Poopy diapers, school schedules, breastfeeding, sensory overload, a looped replay of the Paw Patrol theme song, and toddlers watching you pee…
If there was ever a recipe for decreased sexual desire, I think that might be it.
In a survey that asked about 1,000 parents questions regarding their sex life after having a baby, 61% of women reported experiencing a decrease in sexual desire. Let’s compare that number to the 30% of men with decreased desire. Among those interviewed, the majority (both men and women) lived disappointed with what their post-child sex life had become.
It’s extremely important in a relationship but barely talked about in a healthy and constructive way. Our society is dripping in overly-sexed images, yet who is out there talking about the messy equation that is motherhood+marriage=sex life? A healthy sex life post-baby is what women want, but something that motherhood can twist into a chore or another way to prevent us from sleep. I know you’re busy but desperate to rekindle that spark, so try out some of the suggestions below.
Five secrets to a healthy sex life:
1. Put your partner first
Gosh, this is tricky. With a herd of little kids around the house, finding even a moment to connect some days feels like an impossible task. Focus on even a moment a day to lift your partner up. Send a sweet text, leave a nice note, or brew a pot of coffee before he leaves for work. Stay-at-home dates, budgeting in a sitter, or planning his favorite meal once a week…think of each small step as a building block to a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.
But remember, putting your partner first does NOT mean to keep score or to play evens. A relationship is truly a masterpiece to work on and keeping score will only create unhealthy competition and disappointment.
Things happen after having babies. Things leak. Places sag. Things just aren’t the way they were before…but that’s OK. Change is OK. Communicating that is OK.
Have that conversation with him. I promise you that a conversation is much easier to have than avoiding a healthy sex life just because you don’t want to share your thoughts. Spending all day with kids crawling on top of you is usually the perfect recipe to feeling irritable and touched out by bedtime. Communicating and sharing what you need in order to feel more “human” makes all the difference.
This partnership that you’ve entered requires communication to make things work. Once things are working, the communication is flowing, and your relationship and intimacy will flourish.
3. Think about it
Life as a mother is busy. Processing all of the mom duties in my thoughts doesn’t leave room for me to even consider myself a “sexual adult.” Yet, to be honest, isn’t that what got me here? Spend some time thinking about your sex life. Don’t dwell on the logistics or the lack thereof. Think about what brings that pep in your step. Think about likes and preferences. Picture yourself sexy because you absolutely are. Dream up that sexy date night and act on it. It’s so simple sometimes to #momsohard that you find yourself buried in mommy thoughts. Consciously redirect yourself to think about the sex life you want for your relationship.
4. Stop comparing
Studies have shown that sexual satisfaction decreases with porn use. Additionally, an increase in dysfunction and addiction can occur. Parents struggling to keep the connection going don’t need another hurdle in the mix. So put it away and refocus your energy and desire on one another.
In addition, stop comparing your sex life to your friends. I promise you, there are others struggling and trying to rework their relationships. Revisiting Rule #1 again, putting your partner first is the first step in building that strong foundation. Focus on where you are at with your partner and the season of life you are in, and find that healthy balance for you both. Don’t look towards other outlets to dictate what should be happening in your bedroom.
5. Try something new
Your whole family dynamic has changed with a child. Schedules, desires, bodies, sleep schedules…it’s all different. So, shake things up and try something new.
A favorite to recommend is a 30-day sex challenge. Having sex for 30 days. No excuses. Everyone has done some kind of 30 day challenge. Diet, exercise, or hobbies…so, why not sex? This will take a bit of creativity and stamina. Revive the slump that you are in by finding time once every day to connect and do the deed. It’s something new, so of course it may feel awkward or inconvenient at times. Looking at it as something that cannot be pushed to the side or saved for some date later on in the week is a good training method though. Challenges like this have been floating around the internet for a while now and truly have some real success stories.
Trying something new doesn’t HAVE to mean having sex for 30 days. It might mean that you schedule it on a calendar. It might mean that you speak up a bit more than you do now. Whatever this means for you, taking that step to work on something that needs some “reworking” is great.
Your sex life is important.
You are important. Your relationship is important. This is absolutely something worth working on, and sometimes it really might feel like work.
I will always encourage women to talk to their doctors with any concerns. Growing past the postpartum stage is such a journey, but such an important topic as this shouldn’t remain hidden for only a few to succeed in. Your sex life WILL change and evolve, and that’s OK. Using these five secrets will put you on the right track to find that spark again.