Since my dear old mum is an avid reader of this blog, sex is a topic that I have (so far) refrained from writing about on YOU THE DADDY (for the record, in case she’s reading this, I’ve only done it once, and even then it was purely for procreative reasons). However, in every lovely relationship, sex is hugely important and something we should all be talking about more openly.
So, to save my blushes (and ensure my mother doesn’t look at me differently from here on out), I asked my pal Kate Owen, author of the brilliant mum blog How To Survive Motherhood, to cover the topic for me, sharing her top tips for dads on how to approach sex with your partner after having a baby.
Dads, let’s be honest. Pregnancy sex can be, well, a bit challenging. There’s a bump in the way. Your partner’s sex drive might be different, lower or non-existent. Tiredness, hormone, bothersome pregnancy symptoms, or just being fed up with being pregnant, can all mean that your sex life takes a back seat for a while.
But then baby comes out! There’s no bump anymore! No more pesky pregnancy symptoms or complications. Your partner isn’t anywhere near as uncomfortable or fed up as she was just a few weeks’ ago. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t resume your sex life as soon as she’s healed, right?
Many (many) couples find that resuming their sex life after a baby isn’t actually as easy as they initially thought. There are lots of reasons for this but a great many are psychological. She will have a lot of thoughts running through her head about sex and not all of them are good.
So, if you want to get back to being intimate as a couple, then it pays to understand what might be worrying her about sex. Whilst I can’t speak for every woman out there, I know enough mums and have had enough experience myself to know that most of us have the same worries.
So to help you out, here are seven things that mums want dads to know about sex post-baby, which might give you a better understanding of how she is feeling right now (and just might help you both get your sex life back on track)!
Sex after having a baby: 7 things mums want dads to know
1. She feels insecure
Pregnancy changes your body. And unless you are super lucky, it doesn’t just snap back into its pre-baby state straight away (and sometimes it’s changed forever). She might have been left with stretch marks, saggy skin and maybe even physical scars. All of which are likely to make her feel very vulnerable and insecure about stripping off in front of you, let alone jumping into bed for sex.
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what your partner looks like after a baby – she’s a goddess and you need to tell her that. She grew life. She carried it, nurtured it and birthed it. She’s nothing short of amazing.
But sadly we now live in a society that tells her that unless she is slim, toned and youthful looking, she’s not good enough. So it’s up to you to convince her otherwise.
Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her you love her stretch marks because they show that she had the strength to carry your child. Reassure her that her body is sexy. And the fact that it bears the marks of her being a mother, just means that you love it (and her) even more.
2. She’s worried it will hurt or be uncomfortable
This one is self-explanatory. Even with a natural, no tearing, no stitches birth, there will still be discomfort and a certain level of healing that needs to happen. Lots of women, though, end up with stitches (whether ‘down there’ or from a c-section scar) so this can lead to the very natural fear that sex will be uncomfortable or hurt.
The best way to approach this is to wait until the six week check-up so she can get the all clear. Even then though, she may still be apprehensive, depending on how smoothly her recovery is going.
Reassure her that you’ll both take things very slow and stop if she feels any kind of discomfort or pain. So don’t go swinging from the light fittings the first time you have sex again! Be gentle.
Also, remember there are plenty of other ways to have fun in the bedroom and be intimate again that don’t involve penetrative sex, so now is a good time to get a little creative.
3. She’s exhausted
If your partner is breastfeeding then she’s going to be up several times a night at least. And even if she’s not, she may still be the one who does the majority of the night feeds. And even during the day, she’ll inevitably be running around from dusk ‘til dawn, with little or no time to herself. In short, she will be utterly knackered.
So if I’m brutally honest, if you give her a choice between sex or a nap, the latter is almost certainly going to win, every time. And that’s not because she doesn’t want sex. It’s just because she knows that that extra hour/five minutes of sleep will give her a little boost when she has to get up at 3am.
Tiredness kills sex drives. That’s just the way it is. So if you want your partner to start getting her mojo back, then maybe get her into bed a little more often. For a nap, of course…
4. She’s worried it will be different
Often pregnancy means that your sex life gets put on hold towards the end. So it may have been a while since you’ve had sex. This in itself can make things feel a bit awkward. But given that there has been the birth of a baby since then, it’s also natural to wonder if things ‘down there’ have changed. Especially if she had a natural delivery.
This might mean that she’s worried about whether sex will feel different now. For both of you. And that, in turn, might mean that she’s even more nervous about finding out.
Ultimately the only way to find out if sex is different is to, well, find out. And just remember (and reassure her if necessary) that different isn’t always bad!
5. She needs to feel loved
Having a new baby can mean that we get caught up in being a mum. Opportunities to connect with each other as a couple or in a loving way can be limited (or difficult to find). Which means that it’s not uncommon to feel a little like flatmates for a while. Without that intimate connection, any attempt to initiate sex may well be met with a ‘Really??’ or a ‘What? Now???’, rather than the enthusiastic ‘YES!’ you were hoping for.
Connection is what makes us feel loved. So make sure you spend as much quality time together as you can. Ask her how she is. How she’s feeling. Is there anything she needs from you? Make her feel loved and appreciated. That way, she’ll feel much more like your partner than just the woman who looks after your baby.
6. She won’t want it if she’s pissed off!
Unless you are both robots (or that one in a million sickeningly compatible and loving couple that you see in TV ads) then there’s likely to be some kind of conflict between you as new parents, which invariably never gets discussed or resolved.
Unfortunately this is a sure fire way to kill a sex life. I know it’s hard to find the energy sometimes, but it’s always a much healthier idea to talk things through rather than leave them to fester.
So, think about whether you are doing enough around the house. Could you help her out more? Is she getting enough time to herself? Does she get a break or a chance to go out?
Whatever your situation, try to deal straight away with any disagreements that might be building resentment or causing friction between you. This will help you (and her) to feel more like lovers rather than fighters.
7. She needs to warm up to the idea
It seems to me that a lot of men can go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye when it comes to wanting sex. New mums, on the other hand, have so much going on in their heads that sex can often feel like a distant memory (and something they need to get reacquainted with first before they want it).
We also can’t forget about all the logistical challenges a new baby brings. Your new baby is probably in your room or may even be co-sleeping with you both. So pouncing on your partner just after she’s got your little one to sleep may not be well received!
As such, if you want to resume your sex life sooner rather than later, then a bit of planning (and a lot of wooing) will make all the difference.
Put some thought into it. Plan a date night. Get a family member or friend to babysit for a few hours. Flirt with your partner. Show her affection. Kiss and cuddle her throughout the day. Remind her why you want her and give her time to warm up to the idea of sex rather than just springing it on her and hoping for the best.
So there you have it. Seven things that your partner is likely to be worried about when she’s thinking about sex after a baby.
As with any potential worries, fears or insecurities in a relationship, the best thing to do is talk about them together. Tell each other how you are feeling. Be open and honest. Don’t brush issues under the carpet. Reassure your partner that you can both deal with any issues, together. Focus on building emotional intimacy and trust that it will naturally lead to physical intimacy.
And if your partner is still a little reluctant, remember that it’s not forever. Becoming parents, without a doubt, changes your life and so it’s inevitable that it will change your relationship too. However, with a bit of patience and effort you can absolutely get things back on track…but only when you are both ready.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, written by Kate Owen, founder of How To Survive Motherhood, a blog dedicated to pregnancy, parenting, relationships and mental health issues. When Kate isn’t mum blogging (and indulging in creme eggs / wine – her words, not mine!), Kate is also a Life and Relationship Coach with a postgraduate certificate in Couples psychotherapy, so loves working with people to help them make positive changes in their relationships and be happy in love.
You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via these links, and check out more of her articles on relationships after a baby here, And for more details of relationship coaching, do go ahead and email her directly at kate@howtosurvivemotherhood.