April 24, 2024

Intimacy During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Since becoming pregnant, have you noticed a difference in your desire levels? Some women notice a higher level of desire, while others can find they have very low or no desire. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences in desire levels, setting the mood, and other ways you can experience intimacy with your partner.

Low to No Desire

If you have found that since becoming pregnant or giving birth, your desire levels have dropped, don’t panic! You are not broken and this is entirely normal. Hormones, sleep (or lack thereof), and extra mental load can all have an impact on how often you want to have sex with your partner. 

I want to add this disclaimer, the frequency with which you and your partner want to have sex is entirely up to the two of you. If you are both okay with having sex less frequently, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we can feel shame if we believe we “should,” be having sex more often even if both partners are happy with the current frequency. 

For those who want to be intimate more often, but have low to no desire, try to figure out what is hitting your brakes (turn off’s) and what hits your accelerator (turn-ons). Many women have a hard time getting in the mood if they have a lot on their mind, like chores, big events coming up, or stress. After figuring out what hits your brakes and accelerator, communicate those with your partner so they can help turn off your brakes, and turn on your accelerator. 

High Desire

People with high desire levels simply have a higher sensitivity to their accelerator and lower sensitivity to their brakes. If you have a high libido, you may become frustrated if your partner’s libido is lower, but just know that your partner’s desire for sex does not determine your attractiveness or how much they love you. There could be a multitude of things affecting their desire for sex. I know it’s hard, but try not to take your partner’s rejection of sex personally.  

Pay special attention to not pressuring your partner about wanting sex more often since this can cause stress for them and make them less likely to want sex in the future. Focus on enjoying time spent with your partner and being affectionate with them without the expectation of sex. 

Having a high libido is also normal and is only a problem if it becomes compulsive and starts affecting your day-to-day life. Because our desire fluctuates, there are times when we can experience having a high libido (think puberty or during ovulation), and times when we may not even want to think about sex (such as the luteal phase or postpartum). 

Set the Mood 

Most people have a responsive desire, meaning they become turned on as a response to something- such as physical touch, flirting with your partner, or watching your partner get undressed. With responsive desire in mind, you and your partner can come up with a plan to help set the mood. Take away anything hitting your brakes and incorporate things that hit your accelerator. 

If this is your first time since having a child, I want you to go especially slow and use plenty of lubricant. Make sure that you are ready physically, mentally, and emotionally. Start your foreplay long before you want to have sex and let the anticipation build. With each step of the way, focus your attention on the pleasure you feel and communicate with your partner about what feels good for you. 

Other Ways to Be Intimate with Each Other

Intimacy is not just about sex, it’s a way to connect with your partner on a deeper level. When we think about why we want sex, often we come up with answers such as “I want to feel connected with my partner,” or “I want to feel better/less stressed.” If you or your partner find it challenging to get in the mood for sex, try focusing your attention away from sex and rather focus on feeling intimate with one another. Here is a list of ways you can find intimacy with your partner outside of sex-

  • Giving each other massages
  • Cuddling and extended kisses or hugs with no expectation of sex
  • Having open conversations about each other’s hopes, dreams, wants, and needs
  • Dancing and being silly together

If we are stressed and not able to get into the right mood to want sex, it can be difficult to get out of the stress mindset and into the sex mindset. However, if we can find a detour to get us from stress, we can then get into feeling like “Okay, I want this now.” For example, you might have an easier time getting in the mood if you can get out of feeling stressed by joking or being playful with your partner, then by flirting with them. Dancing with your partner or using somatic shaking can also be a great way to relieve stress. 

If you have any concerns about being intimate during pregnancy or postpartum, schedule an appointment with our midwives today!

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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