Today’s blog post about low postpartum libido is brought to you by Dr. Teresa Johnson, PhD CST. Dr. Johnson is a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. She works with women and men seeking sex therapy and intimacy coaching in Portstmouth, NH. However, she also offers virtual visits across the country for both therapy and coaching!
I have seen this question pop up on social media mom groups and have discussed it with my friends. Often, the conversation starts with, “So… how many times a week do you have sex?” To which, I’ve heard anywhere from 5 times a week to 1-2 times a month. Asking your friends, or complete strangers on social media, about low libido in motherhood requires some vulnerability. However, I believe low libido is much more common than we all realize.
Often times, the response I see to women wondering how to increase their desire for sex: “I have sex with my spouse even if I don’t want to and eventually, with time, I want to again”.
Whoa! Doesn’t that sound… not fun? Is there any other way…?
If your postpartum libido, or lack thereof, has crossed your mind, you are not alone. Dr. Johnson has some explanations and tips for improving your libido after baby… So, let’s get into it!
“What Happened to My Libido?”
Have you noticed since having a baby that you have lost interest in sex? I ask this question because it is a normal and common experience for moms of babies and young children to have low sexual desire.
Several factors often contribute to lower libido after baby arrives. Often moms are sleep-deprived, and getting rest is more important than having sex when there is an opportunity for either. Your mind is likely thinking mostly of your baby, and this might not leave much room to have romantic or erotic thoughts about your partner. If you are struggling with body image concerns, being self-critical of your body also interferes with sexual desire.
Moms are also being touched almost constantly. If your partner also wants touch, you can interpret this as just one more person wanting something from you. When you think your partner is being needy, it’s likely that you may feel annoyed or resentful rather than viewing a partner’s desire as a turn-on.
If you are breastfeeding, there are also hormonal factors contributing to low libido, including high prolactin, low estrogen, and low testosterone. You are also getting a good dose of oxytocin that helps you feel bonded to your baby.
Helpful Tips to Improve Sexual Desire After Baby
Talk about your needs
When your partner is expressing interest in sex, the challenge is sexual desire discrepancy, the difference between your level of desire and your partner’s level of desire. You might talk with your partner about how you both want to bridge this difference. Caring and understanding about each other’s experience can be very helpful in staying emotionally connected.
Ask for what you need
Women typically want to feel emotionally connected to their partner before they are interested in sex, while men often want to have sex as a way to feel connected. If you have a male partner who misses sex with you, consider that this desire likely is at least in part because he wants to feel closer to you. If you are open to the possibility of feeling sexual desire, create together the experiences that may lead you to desire. Consider what helps you feel connected to your partner, and ask for what you desire. How do you want to spend time together that is non-sexual and increases emotional intimacy?
Teach your partner
Consider how you and your partner can discuss boundaries regarding when and how you want to be touched. This may be different than before you had a baby, so listen to your body and teach your partner what you are learning has changed in your desires. If there are times of day that you feel more rested, more relaxed, or more energized, you may dedicate some of this time to connection with your partner.
Rather than thinking of sexual intimacy as a time to take care of your partner’s wants, consider what is in it for you. What about a sexual experience would you enjoy? You may want to co-create different types of experiences than what you wanted a couple of years ago. Our bodies and our sexual interests change throughout our lives, and we can choose different sexual experiences throughout this evolution. Explore what feels good to your body at this phase, and if your estrogen level is low add some lubricant for more pleasurable sensations.
Stay present in the moment
If you find your mind is distracted from intimate moments, remind yourself you will know if your baby needs something without being hyper-vigilant. Refocus your attention on the experience you are sharing with your partner, and connect to your sensations and emotions.
Partners often feel emotionally closer after sex because of the oxytocin released through the shared experience. If you are missing the special closeness you and your partner have shared, sexual intimacy may be a pathway to cultivating this feeling again.
-Dr. Teresa Johnson, PhD CST
My Final Thoughts
Dr. Johnson is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sexual pleasure and intimacy. So many women don’t even realize that there are professionals who specialize in this field! If you’ve noticed a change in your libido and you want more information, I highly encourage you to reach out to Dr. Johnson for more information. Check out her website – she has more blog posts about flirting with confidence, building self love, and exploring your erotic mind, in addition to the ones I’ve linked throughout the blog post above! Don’t allow yourself to continue to struggle when there is someone available who wants to help you!
That’s it for today! Next week, we’ll get into more questions that matter to you. Send me a DM on instagram @fit.moms.blog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your question answered!