‘A sex schedule can be a great tool’
After giving birth, you might feel like you’ll never have sex again — but you can have a full and fun sex life ahead. Denise Smith sits down with sexpert Isabelle Uren for her relationship advice
When you’re focused on keeping a tiny human alive, let’s face it, sex may be the last thing on your agenda.
But if you are emerging from the fog of new parenthood, and are focused on reigniting intimacy in your relationship, you can explore a full and fulfilled sex life after kids.
Bedbible’s Master Sexpert Isabelle Uren explains how.
“I think one of the most common questions when it comes to couples is how do we reignite the spark? How do we keep the excitement alive? Is it normal that I don’t want sex right now? It’s often couples thinking, Oh my God, is there something wrong. And it’s a lot of reassuring people that having sex all the time, and everybody having a high sex drive all the time just isn’t normal.
“Sex drive is mediated by so many different things like internal factors and external factors, it fluctuates so much throughout our lives anyway, let alone when there’s massive change, like having kids. Your personal situation has changed and your relationship has changed. You’re sleep deprived, you’re figuring out how to keep this new human alive, it’s no wonder that sex changes or gets put on the back burner. It’s completely natural.”
So now that your dwindling sex drive doesn’t make you ‘other’, the first step in bringing back some spice to the bedroom is open and honest communication. Isabelle reveals:
“It is important to acknowledge where you are at that moment, it could be, we’re not having sex, I want to have more sex, or we’re not having sex, and I don’t really feel like having sex, but maybe I feel like doing other things. Being really honest with each other about what you’re feeling scared about or perhaps any confidence issues you may have, just so your partner knows exactly what you’re going through, and they can then offer you support.”
If you’re a new mum, it’s also important to honour the changes in your body and acknowledging that sex after birth may look different.
“You spend a long time getting to know what you like in your body and then you’ve got to rediscover not only who you are in your identity as a parent, but you’ve got to rediscover your body and how it’s changed,” explains the Bedbible expert.
“It’s important to honour where your body is at the time and not try to force it to be a certain way or enjoy a certain thing if it doesn’t feel good. I think a very common thing, especially for people who breastfeed is that the idea of the breast being sexual, or the sensitivity might change. Sex is all about pleasure and connection so you should never do anything that’s painful, or makes you feel uncomfortable.
A sex toy advocate, Isabelle believes sex toys are a great way to develop our connection with our minds and bodies and show ourselves and our partners some love.
Encouraging new mum’s to introduce toys into the bedroom to rediscover their bodies, Isabelle adds:
“When your body goes through a lot of changes, obviously the way you want to be stimulated is going to change. Maybe you don’t feel like penetration, maybe your boobs are completely off limits, maybe you need a different kind of touch, sex toys can be a really great way to explore that, either with a partner or by yourself. Having more solo play and masturbation is also really going to help your sex life, it will help you get back into your body and feel more confident and kind of understand that your body is capable of and deserves pleasure.”
When it comes to bringing couples together, Isabella suggests marking sex in your calendar.
“Scheduling sex can be a really great tool. People screw up their face like it’s a chore, but it really doesn’t have to be like that. The idea is that you commit to a certain frequency in a certain time, so you can be more intentional about when you have sex, which for new parents, especially, is really helpful. The first step in that is deciding how often you want to have sex in a week and then picking a time of day that you have minimal distractions, so maybe when the kids are sleeping, or out of the house. And you can also try to combine that with the times of day that you’re most likely to be in the mood to have sex, whether you like it in the morning or the evening.
You can incorporate new things like making lists of things you’d want to try by using a yes, no, maybe, list. In the yes column, you write things you’re absolutely up for, the no list, things that are off limits and the maybe list, things you might be open to. See which things overlap and then you can say, ‘hey, we both really want to try these things. Let’s schedule that.’
“It gives you something exciting to look forward to. You can tease each other like, ‘Hey, we’ve got this shower sex date planned for next week, I’ll buy some nice smelling body wash and candles’.
Having compassion for your partner is also key:
“Congratulate each other on taking the time to invest in your sex life because that’s a huge thing to do. It’s really important to give a lot of positive feedback, a lot of compliments, not only about your partner’s body, but what you value in them. Build each other up, rather than tear each other down.
“Sex is one part of intimacy and that can do wonders for creating bonds in the relationship, not only for the relationship, but for you as an individual. There’s so many great benefits to regular sex, it can help you sleep better, deal with pain, reduce anxiety and stress. Just always remember to communicate and you can’t go far wrong.”
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