“Post Baby Nookie? No sex please we’re parents.”
Whatever stage you’re at in the parenting cycle some of the following may apply and the tips at the end should still be helpful – however I’m focusing this article on ‘new mums’ and how your sex lives and relationships may have changed. Do these sound familiar?
- I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I haven’t slept properly for months.
- Some days I’m running on empty, I have nothing left to give to my partner.
- All our conversations are about our child/children.
- No, I haven’t had a hair cut, waxed, shaved, plucked eyebrows, changed out of trackie bums and my breast pads are leaking again.
- My babyweight is wobbling. I’m unfit. I’m undesirable.
- I can’t even hoover the house. The to do list is enormous – it looks like I’ve done nothing all day.
- Am I a good mother at the cost of being a good partner?
Just writing that list is exhausting. But I hear new mums saying them frequently. No wonder your relationship is different since having a baby. You may have discussed some of the points with your other mummy mates but have you talked about the impact of these with your partner? Has either of you brought up that you’ve got no idea what’s going on for them? Or have you talked about the fact that you’d rather have 30 mins kip vs 10 mins naked cuddling time? You may have attempted sex again, you may not have done. It may be ok, but not back to how it was PRB (Pre-Baby).
Things to watch out for:
Things that might have changed. Your vagina may have changed shape during pregnancy or childbirth. Your ‘old favourites’ might not be as good as they used to be and your sexual script might need to change – does that make you excited or anxious? Lubrication may now be different – call the ladies at Sh! Women’s Emporium to help you decide on a purchase over the phone. Your hormones may be kicking in to solely focus on your child. How are you going to share a little bit of that focus/ awake time with each other. You may have a child co-sleeping with you – you’ll need to think around that. Your partner may have been down the ‘action end’ at childbirth – are you worried they’ll not want to go there again? From what I hear, that is not the case – they would be happy to get down there as soon as possible once all is physically ok!
Ultimately you’re more likely to want to get it on if you’re working as a team, if you feel appreciated, and have time together. Your relationship is the things between you, so you both need to communicate and make the effort. You may no longer be a ‘twosome’ in your household, and it may not be as easy as it used to be, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up the relationship you used to have – you’re just tweaking things to reflect where you are now.
PRACTICAL TOP TIPS YOU CAN TRY FOR YOURSELF
Diary Management – This sounds completely clinical, but couple time should be booked into your diary. Book the next month’s worth of ‘dates’ into the diary. Try once per week and these can only be cancelled in case of emergency. If your first response to this is ‘Yes, but ….’ – there is a solution to everything you oppose – someone can babysit, you can do the feed with a bottle, the date can be a walk, so not expensive. This is take out around the kitchen table – but out of the trackie bums and with no sick covered top!
Are you or your partner withholding intimacy from one another? – What does it mean if you do, or do not have sexual contact? (To you, not your mates, or Joe Bloggs). Figure out what you’re angry, annoyed or scared, or sad about. And then start the conversation with your partner about those things. You’ll be amazed how much more likely intimacy is when you’ve spoken about what is really going on between you.
Many parents want to be thanked, to be told that their partner loves them or simply want a hug without anything else being demanded. If you’re not talking about this, your partner will not know. Remember this is about telling them what you need, not criticising – try using “I’d love it if …
Sex Ban. Depending how long it’s been, perhaps start with just general body stroking session, getting reacquainted with one another. Stroke each others face, hair, shoulders and hands to start with while keeping eye contact. Clients are amazed at how intimate this is. Many find it hard. The ban can be useful as it focuses your attention on sensuality and finding a new script together. Focus on pleasure as opposed to penetration or orgasm.
Some basics. Sort our lubrication, contraception, a lock on your door (and brief your toddlers about what to do if they need you while the door is shut) and make sure you have a comfy ‘adult space’ to be together.
Clare Staunton is a sex and relationship counsellor based in West London. She works with couples, or people wanting to attend on their own, of any sexual orientation. Find out more about SexualHealingUK (please can you leave embedded) please contact Clare on 07903 681853 or email@example.com