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Sex After Baby: Does it Ever Get Better?

As a new mom, I am well aware of how challenging sex can be after you've given birth. Everything looks different, feels different, and if you're breast feeding,  those once erogenous zones may not be as titillating (yes, I did say that) as they once were. (In fact, you might not want them titillated at all).

Thousands of new mothers are frustrated with their changing sex drives. A woman recently wrote to me with the following concern:

I had my daughter ten months ago and while I was pregnant I had no sex drive. But now I still don't have it. I feel like I'm cheating my husband out of a good relationship by only having sex once a week - and even then I don't want to. What should I do? Is there something wrong with me?  - Sexually Frustrated in Idaho

I completely understand. First of all, some women feel super-sexual during pregnancy, but others, not a chance in hell. So don't feel badly about what you are experiencing. After pregnancy, your hormones are going crazy, your body is making a feeble attempt at bouncing back, and you have a nineteen inch (or so) person at home that you actually have to take care of. You have a lot on your plate.

In terms of your marriage, have you shared some of these concerns with your husband? If he knows how challenging this is for you, it might make this a bit easier. Also, you both might want to see your OBGYN together to discuss what, if anything, your doctor can do to help mend your lowered libido and recuperating genitals.

But there are some things you can do right now. First, we (all of us - not just new moms) should all stop defining "sex" as "intercourse". There are so many ways of being sexual and intimate without vaginal penetration. And that's okay - especially if you are not comfortable yet. As long as you are paying attention to each other's bodies, that counts. You don't need me to rattle off all the things you can do to one another:)

And last (and again - this isn't just for the new moms), lube, lube, lube. The more the merrier (let me restate - not enough so that it's a Slip n' Slide, but just enough to make things feel good). Not every woman produces enough natural lubricant during arousal. We need help! And if we don't get help - sex (however you define it) isn't going to feel good. It's going to be dry and painful.

So, Sexually Frustrated in Idaho, you are not alone and it will get better. With honest communication, your husband's support, and a redefinition of "what counts sexually", you can start to get back to normal (whatever that means). And intercourse may not feel good for a few more months - but that's okay - every woman's body is different and it takes time. Just because the OBGYN approves sex at 6 weeks doesn't mean that you are even close to being ready for it!

For all of you who might be in this situation, I wish you lots of luck...but it can get better. And talking candidly about it is the perfect first step!

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