Are you nervous about having sex after having a baby? We chat to Kate Moyle, Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist and host of The Sexual Wellness Sessions Podcast. Kate answers our most-asked questions from our warrior community.
How do I tackle anxiety around having sex again, after the birth of my baby?
Take it slow. Baby steps back into sexual experiences can be really helpful for helping to re-establish couple sexual & intimate contact.
Start by spending time together focusing on eye-contact, kissing, and skin on skin contact with no agenda other than to relax with each other psychologically and physically again, without intercourse even being on the agenda.
We can often experience what’s called touch fatigue, if we have a young baby or small children, and it can feel a bit like we are being grabbed at a lot. Try to separate adult to adult touch, from child to adult touch. Acknowledge that this touch is part of a different relationship, of which physical touch and intimacy is mutual.
How can I make time for sex?
The challenge is that there will always be something else for us to, as we know being a parent our to-do list is never done. So we have to make time. You may need to be a bit creative or adaptive with your sex life, e.g. putting the baby down and having an hour of couple time together before dinner, instead of leaving it until the end of the night.
The most motivational factor is going to be you having a good time, whether that's about feeling connected to and close with your partner, experiencing pleasure, feeling desired or having an orgasm. You don't need to have intercourse to achieve any of these things so break away from the routine of your sex life always focusing on intercourse and just allow yourselves to go with whatever feels good, which is much less goal orientated.
How can I destress before sex?
For many people they feel that when they have sex they enjoy it, but getting into the sexual headspace is the bigger challenge. Try and use something like a prompt to break away from your day. E.g. listen to a piece of music, write a to do list, use a functional fragrance ( I recommend the Love Sleep range designed for intimacy by This Works ), have a shower, change your clothes, moisturise or even something small like a spray of perfume. Helping to bring your awareness into an 'potentially intimate or sexual space' can help to start desire, which is the want to be sexual. Using our psychology to motivate by building anticipation and giving it our attention.
Thinking about engaging the senses is a real help here, and so for example wearing clothing that feels nice on our skin, changing the lighting of our bedroom, sparking our sexual imagination and desire by listening to a sensual story on an app like Ferly. It's hard to shift context, particularly at the moment being in lockdown - so using sensual/context cues can really help.
How can I feel more confident in my new postpartum body?
Your body has just spent the best part of a year doing the most incredible thing. Give yourself a chance to recover. Being kinder and accepting of your body and building a positive relationship with it can help you to feel more sexually confident. When we are self-critical it can make us assume this is how others would treat us, or what they would say to us and this so often isn't the case (we are commonly harshest on ourselves).
The app Ferly has some brilliant guided exercises to help you to connect with and tune into your body again. It may feel different, and things can feel like they have changed but take your time and focus on what you do like, and importantly what does make you feel good. E.g. a hot bath or shower, or a hug from your partner. If you are struggling with your pelvic floor and confidence or worries about leaking, or sex being painful then something to also consider is seeing a Women's Health Physiotherapist for a post-natal check up.
Kate Moyle’s top things to try:
💦 Lubricant is a must - Yes Organics ( water based for condom use )
💦 If your feeling dry in-between love making our Vagina Victory Oil is great for hydration and moisture 💦
🔥 Sex toys: Focus on pleasure and enjoyment e.g. clitoral stimulation whilst intercourse may not be an option for you. Brand recommendation : Lelo
🧘♀️ Audio Guided body exercises: Ferly App - helping you to connect with your body again and building the relationship between mind and body
🌺 Functional fragrance to help you shift mindset and context: This Works Love Sleep Range
⚪️ Condom recommendations: Hanx - You can get them on subscription. Made by women and Vegan.
Find Kate’s advice really useful? Check out her Instagram at @katemoyletherapy or head over to her podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-sexual-wellness-sessions/id1527311547