Making Love Again

"Just knowing 'this is our time for loving' is a million times better than 'this is our time for sex.'" – New Mom

Making Love Again

"Just knowing 'this is our time for loving' is a million times better than 'this is our time for sex.'"  – New Mom

Getting your love life back is often challenging. About 75% of new parents report less sex, which is understandable with a baby on board. But roughly 20% of new mothers have little desire three months after delivery, and another 20% report a complete loss of sexual interest. Some fathers lose their desire (i.e., don’t look), and about 10% of new parents find their love life gets hotter.

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The thing is, before your baby arrives, neither of you know what will happen. Getting educated on the possibilities, and (like with other challenges you face) working as a team will help you make the most of your love life.

Making Love Strengthens Your Family

The good news is millennial moms do not want to experience a loss in both their sex life and relationship. They are also more likely to want to enjoy sex for themselves and do things to enhance the experience. Still, many moms are surprised at their own reactions once the doctor says they’re good to go.

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While first babies stress relationships, they also present an opportunity to improve them. Couples that team up and take on big challenges—like creating a family, the basic building block of humanity, talk more, back each other up, and take pride in their accomplishments.

For new parent teams, the initial anxiety is replaced by a sense of confidence that, together, they will be just fine: a feeling of permanence and commitment sets in. Making love both rejuvenates and celebrates this critical relationship

The Opposite is True, Too

 A diminished love life is a central feature of the two-thirds of new parents with diminished relationships. And it can get worse: Divorce and family break-ups peak in the 18 months after a first baby arrives. 

Sex is Good for Both of You

Sex is a powerful form of communication and creates an intense emotional connection between you. During orgasm, you are generating oxytocin blasts in each other, sex helps both of you manage stress, be more than roommates and it’s exercise that sharply reduces a man’s risk of heart attacks (we didn’t make that up).

Happy Parents Produce Happy Kids

There are many things promoted as being good for your baby, but nothing tops happy parents. Kids thrive in homes with low stress and strong teamwork, and they replicate mom and dad’s relationship later in their own lives. A healthy, active love life provides the glue that helps hold you and mom together, which leads to holding your family together. 

Talk About It Now

For the average couple, not talking about it is the third factor behind a deteriorating sex life. Factor number one is having a baby, and factor number two is already having a poor relationship (which benefits from talking, too). 

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So if you don’t communicate like you’ll need to once Junior arrives, add your sex life to the long list of benefits if you start. Talking about it now will ensure you’re not blind-sided if problems develop, and if they do, communicating puts you both on the path to make the best of it.

If making the best of it includes you two, no matter your circumstances, it means she cares and is trying to make it work. This makes a critical difference; while we dads love sex at the moment, what we really crave all the time is feeling loved. We know this because we’ve lost some of that lovin’ feeling.

More good news: Millennial moms talk about sex more. Add the conversation to your pre-baby checklist. Man up and ask her about sex—it’s good for your family.

When Will She Be Good to Go?

Most doctors clear moms to have sex six weeks after a normal delivery and eight weeks after a C-section. While she may want to accommodate you, the reality is she will be good to go not only when she is physically ready, but when she’s emotionally on board, which means she feels rested, good about her baby, and good about you. With all of the changes she’s experiencing, this may take a while.

An amazing number of factors can interfere with her and your love life:

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  • Fatigue, stress, feeling unattractive, and fear of getting pregnant
  • Soreness and pain from her body taking time to heal and sore breasts and nipples 
  • Discomfort from vaginal dryness due to hormones, and changed body parts feeling out of whack.
  • Lower libido triggered by breastfeeding hormones and feeling “touched out” by continual contact with her baby.
  • Your baby, as any peep, real or imagined, may kill the mood.
  • Frustrated with you. Early on, no matter how good/supportive you are (fairness is not a consideration), you may not be “good enough,” and sex is among the first casualties. 
  • Just frustrated; she has taken the brunt of new baby responsibilities. 
  • This, in turn, can be very frustrating for you. 
  • She may wonder “will I ever be desirable again?”, oblivious to the fact that you absolutely think she is.

Making Love Again

After months out of commission, it’s natural to get hyped up for your first time back in the sack. Fight the urge, be smart, patient, and take it slow. 

It’s a Yellow Light from the Doctor 

Her doctor can only tell her whether her body and any incisions look healed. If yes, still proceed with caution.

Patience, Patience, Patience

Pushing her will be highly counterproductive. Appearing eager can also be coming on too strong. 

Too Soon for Another Baby

This is an issue that can scare her, so talk contraception. While nursing moms are not as fertile, the risk of pregnancy increases over time.

Set the Stage

Place your little bundle of distraction somewhere besides your room. Soft music, a candle, and perhaps a little wine all help to put her in a romantic mood. See Date Night for times away.

Make It Special

This is a special moment in your new relationship when you re-commit to each other. It’s finally back to just the two of you. She has issues for you to overcome, so do it up right.

The First Time

This is your time to shine as a sensitive, understanding, caring man willing, after months and months of blue-balled abstinence, to put his gun back in its holster at any indication she is not ready. The first time is a formative moment for her new perspective on sex, so be her hero at this vulnerable time.

Beautiful & Treasured

If she indicates feeling unattractive: “You are the most beautiful mother in the whole world—the one who gave me my baby.”

Be Ready With a Rain Check 

If she falls asleep just when things should get going, kiss her on the cheek and tuck her in. Cheerful and understanding in the morning. Another chance to be her hero. 

Talk It Through

Informed consent is recommended. Does this feel good? 

Lubricate

She may be low on natural lubrication, especially if breastfeeding, and vaginal discomfort after delivery is common, so invest in a tube and use it liberally.

Let Her Take Control

Then she’s sure to do what she likes.

Careful Around Her Breasts

She looks great, but they may be for the baby only. Her nipples will be tender and her breasts may leak, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for her. Feeding the baby first may help, along with having a sense of humor. 

Keep Her Comfortable

Go slow, be cautious, use positions that let her control the action (mom on top, side-to-side, spooning), do not switch positions on the fly, and be careful when it gets hot and vigorous. Back off at her slightest indication of discomfort: she needs to enjoy it

Keep Expectations Low

If lovemaking doesn’t happen, reassure her you understand and love her, then take a long shower. 

One Dad’s Formula for Success

One dad at Boot Camp who went seven months without sex was desperate. He had tried everything to jump start a love life with his exhausted wife. On one occasion, after hiring a babysitter, taking his wife to dinner and then retiring to a hotel room, his carefully orchestrated rendezvous fell flat when his weary spouse drifted off to sleep as soon as she hit the mattress. Other dads nodded their heads in understanding. 

Another dad reported: "That happened to me, but I got it handled." All eyes were on him…"It takes time. In my case, two days. On Saturday I took the baby all day and made sure she got out—she got her hair done. When she got back I suggested she take a long nap, which she did. The next day is when I got the baby sitter, took her to lunch, and then to a nice hotel. We went early and then slow and easy."  Success! (BTW, it will likely be awkward and maybe even funny; in the beginning, hot sex it is usually not.)

sex after birth

Quadruple Foreplay

When asked: “How can your spouse help you get in the mood” in a BabyCenter survey, 60% of moms said foreplay (hugging, stroking, and kissing), and another 23% said massage (another form of foreplay). Lots of foreplay helps new moms shed lingering tensions about their baby, body, you, etc.

Broaden Your Definition of Foreplay 

Letting her sleep in, go out by herself, and get a nap in the afternoon is a good way to start.

Verbal Foreplay 

Text her. Try a little wine in front of a fire once the baby is asleep. Talk about your lives before Junior arrived. Remind her of the fun and good times you had together; talk about your dreams for the future. 

Take a Massage Class 

Nothing says “I love you” better than a massage, and you are literally warming up her body. (BTW, this can be a regular, long-term solution.)

The Long Warm-Up Period

Go with what her body responds to, not your well-defined but ill-fated plan. After months of inaction, the longer you take in talking, caressing and kissing, the more she will warm up. 

Bring Out the Hottie in Her

The notion that fathers are the only ones left wanting is only partly true; a mere one-third of moms are happy with the passion in their lives. Keep in mind what really turns her on is watching you give “her” baby a bath, playing with your little one, and holding her half the night when she’s crying.

Discover New Sensual Opportunities

Facts: Some nursing moms find the increased sensitivity of their breasts enjoyable. While tired moms find orgasms take longer, they also report they can be more intense and exciting. It may turn out that increased blood flow in her pelvic region during pregnancy does not fully dissipate, leaving her more sensitive on a long-term basis. 

Learn What She Likes Now

She’s changed, so “if it works for you it will work for us”. Ask her for guidance on pushing her buttons.

Upgrade Your Skillset 

You want her to max out on enjoying herself, so build your skillset with a little education. This inexpensive online video on Tantra is well-rated; if you check it out, let other dads know how it worked out on Your Contribution.

Watch a Sex Video or Visit an Adult Shop

Or both. This tame TED talk on the secret to long term desire (19:45) has been viewed 14 million times. Do something new like visiting a costume shop and picking out an outfit for each other.

If She's Never in the Mood

If you are horny, in love with your wife, slightly baffled and frustrated, you have a lot of company. There are also many dads to learn from, and success stories are common. Time to double down; your relationship is at risk. 

Today I gave my wife her first orgasm; our child is one. It was a good day.

First, Cuddle

The first casualty is physical contact, especially if Mom feels it will be an invitation to you for sex. If you spoon at night, you’re generating oxytocin and feelings of love for each other. It first requires a no sex pledge from you; this includes her inadvertently feeling your wood.

Try Alternatives

Taking a different approach can help you both feel sexual again without the issues of intercourse. Orgasms during those first months after childbirth will provide you and Mom a release of pent up tension and a renewed sense of hope and energy.

See What Others Say

Do this together, so you both can get ideas on working it out. As indicated, moms say a lot about sex after a baby and dads are starting to weigh in.

If She Doesn’t Care

Ouch. She needs to care: Divorce peaks in those 18 months after the first baby. Back to Rebuilding Your Relationship and Courting a New Mom. And perhaps some professional counseling. Give it time, and don’t give up. 

If You're Never in the Mood

Moms are generally always the one not in the mood, but it can also be you. Common hurdles include:

  • You looked down there, and the graphic images got burned into your brain. 
  • Motherhood makes her different to you; the naughty imagery that drives sex can clash with a new image of your mate breastfeeding.

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  • Her new body is a turn off: a flabby tummy and lack of time to take care of herself means she may no longer be your sex goddess. 
  • You’re pre-occupied and stressed out by problems you face, and/or you’re too tired.
  • Or something else. 

What Do You Do?

It happens, and she needs to know you care and are working on it. Ideas to consider:

  • Talk with her about it and reassure her that you love her.
  • Exercise or try some new activity together.
  • Try cuddling, massage and other non-sexual intimacy.
  • Turn out the lights and let her seduce you. 
  • Try mutual, manual sex.
  • Engage in a mild fantasy that shakes up your normal images of each other.

Give it time; don’t give up. Consider a counselor. 

sex after birth

Your Contribution

Share your solutions for the next guys here. Like on:

  • How did you two work it out?
  • What suggestions do you have?