Some points to take into account:
Behind the scenes before kids:
When you see each other as housemates or you are in a long-term relationship the sex trigger reduces? Earlier in the relationship before kids there might be a date night or a movie night and you are more in the mind space for having sex but now with an added baby your life sex changes. Brains loves novelty and unpredictability but with a baby this can change.
The impact of a big change like a reduced sex life can be that it affects our relationship negatively when it is already a time of great transition and when sex may be important for both of you, sexual satisfaction and togetherness. Staying connected and satisfied is imported for long term relationships.
Research says it is at the lowest for the first five years after having children. Kids can take away from sex or the sex you used to have. Sexual expression could have been a part of you and you feel like it is lost when having kids.
There is worry when you don’t have sex it can affect how you feel with your relationship.
But it is it ok to sometimes to have some time off, and you can work on the sexual connection that you both have.
Some headings we could add in ‘First 6 months to a year = Survival mode
Most don’t return to sex for the first 6 months. You are not alone! Why does sex fall off the agenda?
- Sleep deprivation
- Stress of baby
- No time
- Change in body image
- New roles as parents
- Trauma from birth
- Emotional tole
Sexual difficulties: pain or low desire is common after birth
As well as the impact of all these aspects prolactin from breastfeeding reduces your desire but it also increases vaginal dryness.
If you are breastfeeding a real drop in desire and possible pain.
Tiredness is a huge factor on sex:
Mainly been tired but the hormone changes that tiredness brings.
Some tips :
The best thing you can do in this scenario is share the feeds/ Work on sleep instead of sex
A new role with a new body : A role that society has programmed as ‘’ mumsie’’body.
This can leave birth parents not wanting any hands-on contact or thinking about sex.
Impact of birth, trauma and injury.
Birth can be a joyous, happy, powerful but also a traumatic painful time for most mothers. Whether it is a vaginal , c- section, intervention such as forceps/ vontouse, grazes, tears.
There are several aspects of birth injury including third- and fourth-degree tear.
Painful sex after having a third- or fourth-degree tear 270% more likely after a third- or fourth-degree chair.
Damage to a tear can impact on anal incontinence or struggling to pass wind. The physical is almost less impactful than it is phycological.
Sexual desire or sexy stuff is very hard to concentrate on.
53% of women that had tears had a negative impact on their bodies and sex.
What to do:
Communication is key with your partner. Sharing these fears and anxiety can do the opposite.
Sex is much more than vaginal sex, that can be a huge change if you are used to vaginal penetration. Post birth injury can be an opportunity to mix it up while your body recovers.
People with tears can take a lot more time to return to sex.
For all mothers what are the tips when you are ready:
Lubricant is key!
Pain: Pelvic health physiotherapy is key for recovery for both vaginal or c- section. You may have scar tissue build up from an episiotomy or forceps.
Pelvic floor trauma accounts for almost 90% of births.
Mothers can experience possible feelings of pulling around the vagina and near the perineal body. Pelvic health physios can offer you a physical examination and can tailor treatments to see if you manually need release on the scar. This can help with the initial phases of returning back to sex. Pelvic floor therapy by prescribing squeezing exercises, core exercises for recovery and to build up strength, breath work and biofeedback can be also prescribed.
Psychological element from a traumatic birth: Are mind becomes preoccupied with anxiety, fear and this can bring down arousal. With anxiety the pelvic floor muscles can tense up with can make it difficult for penetration. Pain can increase and there is then a cycle of pain related to sex.
Practice penetration on your own with plenty of lubricant, see how it feels.
Use dilators externally and internally.
This is a great way to build you up to get back to sex.
Leaving it for too long is also not a great idea: Getting started sooner is better as long is everything has healed.
If anxiety and pain, the mind and thoughts continue a psychosexual councillor may be advised to add in with treatment.
It may feel like your sex life is gone – But it is not!
- Having kids under five are tiredness, stress, reduced feelings of closeness.
- When there are practical issues like time – the option is to prioritise a schedule.
- Or come back to sex when you are both ready (sometimes this can feel very strange)
- We prioritize the first option as there is always time for a connection, or 5 minutes a month
- Tiredness is a big factor: If you are regularly not getting enough sleep and sleep deprivation is the toughest but make sure it is tiredness. Sometimes doing some sex not penetration sometimes gently its worth considering.
- Phycological health might be improved
- Stress: Need to prioritise reducing health 5 minutes a day of e.g calming music, breath work, close your eyes for
- Break up the tasks at home
Feeling connected with each other:
Parent-hood can feel like a competition as to who has it works
- Feel resentful
- Little things start to matter more
Reflect on how you are talking? do you need to raise any issues
Are you connecting and still having fun
Are you having any time to hang out together?
Address any of these issues so that you have time to connect. Spend some time doing activities that are fun.
E.g talk for 10 minutes about your day has been, listening to each other.
Doing something fun – one evening a month doing future plans , holidays, trips
Cooking together, watching something together.