can experience a disconnect in intimacy. Nurturing a romantic relationship with our partner that is separate from that of co-parent creates space for your intimate selves to reconnect.
Try experimenting with rituals for differentiating these parts of yourself. Maybe a certain shade of lipstick or lingerie is something you only wear as part of your lover identity. You can create a character sketch of your nurturing mother/co-parent self and a character sketch of your lover self. What feels like a natural expression of who you are and how you connect intimately to your partner? Taking this a step further and exploring elements of fantasy role play can be a fun and sexy way to view your partner in a different light and love them for all their intricate parts.
5. Get Creative And Try Something New
A date night now can look different from what it did when you first started dating your partner — there are no rules. A romantic picnic date might happen during your newborn’s nap in your living room or on your front porch. A pop-up tent in the back yard with the baby monitor in tow might be a more feasible date night the first few months of parenthood. And that’s OK.
Trying new things like going shopping for a new sex toy, buying a feminist porn film, or picking up new silk sheets for your bed can bring some juicy sexual energy back into your life. If you're fresh into parenthood, your home is likely a scattered mess of toys, bottles, pacifiers and a bit chaotic (as parenthood often is). Consider renting a hotel room for a mini-staycation or getting frisky in your car. If public sex is an arousing prospect for you, see if there is a local sex party that you'd like to explore. Make room for your new sexual self to discover who you are in this moment.