There are many reasons that our sex drive slows down or disappears altogether during the life transition that is motherhood. From stress and fatigue to hormone changes and painful intercourse, our desire can dry up. In my work supporting women to recover their libido post-baby, I have found there is one core issue that sits at the heart of it.
We just don’t feel sexy anymore.
Even when we know intellectually that we are gorgeous no matter what, and even when our partners say it - we just don’t somehow feel it. Now, leaking boobs and new bellies, plus a spit-up and sweatpant-filled existence, will do that to you - but even when we're past that stage, this feeling can pervade - because - well - society doesn’t want you to feel sexy. Cause moms don’t have sex, right?
Moms are sexual beings
That sneaky little belief that moms aren’t sexy or sexual beings and the sudden transition in identity from sexual me, lover me, sensual me, to mommy me - can put a screeching halt to any desire we have to get naked and have fun with ourselves and our partners.
One of the critical keys to reclaiming your sex life is to let the sexy you to breathe; to prioritize your pleasure and play. Your sexual self can co-exist with the mama self - and all our other selves!
So, how do we do that? A big hurdle here is that mommy and sexy me share the same physical environment. I’m a mother all day in my home; I may share a room and even a bed with my little one(s). So my sexy me has literally nowhere to play.
The solution is twofold. Depending on where we are in our motherhood journey - we need to find and talk to that sexual part of ourselves. We need to get back into a relationship with them. We also need to find the tools to help us mentally toggle from one version of ourselves to another - especially when we are gearing up for some sexy playtime.
Six mental ways for moms to reconnect with intimacy
- Carve out time that is just for you to do whatever it is that you want. Having literal space and time away from your small human(s) to just be you - not the mom you - is critical.
- Invite sensuality back into your life. What are the tastes, smells, sensations, sights, and sounds that bring you joy? Mindfully calling upon all the senses and living your pleasure in all its forms brings you back into your body and into your joy.
- Change the environment by setting the mood. Light some candles, make the bed or spray your favorite perfume. Create a new space that mommy-me doesn’t live in that also serves the sexy-me.
- Tap into your imagination. Using your sensual imagination stimulates your emotional want for sex, aka our sexual desire. Erotic content can help awaken the mind and help with arousal; try reading a fantasy or snoozing to an audio story at nap time.
- Soothe your nervous system. Take a few deep breaths. And again. Let go of your busy day and worries, just for a moment, and be in the moment to see where your mind wanders.
- Be aware of the transition between your two selves. Recognize the challenge, and set intentions to acknowledge yourself as a sexual being regularly - to prioritize your pleasure.
Six physical ways for moms to reconnect with intimacy
- Take a minute to tune in. Have a quick and steamy shower, lotion up to feel your hands on your body, dance to a song that makes you smile, or get into something that makes you feel good.
- Schedule sex. I know, spontaneous, right? But scheduling partnered or solo sex means you create a party your libido wants to show up for instead of wishing it would magically show up post-bedtime-fight.
- Masturbate. Focus on external stimulation, especially if penetration makes you nervous. Touch your vulva and clitoris to see what sensations now feel good for you, and add a drop of lube to reduce friction.
- If you're with a partner, connect first. You don’t have to rush into resuming sexual activity. Start with the intimate space between you. Get naked and hang out together. Play cards, slow dance, or hold each other. Do something that achieves the equivalent of a “hey, it’s been a day; let’s be in this moment together.”
- Remember, it's not about reaching orgasm but exploring ourselves to find sexual pleasure. So, rediscover your own body or become lovers who discover together - this is how we ride the ebb and flow of sex and parenting.
- Try a sex toy. More specifically, an external vibrator. Finding ways to discover yourself on the outside is an easy, playful way to reconnect with your sexuality - and introduce your partner too.
A lipstick vibrator
The Whisperer is the first vibrator created with mothers, for mothers. Smile Makers joined forces with the UK's biggest community of moms to find out what is holding them back from reconnecting with pleasure. More than 500 moms shared that they are nervous about penetration and pain from scar tissue, but that they would consider an external toy during masturbation to help them feel themselves again (physically and emotionally). Lipstick vibrators stimulate the clitoris very efficiently, and this ones super soft silicone and flexible body makes it the perfect vibrator for moms.
A vulval vibrator
The Ballerina is a great addition to partnered sex. The curved shape cups the vulva (or the testicles) for a natural, gentle feel in different sex positions. It fits in the hand for an easy-to-use vibrator that's not intimidating for partners if it's their first time using a vibe with you.
A water-based lube
Embrace lube! Hormones produced during pregnancy and breastfeeding can impact natural vaginal or vulval lubrication, so a little helping hand - or glide - is going to reduce friction, and make things a whole lot more pleasurable. Pop a bottle of Generous Gel on your nightstand as a little reminder.