Asking for a Friend: My Baby Stole My Orgasm
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JULIA HIRSCH
Welcome to Asking for a Friend, our new column where we track down answers to your most burning (and sometimes awkward) questions.
Q: I haven’t really been able to cum cum (like a really good orgasm) with my husband since having my baby almost 19 months ago, even though I had a C-section. And many times we are too tired to really experiment. Any recommendations about how to get back there?
A: OK, first off, bravo to you for 1.) Getting busy in the bedroom and 2.) Giving yourself the grace to ask this question. I’m so happy that you’re taking steps to take care of yourself. Sexual self-care is a must and isn’t discussed as much as it should be. What a time to be alive and horny, though, because there’s so much knowledge, so many teachers, and the tools! So. Many. Tools!
I once heard that the more boring your relationship, the healthier. Not sure I subscribe to this, but considering this common post-baby predicament, know that the frequency of your sex, orgasms, etc., does not by any means relate to the health of your marriage. But, finding your way back to those satisfying O’s will benefit everyone, so it’s definitely worth the work!
I spoke to a handful of experts and knowledgeable mamas about your Q, and the overall consensus is there are both psychological and physiological forces at play here. You’re living in a radically changed body and you’re likely still rebalancing your hormones after baby. Then there’s the mental energy that becoming a mom requires. It’s a 24/7 game, and that definitely cuts into all that time you previously spent daydreaming about getting busy. Many of our experts agreed that the sensual relationship with yourself is where you might need to begin. Get to know yourself again (or maybe for the first time!) as a sexual being. You deserve to feel sexy all by your damn self. THEN, translate this emotion into the bedroom.
According to Dr. Rachel Riley Fancher, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Fancher Psychology & Assessment who specializes in couples therapy, “Orgasms are part physiological, part mental. After a baby, a woman’s thoughts, worries, and mental load can be very different. These can interfere with her ability to achieve orgasm. If you’re preoccupied worrying the baby will cry and interrupt you or if you’re mentally counting down how much time until the next feeding and feel a sense of urgency to orgasm, that will definitely get in the way. The act of orgasm is in part about letting go, and the idea of losing control or letting go in early motherhood can actually be uncomfortable or scary to some new moms. It’s the opposite of what most are trying to do all day. The intrusive thoughts of what you need to get done for the baby and the body tension associated with anxiety are both big roadblocks to orgasm.”
Lidia Bonilla, founder of House of Plume (which makes pretty boxes to store your sexy toys) seconds that, and suggests getting sexy with yourself first, then possibly introducing some exciting toys into your couples regimen. “There are a number of factors that go into how strong your orgasms are: sleep, how comfortable you are in your new body, and your state of mind during sex,” says Lisa. “But the first thing to do is to let go of going back to anywhere. Your body, C-section or not, went through a body-shifting experience. Accepting where you are now allows you the freedom to move forward and experience orgasms in the body you have now. It will take time for your body to get its bearings. Can you ask for support so you can have more alone time or a longer session with your husband? Are you anxious during sex? Try different toys that will give your clitoris sensation that you can use on your own or during penetration like the Hitachi Wand or the WeVibe.”
Erica Dickerson and Jamilah Mappo, hosts of Good Moms, Bad Choices, a podcast dedicated to offering moms a space to be their unapologetic selves suggests getting back to basics. “It’s normal to loose the spark after a baby, regardless of C-section or vaginal birth. Let’s be honest: You’re tired, you’ve gained a human, and there is really no such thing as bouncing back to your ‘former sexy self.’ But that doesn’t mean your present and future self can’t be even sexier than before. You’ll just have to redistribute some energy to really make time for it. All relationships require effort, and after a baby, it can feel like literally the least of your worries. Starting with small things to get yourself and your partner back in that space is vital. Something as small as a sexy text or pic while they’re away. Quick displays of affection like jumping in the shower together, a short massage, or a long tongue kiss as you head out the door, can really go a long way towards getting back in the mood, and bring some sexy habits back into your routine. Date night, even in the living room with a glass of wine and a little lingerie, can re-spark the sexy.”
Babies are mentally and physically all-consuming, so switching your brain from obsessing about sleep training to fantasizing about hot sex is no easy feat, but at the end of the day, getting sex back on the brain on a regular basis will make a world of difference. One of my favorite pieces of advice came from a friend of mine and fellow mama, Melaney Luber. “Instead of that ‘how to get your child to sleep’ book, trade it in for something a little steamier. I think we’re far more visual than we give ourselves credit for, so experiment with that tingle in easy ways. Go with girlfriends to a burlesque show or watch some female-centric porn. Sometimes it’s as simple as touching yourself in the shower.”
Have a question for our experts? Email us at [email protected]. We’ll publish all queries anonymously because we know—you’re totally asking for a friend.
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It’s so refreshing to receive this type of advice and support! Thank you <3
Thank you for this post. I had similar issues (NO spontaneous desire, difficulty orgasming, and even an aversion to sex). I recently read “Come as you are” by Emily Nagowski and it was super helpful. Highly recommended.