A quick google of the sentence “feel unsexy after baby” says it all. The internet is full of women feeling unsexy after baby, struggling with feeling unattractive and generally undesirable. But if you’re reading this now feeling unsexy after baby, believe it or not, it IS totally normally and what’s more you can bring your sexy back. Today I’m in conversation with my good friend Clare Faulkner who just so happens to also be a psychosexual and relationship therapist to talk about why women feel sexy after baby and how they can get their sexy back again.
Is it normal with mums to struggle with feeling unsexy after having a baby?
Absolutely. It would be unusual if a woman’s sexuality wasn’t impacted by such a metamorphosis.
What issues are at play here?
A woman’s life it turned upside down after her bundle of joy arrives. Sleepless nights, weight gain, loss of identity and hormonal shifts all contribute to a woman’s change in self perception. This can lead to a lack of confidence making her feel like a shadow of her former self. Media coverage of celebrities who bounce back into shape in the same amount of time most new mothers take to get dressed doesn’t help! Breast feeding can add to the perception of unsexy with it’s pumps, limitations on underwear and of course the new purpose of the breasts. W
omen also have a lot less ‘me time’ to implement beauty rituals, which can leave them feeling neglected and most certainly unsexy. For some woman an element of shame and embracement post birth may exist. The exposure and medicalisation of their genitals can be extremely intrusive, especially when their partners witness the grueling affair. Birth trauma can seriously impede a woman’s self confidence and desire. Not to mention the pain and discomfort she may feel on penetration.
And how about from the man’s perspective? Is it all just in our heads?
Naturally all of the above has ramifications for partners. The move from a couple to a family of three (or maybe more) can be the biggest impact a relationship faces. There are the challenges of a new baby plus your partner has undergone the transformation into parenthood. Carry and birthing a child changes a woman’s mind and body with certainty. Partners may feel pushed aside or that their needs are in second place. All of this very normal, but in my experience it’s important that this change is acknowledged.
So can a woman feel sexy again in her post baby body? What needs to change?
I think giving yourself and your partner time is key. Normalising can be an important tool to relieve the pressures of motherhood, especially in the beginning. Communicating and staying in touch with family, friends and medical professionals is important to feel supported and held. Blogs, like this, can be a fantastic sounding board providing psychoeducation and peer lead discussion. All of this connection helps to create a space to allow sexuality to blossom again. There is no ‘right time’ so listen to you body. Speak to your GP if you have concerns around vaginal pain and discomfort which doesn’t seem to be getting better as they may refer you to a psychosexual therapist.
Can you share some practical tips on how to bring the sexy back after having a baby?
Discuss your plans for contraception to ensure this isn’t a worry taken into the bedroom.
Being a little more prescriptive with young children can help to make time for intimacy. As a concept this might be quite different to how you did sex pre children, but the opportunities for spontaneity do decrease. Stepping into adult time, even if it’s a small window, can help to park motherly duties.
Taking a bath with your partner or having a back rub might be gentle steps to start this process. You are your own sexpert so discussing what would work for you, or where your boundaries are is important. Buying some sexy underwear to fit your new figure might be a step to regaining autonomy over your body.
Lubrication can be more of a concern postpartum. I recommend Yes Organic Intimacy Company. They have a fantastic range of moisturisers, oil base and water based lubricants.
Most importantly of all have fun!
Well mamas I hope the above has lightened the load for you a bit. If you’re a mum wondering if you’ll ever feel sexy again after baby please do leave a comment and share, because as always these things are better out than in.
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Clare is a London based integrative psychosexual and relationship therapist who works with both couples and individuals on a wide range of sexual and relationship issues. If you’d like to talk more with Clare about how to get your sexy back post baby visit her website here.
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