Rejuvenating Your Sex Life After the Baby Is Born

young african american couple flirtingA 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.

Second, people need to feel connected in some way through intimacy. Talk with your partner daily. It’s really great when those conversations include adult topics such as art, politics, your dreams and goals, or current events—not all conversations should focus on your baby!

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
  • fantasizing
  • tickling your partner or getting tickled
  • exercise or yoga
  • being naked with your partner for a while
  • alone time
  • wine
  • flirting
  • 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

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Eleanor

    Eleanor

    April 22nd, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    I know that there are times when we are just not that interested, we have all had those days… or weeks even! But sometimes it’s best to go ahead and do it for the marriage and nine times out of ten if you at least let him try then chances are that you are going to get in the mood too. Let hi (or her) help you get in the mood, and it will be worth it!

  • Dinah

    Dinah

    April 23rd, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    You could try talking to your ob gyn

    There are some serious cases of hormones that go on after having a baby so if you aren’t feeling it then it might be a case of the hormonest being all out of whack, something that can easily be remedied.

    You shouldn’t feel embarassed or ashamed- there are numerous women who don’t feel quite up to snuff right after having a baby and there are so many new things to juggle in your new life.

    But don’t let your sex life be a victim of lack of sleep or your emotional roller coaster. You are probably both feeling a little of this and sex can be a great way to reconnect. See the doctor and talk about what he or she could suggest.,

  • Thomas

    Thomas

    April 24th, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    I never understood how much I loved having sex with my wife until we had our first baby and then the sex totally dried up! She was never in the mood, and it shouldn’t have to feel like a chore or a duty to have sex so I suppose you could say that I tuned out of the relationship too a whole lot after that. It took at least a year for us to get back to where we both felt ready to commit to us all over again and we are very lucky that we loved each other enough to make it through this tough spot.

    It wasn’t easy to change the pattern that we had established after the baby was born but we knew that it was important enough to us to at least try again.

  • Angela Skurtu

    Angela Skurtu

    April 24th, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    It is important for couples to get support outside their relationship. Many couples only have one or two people they can use to watch the kids and get time alone. The more supports the better. This way, if you can’t use one person one week, you have 4 or 5 other people to count on. I would suggest getting time away as a couple every week, even if the baby is dropped off at Grandma’s house for a few hours and all you do is go back to your home for a dinner alone.

  • tamela

    tamela

    April 25th, 2014 at 3:56 AM

    My husband makes me feel like he just wants the sex, not really the intimacy and closeness that I crave.

    How do it deal with that?

    I know that he is frustrated but I am frustrated too. When he does that it makes me feel like that’s the only thing he wants me for and that does nothing to help you know?

    I am tired of saying no all the time, but it honestly feels like he isn’t giving me anything to say yes to anymore.

  • Angela Skurtu

    Angela Skurtu

    April 25th, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    In a situation like this, it is important to seek help before you and your husband get too far apart. The difficulty with having a new baby is that a good portion of your time is taken up with that new child. The time you and your husband used to spend together maybe with date nights or just talking alone is shorter. It is common for men to push more for the sex and women to push more for non-sexual intimacy. The key is finding a balance that promotes both of your needs. I would strongly encourage you to seek a local sex therapist in your area who could help you improve this situation before it gets too big to fix. The average couple waits approximately 7 years after a problem starts before seeking help. By then, it is so much harder to repair.

  • Dale

    Dale

    April 26th, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    hahaha I was starting to think that there was no sex after baby- at least this gives me a little hope!

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    April 27th, 2014 at 5:02 AM

    This article does not specifically say this, and I appreciate that, but most of the time society thinks that it is probably the woman who doesn’t want to go back to having a sex life when I know for a fact that there are just as many men who struggle just as much getting back into the saddle as the women do! I think that there are those men who lose sight of the fact that as a woman we can wear different hats, we can be a wife, a mother, a lover, a whatever, that we don’t just automatically become this mom that is off limits after having a baby. My own husband struggled with this and it took us a while to get things back to right after the birth of our firts child. It took some work to let him know that it was okay to have sex again and that I did not in any way want to lose or sacrifice this part of our relationship.

  • darlin

    darlin

    April 29th, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    I am so glad that eprsonally I never expereinced this after having our children. I was always ready to be intimate with my husband again and he was too. For us, and I don’t know why we were different, but having kids has brought us closer together instead of creating that wedge between us. We have always been good about keeping the focus of it all on us, the marriage, and as selfish as that sounds I thnk that this has kept us closer and has made us better parents and partners. I think that when it becomes more about the children than it does the relationship then this is when things suffer and you lose much of that intimacy that the two of you once had.

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