There are days when I still feel like this, which in my experience, was NOT sexy.
I wasn’t going to be one of those women. You know, the ones who let their bodies go after baby, and give up on sex. Guess what? I’m still about fifteen pounds more than I’d like to be and my baby is ten months old and sex…well…let’s just say it’s a good thing there are two mamas in our house!
Don’t misunderstand, fitness and sex are still very important to me, but it seems like there’s always something that takes priority over both. Things like sleeping, and showering, and the ever-growing mountain of laundry, and writing! Once I hit that point in the evening that should be reserved for grown up things like pumping iron or pumping you-know-what I am too tired to contemplate either.
A wise woman pointed out that because I’m still breastfeeding my ten-month-old son I have a constant supply of oxytocin, so I might feel a little less compelled to get it on. I thought this made sense until I realized that I’m still craving chocolate all of the time.
I’ve deduced that I’m in a rut. This rut is fueled by some huge life changes including a baby and a big move; it’s fueled by that extra fifteen pounds that feels defeating and impossible to conquer; and it’s fueled by my total and complete lack of exercise – the classic catch 22. It’s my job to help people feel sexy, so imagine the conundrum I face in not feeling very sexy myself! I’m sharing this in the hope that it might encourage some of you to be gentle with yourselves. I, for one, am fed up with feeling guilty and sad about not feeling very sexy. I’m also done with feeling dumpy, frumpy and exhausted all of the time, so I’m going to make a promise to myself to reclaim my physical fitness and my mojo. Here are some tips for any of you who are in the same rut, with or without babies in the mix.
1. Know that it’s going to take work to make your sex life happen. You can’t just stumble in from a night on the town and go at each other with wild abandon – at least, not with the frequency you once used to. Decide how frequently you’d like to have sex each week, and commit to trying to hit that goal.
2. Go through the motions. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you feel like having sex (I’m not talking about consent, I’m talking about contexts in which you might rather opt for sleep, please don’t send me angry comments.) lean towards ‘yes’. Usually once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be happy that you did. If you start trying to get it on, and it’s not feeling right, both partners have total permission to abandon ship without penalty.
3. Take time to take care of yourself. A cocktail of hormones and a lapse in physical fitness might be making you feel less-than-sexy. You will be a much better partner, and parent, if you make time to pamper and take care of you. Women in particular are often used to putting their needs last. Let’s just quit it with that kind of ridiculous thinking, ‘k?
4. Don’t rush it. That six to eight weeks after childbirth is ONLY A RECOMMENDATION! Some of you might feel ready before then, and your particular chemical make up will make you a horny banshee. Some of you will still feel like you pooped out a flaming brick well past that milestone. If you can’t imagine having sexy times without cringing, or barfing a little in your mouth, it’s best you wait. If you’re really missing that contact, there are other things you can enjoy besides penetration. If you don’t have any ideas, email me. I’m happy to suggest some.
5. Ask for help. Try a trusted baby sitter for a few hours and enjoy some alone time. Grandparents might be very useful here, so might additional life partners (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Rent a cheap hotel, go out for dinner, stay at home, it doesn’t matter as long as the focus is on you and your partner.
6. If you’re co-sleeping with your baby (like I am), be creative. Sex doesn’t only have to happen in bed.
7. Get your partner on board. Make sure they know you want to focus on your relationship. Get them to help with the kids, especially during the latter half of the day. Make sure bedtime is efficient, and then take advantage of your time alone. Be prepared for hiccups and try to be good-natured about interruptions from little ones. They didn’t ask to be here to interrupt our sexy times, did they?
8. Remember how we decided how often a week to have sex? Well, I suggest you reserve how ever many nights for couples time. Don’t do extra chores, don’t prepare extra meals, don’t call you mother. Focus on your partner and your relationship.
9. Turn off the TV, screen, or other distractions. Use your alone time wisely. Have a bath together, enjoy some massage, take up Tantra. Choose activities that promote physical closeness and sexuality rather than brain-sucking activities like screen time or god-forbid, chores.
10. It’s like riding a bike. Your sex life will come back, and possibly be even better than before. You know things now that you didn’t know before. Hopefully the rigors of childbirth have made you a little less self-conscious about your body. It may take some time to get back on track, but post-baby sex is just like riding a bike (on a very bumpy, hilly, sometimes ridiculous to navigate course).
You deserve to be as happy and healthy as can be to enjoy your family!