A common problem you may face after the birth of a child is how to rebuild your sex life after having a new baby. Couples across the board report higher rates of sexual dissatisfaction after having a baby. Women commonly state they are tired and barely have any interest and men commonly complain that the baby gets more attention than they do.
Why does desire tend to plummet after having a new child? Think about what happened prior to having children. Most couples have more time together and more freedom to set aside time for sex. You didn’t have to worry about when your baby was asleep, when to get a babysitter, or when to find a moment’s rest.
After having a baby, you are needed constantly. Your baby needs food, sleep, diaper changes, comfort, and attention. Sometimes, babies even have the gall to get sick! Many couples struggle to balance time for sex and intimacy with the massive amount of time required to take care of your baby.
What If I Don’t Feel Desire?
Several factors are required to experience desire. First, you need to feel relaxed and present in the moment. Before having a baby, it was likely easier to be relaxed because there was simply more time during the day. Now that you do have a baby, you have to make the time to relax. You can take turns giving each other an hour off from the baby. If you have friends or family support, you can use them regularly to babysit and get little breaks.
Intimacy can also include touch and time away from your baby. Being in the mommy role or daddy role constantly is not very sexy. You need time that is focused solely on being an adult and being a couple. This can include weekly date nights, setting aside time alone nightly after your baby is asleep, and daily taking time to show affection.
Third, individuals do sometimes need to plan ahead to make love. Sex before baby might have been spontaneous and easy, but after baby, if you don’t schedule it, it might not happen. For example, many couples will agree to set aside time weekly to have sex. During that day, you can do things to get yourself in the mood for sex later. This skill is called simmering. Simmering can include flirting with each other, being playful or more affectionate, and taking time right before sex to relax and get in the mood.
I suggest to some of my couples that each person should try to initiate sex with their partner at least once weekly. This way, no one feels like they are the only one putting in the effort and regular sex is ensured. Again, when a person tries to initiate, they should take some time to get themselves in the mood beforehand so they can be present and enjoy sex.
What If I Don’t Know What Gets Me in the Mood?
Some of my clients always naturally had desire for sex and never had to work on it. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to discover what helps you get in the mood. Here are a few examples from couples I’ve seen:
- reading an erotic novel
- watching a sexy show such as any HBO or Showtime series with sexy scenes
- taking a long, hot, bubble bath
- tickling your partner or getting tickled
- exercise or yoga
- being naked with your partner for a while
- alone time
- exchanging sexy texts
Every person has different turn-ons. If you have never figured it out, take some time to explore this and learn what does. Both you and your partner will be greatly pleased with the outcome.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Angela Lee Skurtu, MEd, LMFT, therapist in Ballwin, Missouri
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