Desire after parenthood with Lisa O
New responsibilities, sleepless nights, and endless nappy changes - it’s not surprising that new parents can struggle to get in the mood for sex. Changes in desire for sex, and challenges in finding time for it, are issues that affect a lot of new parents. If you’ve given birth, then shifts in your hormones and changes to your body can make things hard too. Even once you’ve had the medical ‘all clear’, it can be tricky to reconnect with your sexual side. In fact, a study from 2016 has shown that 90% of couples with babies under a year old had worries and concerns about their sex life.
We sat down with Lisa O, erotic author and mother of 2, to find out how she balances her sexuality with parenthood. Lisa found herself in a situation many parents can understand, “Having children turned our world upside down, and as a result, our sex life took a backseat.” After having their second child, Lisa said “I realised my libido had completely disappeared, and I’d lost touch with my own desires amidst the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood.”
Determined to address the issue, Lisa began a journey of self-discovery and experimentation, trying a range of things to reignite her desires and reconnect with her partner. Now, she writes erotic fiction that includes self-care, communication and body positivity as part of the fun. “My goal is to facilitate a positive and empowering dialogue around sex and desire after childbirth, helping mothers embrace their sexuality, build strong relationships, and prioritise their wellbeing in the context of their unique experiences.”
Here are Lisa’s top tips for new parents who want to reintroduce intimacy and sex into their lives.
Be patient and kind to yourself: It's normal for your libido to fluctuate at times, especially with children in the mix. The physical and emotional changes that accompany parenthood can have an impact on your desire for intimacy. Understand that it's a natural part of the process and be patient with yourself as you navigate this new phase.
Communication: Open and honest communication with your partner is crucial. Let them know how you're feeling and talk about any concerns or fears you may have. Together, you can find ways to support each other and explore intimacy in different ways. Could you learn more about sex together? Could you write down your fantasies and take turns reading them out? Or maybe a visit to a sex shop or a workshop could expand your horizons and get you keen to explore something new.
Go gradually: Take small steps towards sexual activity. Start with intimacy and non-sexual activities like cuddling and kissing. Taking sex off the menu for a while can help reset your nervous system. Stay focussed on pleasure and closeness. Try sensate focus; an exercise where you massage your partner everywhere except their genitals. And build up to incorporate more sexual touch. You can even experiment with taking control, saying where you want to touch - or be touched - and how.
Self-care and self-love: Take care of your own wellbeing, and reconnect with your own body. This will help you feel energised and give you time to explore your own desires. Take time every week to do something for you alone. And don’t forget the joys of masturbation, self-massage and trying different types of solo play.
Ask for help: if you're finding it difficult to overcome the challenges on your own, don't hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or counsellor who specialises in postpartum issues or sexual health can provide guidance, support, and specific strategies to help you navigate this transition.
Explore sensual stories: As an author of erotic literature, I understand the power of sensual and erotic storytelling. Reading or writing erotica can be a way to reconnect with your own desires and stimulate your imagination. It can also be a way to explore new fantasies and spark conversations with your partner about your desires and interests.
Remember, the journey towards rediscovering your sexuality after welcoming a new baby takes time, and it's unique for every individual. Be patient, prioritise self-care, and don't hesitate to seek support when needed. It's important to approach this process with self-compassion and an open mind, allowing yourself the opportunity to embrace your evolving sexuality in a way that feels comfortable and fulfilling to you.