Dear Dr. Jen, My boyfriend and I used to have sex all the time. Then I got pregnant and I didn’t want it all the time. Then I had my baby girl, and now I’m never in the mood. I try to take it for the team to keep him happy, but it hurts so bad! We tried everything – lube, jelly, everything – and I can never get in the mood, probably because I’m scared it’s going to hurt. Thank you for your help! – Blossom
I love this question because I know this is an issue that affects so many women.
Pregnancy and childbirth bring on so many changes, and I don’t think we’re always prepared to navigate through everything that happens to our bodies, our relationships, our sexuality, and just our lives in general.
Sex after baby can be an adjustment, and if you’re a brand new mom and your sex drive is lagging, don’t worry! It’s normal. Your body is focused on recovering and caring for your newborn. Give yourself a good six months to recover before worrying about increasing your drive. And if you are breastfeeding, same thing – your body’s not going to be able to put as much of its energy into creating sex hormones, so give yourself a break!
One thing that can help increase and maintain intimacy during this time is to ease into it with more foreplay activities like kissing, cuddling, and intimate touch. You don’t have to orgasm to have great sex, and sex can be more than just vaginal penetration – especially if it’s going to cause you pain.
Painful sex is unfortunately a common occurrence for new mothers and can be caused by a number of things, like birth complications, hormone imbalance, and vaginal infections. Many women on the birth control pill experience pain during sex as well. Talk to your OB/GYN to see if you can get to the root cause of what’s causing you pain, and make sure to experiment with different positions to see if that helps at all.
Last and most importantly, remember that you have needs too, and sometimes these need to be met before you can make space for your partner. Take some time for yourself and make sure your needs are getting met. Pamper yourself, take a hot bath, get a little exercise, write in your journal – anything that will help you get in touch with yourself and your needs.