After growing a baby and giving birth, you accomplished a lot, mom. And trying to heal while feeding and caring for your new baby is a 24 hour job. So finding your balance in your new role may not include having sex, even long after the “green light”. »6 weeks from your doctor or midwife. You might feel good about it (after all, you have to adapt to a lot of things), but you might also be thinking, “No. I’m not going. I don’t want to … What is wrong with me?“* Sigh. *
There is nothing wrong with you, mom. Having a low libido during a postpartum period is a normal evolutionary adaptive response designed to ensure that you survive to continue to reproduce.
Here’s why so many new moms have low sex drive after childbirth.
You’re probably too tired to have sex, but also too hormonal to want to.
You are probably exhausted. Maybe you are feeling bad and sex is not pleasurable right now. Maybe you are worried about the changes in your body or that you are getting pregnant again. Or maybe you just get touched and feel like the only thing you have control over is your body.
But beneath all of these perfectly legitimate reasons, there is a raging and dwindling stream of hormones that have an even more powerful impact on your libido.
When you are pregnant, the levels of your reproductive hormones are sometimes 1000 times higher than when you are not pregnant. And once you give birth, these hormones drop to the level of menopause. The resulting low estrogen level can cause uncomfortable vaginal dryness, especially if you are breastfeeding, and loss of sex drive.
This is how evolution ensures that you “don’t want it” while you heal and invest your energy in keeping your new baby alive before you start working on the next one.
You are fulfilled in other ways.
Oxytocin is the binding hormone released when you hug, have sex, and breastfeed. Before birth, touching your partner triggers the release of oxytocin which helps you feel good and bond with each other. But after giving birth, with all the cuddling and feeding, “the mother ends up getting her oxytocin from her child,” says clinical sex therapist Dr. Kat Van Kirk. “This transfer of emotional energy is believed to decrease sexual desire and increase responsiveness to infant stimuli in postpartum women by activating regions of the brain associated with reward.”
Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, skin-to-skin contact between you and baby increases the release of oxytocin, which creates bonds between you and baby, ensuring that you will take care of them and that they will survive.
The hormone prolactin also plays an important role in maternal behavior. Prolactin makes your breasts bigger during pregnancy and prepares them for starting milk production after birth. This hormone helps you relax while you are breastfeeding, but it also lowers your sex drive. Once again, it’s biology that makes sure you stay focused on the biological investment you just made in your baby.
Your partner may also be affected by low libido.
Although the research is still preliminary, it is believed that high prolactin levels in new dads induce babysitting behavior, just like in moms, while reducing testosterone levels after birth.
Studies have shown that the more fathers interact with their babies, the more their testosterone levels drop, which lowers libido and forces them to focus less on the desire to have sex and more on the desire to feed. This helps ensure that dads invest more energy in parenting than in making a new baby, while also helping them relax and enjoy their newborn baby.
Breastfeeding can decrease libido.
Not wanting to have sex after childbirth is perfectly normal, and either way, it’s temporary, especially if you’re breastfeeding. In a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, the researchers found a significant decrease in fatigue, an improvement in mood, and an increase in sexual activity, feelings and frequency within four weeks of stopping breastfeeding, once the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels.
When to start having sex after childbirth is up to you.
Even after you have been medically cleared to have sex, it may take some time before you feel like having sex again, and it’s okay to wait. . However, when the time is right for you and your desire for sex has returned, you may still have concerns about how to get things done. Here are some tips to help you restart your post-baby sex life:
- Set aside time as a couple. Take the time to be alone to remind yourself that you are still in a relationship, even after you become parents.
- Be honest with each other. Talk about your physical changes, how it might feel like having sex or being intimate now, and anything else that might worry you.
- To get closer. Look for other ways to express your affection as you prepare to have sex. Spend time being close to each other, kissing and cuddling, without the pressure.
- Use lubrication. When you’re ready, using a lubricant can fight vaginal dryness and make sex more pleasurable.
- Get in touch with yourself, first. Rediscovering your body and what makes you feel good on its own is an important step in regaining intimacy with a postpartum partner. Check out the toys from our friends at Dame Products below for inspiration.
At the end of the line : You are not alone if you do not have the desire for postpartum sex. And like many other things that can be difficult about pregnancy and the postpartum period, it will pass. But for now, low libido is probably just a development in securing your reproductive success – protecting the huge physical and emotional investment you’ve already made and ensuring your and your baby’s survival so that you can pass on your benefits. genes to future generations. Pretty powerful stuff.
Editor’s Note: Other medical conditions may be contributing to your lack of desire. And it is important not to confuse the lack of sexual desire with postpartum depression. So watch out for signs and symptoms, such as severe mood swings, loss of appetite, overwhelming fatigue, and lack of interest or joy in the things that are important to you. If you think you have postpartum depression, contact your health care provider for prompt treatment and recovery. Painful intercourse should also be evaluated by a doctor, midwife, and pelvic floor physiotherapist.
If you’re hoping to make things better, or are just looking to take some time with yourself, explore Dame Products’ vulva-approved options. As a female-owned sex toy company, their mission is to cultivate pleasure and we are here for it. Motherly readers can save 15% on Dame products with the code MOTHERLY.
Pom flexible vibrator
Finally, a vibrator that can bend to your needs. Brilliantly shaped for targeted or wide stimulation, the five vibration patterns and five vibration speeds will ensure you hit the nail on the head only the right place. Rechargeable and powerful yet compact, Pom is a great way to get in touch with your body, whether solo or as a couple.
Aer suction toy
With pulses of air and a gentle seal, the Aer suction toy offers the excitement of oral stimulation even if you are not yet ready to share your body in this way or want the attention. of your partner is focused elsewhere. With multiple intensity levels and vibration patterns, your roadmap to the big O will be easy to follow.
Fine Finger Vibrator
By delivering dual sensations, the Fin Finger Vibrator is a great way to synchronize the pursuit of pleasure. Just the right size for all the right places, Fin won’t interfere with any position. The unique shape and vibrations allow users to get the feel they want during foreplay, sex or solo time.
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This article is sponsored by Lady. Please support the brands that support Motherly et mamas.