Postpartum Sex Advice (Body Image, Sex Drive, Etc)
DH and I recently had our first child and I was hoping to hear your experiences/advice on postpartum sex. After getting the okay from my dr to starting having sex again we have finally gotten to the point where sex is no longer uncomfortable or painful for me. Below are a couple of the questions I have:
How did you deal with the changes to your body, especially those who breastfed (stomach, breasts, etc)? DH has always enjoyed the visual aspect of sex and it has taken me time to be confident in spreading my legs, having sex with the lights on, masturbating in from of him, etc.
Leaking milk during sex has sometimes taken me out of the moment. How did you and your DH react to it and did it bother you at all?
Wife vs Mom Mode: It’s been difficult for me to turn of my mothering brain and feel sexy. My sex drive has come back and I do want sex, but I can’t get into the right mindset.
Masturbation: DH recommended I get some sex toys to find time for myself to masturbate and find my sexy side. What are your thoughts and any recommendations for toys?
Breast/Nipple Sensitivity: DH has always been a boobs man, and even more so now that they are a lot bigger. How did you and your DH deal with breast play (I’m currently still breastfeeding)?
Thanks for your help and insight. If you have any other suggestions/advice that I didn’t bring up please share, these are just the topics that immediately came to mind.
I feel I am unqualified to give advice here because in my years of pregnancies and postpartum (4x), I was a sexual refuser. But I have wished I could go back and change things. Here are some things I have learned in my years as a mom and some things I wish I would have done differently.
Re: body image – let your husband know of your insecurity, but at the same time be confident in your sexuality. Be vulnerably naked (heart, mind, soul, and body) with your husband. Don’t hide, and choose to trust him when he says he loves you, he wants you and that you are beautiful. The sex hormones that get realeased during sex will continue to connect you two, and it makes our husbands blind to our perceived flaws! 😉 Have you heard of beer goggles? I call it my husband’s “sex goggles”. 🙂
Re: Leaking milk/Breast play – first, if it makes too much of a mess, as a last resort, you could keep a bra with those milk pads on. They do make waterproof blankets for sex, and that could help protect sheets. Also, take advantage of bath or shower times, where leaking doesn’t matter at all. This is one area I wish I could go back and take advantage of my husband. I would let him use his fascination and curiosity and let him help build and keep my milk supply up (if he would have enjoyed it). I always struggled with keeping my milk supply up long term and I could never get pumping to work.
Re: Wife/Mom mode – Find a transition time. I shower at night and that is when I transition. I take that time praying, sometimes even asking the Lord to change my heart and attitude about the sex to come when I am not in the mood, and in essence, I wash my day away. When I step out, I am refreshed, I am clean, and I am ready to stay up in our room….no more chores, kids are settled down in bed, and when they were old enough, it was dad tucking them in and praying with them as I “transitioned”. I know a newborn/baby can be unpredictable, but aim for it and you’ll hit it some. Also, be intentional with staying attuned with your sexuality and sexiness. Keep that desire stirred up. Take advantage of some of those nap times….many husbands would trade a perfectly kept house and home cooked meals for more sexual/emotional connection time with their wife. Especially during this baby time, because it can really stir up insecurity in them. Anything a wife can do to affirm that she still chooses him and wants him, and that they are in this life together, the better it will be for both.
Re: Sex toys/Masturbation – With MB, I never really needed toys. My own fingers/hands were very adept at exploring. A handheld showerhead can do wonders. Take a mirror and actually look at your vulva, watch the changes that happens as you arouse yourself, see the beauty in the color variations and how things begin to get fuller.
With toys, what interests you? Get something you are curious about. There are different shaped dildos/vibrators that are designed to stimulate different areas internally, like the g-spot, and externally, like the clitoral head. The Satisfyer Pro has a different technique and feel than a typical vibrator and is waterproof. Just explore and experiment. Enjoy the process of finding what works and what doesn’t, and then share it with your husband 🙂
1. Changes to body: After my first, I stopped seeing myself as sexual because I realized just how functional the female body is. Everything that had previously been sexual now had a different use. And that was difficult to process.
We did almost no breast play after both births until later, when the babies were transitioning to solid food. By then, I wasn’t leaking at the drop of a hat. Before that point, any breast play caused me to lactate, and it would become physically uncomfortable for me. So we dropped it for a while until that phase was past.
2. Body Image: I nursed both my children for over 12 months, and I could not lose weight during that time because it affected my milk supply. It was so frustrating, because everyone says breastfeeding is the best way to get rid of pregnancy fat. I finally had to tell myself that it was ok to allow myself to be overweight, because it was the best thing for my baby. That helped out a lot with body image.
Remember that your body right now is exactly how God intended it to be postpartum. The extra fat is important to nursing. You will lose it eventually. Ignore photos of celebs who are model thin 2 weeks after birth. If you had a personal trainer 4 hours a day and a nanny for baby, you’d look like that, too. You’re choosing to be a normal mom, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Just keep telling yourself that. You’ll get your body back later.
3. Transitioning to Wife Mode:. First, know that this is an uphill battle. The oxytocin that you produce during nursing is a desire killer. It’s the same hormone that men produce after orgasm that shuts down their desire. If your husband ever asks about your interest, that’s why. And my OB told me that we can be affected by that up to 18 months after weaning. It’s normal, and it won’t last forever.
As for transitioning, I suggest what others already have. Get a sitter for baby, and do something with your husband in which you promise not to talk about the baby. That time will remind you of your roles as spouses and not parents. That helps so much. Showers are amazing because you’re covered in baby fluids, and it helps you transition to your more normal self. Sex in the shower is particularly amazing because hubby can help you with the washing process. 😉
I would add, get a sitter, engage your parents or a friend for the hours when you can periodically escape. Get away for small set times to take a breath and evaluate and experience the importance of one another, spiritually, socially, intellectually, etc, and sexually. Take the time to talk about your feelings, ideas, values and beliefs. Admit to the pressures of the months and years you have both immediately been thrust into, as much a blessing as child care and rearing are, and reconnect with each other. Set goals in those the areas that matter including the sexual ones and establish a plan towards achieving them.
“it has taken me time to be confident in spreading my legs”
My wife was a bloody mess the first few times, but it seems sex helped it heal. The bleeding stopped in a week and it was back to normal a few weeks later. It would be a good idea to do Kegel exercises.
“Leaking milk during sex has sometimes taken me out of the moment.”
It never bothered us. I found it to be a bit of a turn-on actually. We just let it go wherever. We never use towels etc., but have protection for the mattress in case anything seeps thru. As I recall, the stickiness wasn’t an issue after it dried. We seemed to get more on us than the sheets, so showering cleaned up most of it.
“Breast/Nipple Sensitivity: DH has always been a boobs man, and even more so now that they are a lot bigger. How did you and your DH deal with breast play (I’m currently still breastfeeding)?”
I’m a big boob man too! DW didn’t have any problems with them being too sensitive or anything. They got absolutely humungous during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I enjoyed that. I love to suck her nipples, but did not like the milk. But I could place them in my mouth and lick, or suck the whole area around the areolas rather than just the nipple, and didn’t get milk too often. And you sort of get used to a few drops of milk.
After nursing, her boobs went back to their original size and shape, which I found I prefer. It was a novelty to have smaller ones again 😆 Her nipples stayed larger, which I love.
“Wife vs Mom Mode: It’s been difficult for me to turn of my mothering brain and feel sexy. My sex drive has come back and I do want sex, but I can’t get into the right mindset.”
I think part of it is cultural. We don’t see mothering or the body changes that accompany it as sexy. Even though our society places high value on big boobs, I don’t really see much in the media portraying lactating boobs as sexy even though they are generally large. But it is all about how you see it and your husband sees it. Mostly how you see it. My guess is that your husband is more OK with your new body than you are.
But the main thing to keep in mind is that your body has taken quite a beating, plus having to adjust to less sleep and it not just being the two of you anymore. You will feel sexier as time progresses.