Updated 19 October 2015

Sex and the new parent

If you've recently had a baby, it is highly unlikely that your interest in sex will be what it was before. Here's what you can do to renew your flagging interest.

If you've recently had a baby, it is highly unlikely that your interest in sex will be what it was before the new arrival. But don't be too hard on yourself. There are things you can do to renew your flagging interest.

Give yourself a break
Your life has just changed completely – don’t beat yourself up if sex is the last thing on your mind. New mothers may find that breast-feeding, getting used to a new routine and pressure from a partner to have sex inhibit their sex drive. Respect your feelings, take your time and do what feels best for you. The less you worry about sex, the more likely you are to want and enjoy it.

Plan for sex
With much of your day dictated by your baby’s needs, it’s important to plan time for sex. You may look back fondly on the days when you could drop everything and get nasty whenever the spirit moved you, but the reality is that these days you’ll probably have to plan ahead. The anticipation, however, can add a nice thrill to your upcoming encounter. If you’ve got babysitters, you may try scheduling a regular time during the week for sex. If you can’t find someone to baby-sit, plan around your baby’s schedule. If he or she takes a regular nap, use that time – just make sure you’re relaxed and rested too or sex may feel like a chore. If your baby’s schedule is unpredictable and you’re up for it, grab your partner the minute the baby falls asleep – you may discover some spontaneity after all.

Get help
Call on family, friends and neighbours to baby-sit so that you can spend some time with your lover. If your budget permits, consider ordering prepared meals, hiring a housekeeper or having the bank pay your bills directly. Every minute saved is one you could be spending with your partner.

Respect your health
Your sex drive will stay on permanent hiatus if you run yourself ragged. Try to get plenty of sleep, eat well and exercise. This will boost your self–esteem and probably make you feel desirable. And the more energy you have, the more likely you are to want a good roll in the hay. New mothers should do Kegel’s exercises; strengthening your PC muscle will improve your experience of sex.

You may not realise how tense you are until you make a conscious effort to relax. Take a warm bath, ask your lover for a massage or have a glass of wine. Easing the tension can make room for arousal.

Be patient
Once the baby is born, many women are surprised, not only to find that their bodies don’t instantly revert back to normal, but that vaginal intercourse can hurt for some time. Experiment with different positions: side–by–side and woman–on–top allow you to take more control. Use plenty of lubricant – your fluctuating hormone levels can dry up your natural lubrication. If you want to try easing back into intercourse, try using lube and a small dildo. Don’t feel you have to rush back into intercourse, even if your doctor says you are ready. Experiment with other ways of expressing sexual intimacy.

Be creative
If you are too tired to get hot and heavy but want to feel sexual, try a quickie masturbation session. If one of you is in the mood, but the other is not, maybe it’s a good time to enjoy a little voyeurism. Rent an X–rated movie instead of the latest blockbuster and watch it from bed. If you want to have sex, but don’t want to make any decisions, play an erotic board game. Have a meal of finger food delivered at your home. If orgasm is harder to achieve, use a vibrator. Anal intercourse can be a satisfying alternative to vaginal intercourse.

Get away
Sometimes just getting away from it all does wonders for the libido. Go to a romantic inn, take a camping trip, offer to house-sit for someone, just do something to get out of your own environment. If you can, bring someone along to watch the baby or find a sitter.

As always, communication is vital. You and your partner are going through so many changes, it’s important that you share your feelings. Talk about your concerns, your desires, your needs, your preferences and your expectations.

Use resources
Whatever you are feeling or experiencing, you are not alone. Connect with other parents to get advice, suggestions or just a friendly ear.




Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Gut health »

Can't lose weight? Blame it on your gut

Our nutrition experts weigh in on why gut health is such an important factor in weight loss, on World Obesity Day.

Sleep better »

Yes, there is such a thing as too much sleep

A new study confirms that too little sleep can impair your brain, but interestingly, too much sleep is also a problem.