Spoiler alert: pregnancy – and particularly its aftereffects (aka. parenthood) – will have a lasting impact on your sex life. Probably not that surprising, right? But post-baby sex works differently for everyone. And getting things back on track will be different for everyone, too.
Leading up to this massive life change, some couples continue to have regular intercourse right up until the last few weeks of pregnancy. For others, the whole idea that there’s a tiny living creature sleeping just centimetres from the action is enough to put them off for the duration. Depending on where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll likely face different obstacles as you try to rekindle passions with your partner.
For guys, in particular, witnessing the miracle of childbirth is an amazing thing. But it can certainly change your perspective on the human body. All those parts you’ve been fantasizing about since you were a teenager?—yeah, they have a pretty important role to play in procreation. And once you’ve seen that firsthand, it can be hard to get your head back in the game. Rediscovering your partner as a sexual creature is a huge step towards making things right between the sheets.
But if you’re having trouble doing that, rest assured that it’s more than just a mental block. Research has shown that most men lose a third of their testosterone in the first year of fatherhood—and that number can be 20-percent higher for hands-on dads.
Nature does this for a reason. Lower levels of testosterone make you more empathetic, more patient, and less likely to abandon your offspring (that last one was probably a lot more relevant about 10,000 years ago)—but it also dampens your libido. Breastfeeding moms face a similar chemical impediment: nursing releases oxytocin, which helps them connect with baby, but also diminishes their sex drive.
So: fatigue, stress, a lack of free time, chemical imbalances—it’s all working against you? How are you supposed to get your sex life back on track when you’re fighting an uphill battle?
Odds are, if you kept things hot and heavy throughout the pregnancy, it will be easier for you to reignite the flame. You may even find that your lack of free time acts as an aphrodisiac: a quickie during naptime can be just as exciting as an all-night candlelit romantic encounter. But if things slowed to a stop while your partner was growing that baby in her belly, it may be more difficult to kick things back into gear. The trick is to take it slow: find opportunities to rebuild a bit of intimacy – whether it’s a quick morning cuddle or an impromptu makeout session – and take things from there. Mutual masturbation can be a great way to give each other a quick moment of pleasure while mom is physically recovering from her momentous task.
Testosterone shortages notwithstanding, the truth is that you might be ready to get things going before your partner is. Here’s something important to consider, fellas: a recent study showed that, while most men were happy with their female partner’s post-baby physical appearance, almost half the women polled believed that their bodies had become less attractive. That discrepancy is up to you to correct: if you show her that she still turns you on, your reward will be a quicker return to form in the bedroom.
Getting back into the groove after becoming a parent is no easy task—but with a little effort, your post-baby sex life can be better than ever.